The Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS), a cluster under the National Parks Board (NParks) announced a 10% increase in height limit, from 50cm to 55cm, for local mixed-breed dogs to be rehomed under Project ADORE. The weight of the dog will also be removed as a criterion for rehoming. This expansion in the programme will be a two-year pilot, and is led by AVS and supported by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), in partnership with Project ADORE Animal Welfare Group (AWG) partners. With these revised criteria, about 20% more local mixed-breed dogs can be rehomed to HDB flats each year.
Project ADORE (ADOption and REhoming of dogs) was started in 2012 with the objective of rehoming medium-sized local mixed-breed dogs into HDB flats. Originally, dogs were required to be within a 50cm height and a 15kg weight limit to be rehomed under Project ADORE. As of end 2019, 1335 local mixed-breed dogs have been rehomed under the scheme.
Given the success of Project ADORE, AVS has expanded Project ADORE to include more local mixed-breed dogs by increasing the height limit and removing weight as a criteria for rehoming to HDB flats. On average, around 250 local mixed-breed dogs are rehomed under Project ADORE each year. With the revision in size limits, AVS expects that around 50 more mixed-breed dogs can be rehomed to HDB flats per year.
With these new criteria, AVS will continue to monitor the programme closely to ensure that there are no disamenities to the community. The same stringent conditions for the AWGs and adopters under Project ADORE apply. This includes the screening of potential adopters, a framework to encourage community acceptance of the dogs (e.g. through mediation channels for disputes), and dog obedience training. All adopters will be required to comply with the ownership conditions and the Code of Responsible Behaviour as overseen by AVS.
Rehoming a humane way of managing stray dog population
Under the Trap-Neuter-Release-Manage (TNRM) programme, AVS aims to manage the stray dog population in Singapore in a sustainable and humane manner. Grounded in science, the programme is a collaboration between AVS, 11 AWGs, veterinarians and the community. After the stray dogs have been caught from public areas, they are brought to vet clinics or the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (SPCA) clinic where they are sterilised, vaccinated and microchipped. Subsequently, the dogs are rehomed as far as possible through the AWGs.
The expansion of criteria for Project ADORE will allow more mixed-breed dogs under the TNRM programme to be rehomed. Currently, AVS has five Project ADORE rehoming partners – SPCA, Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD), SOSD, Exclusively Mongrels (EM) and Causes for Animals (CAS), all of whom are also TNRM partners. AVS will work to grow the number of ADORE rehoming partners, to reach out to a wider pool of adopters and enhance rehoming rates.
Extension of K9 public adoption scheme
In August 2018, following a 1-year pilot, the K9 scheme which allowed for retired sniffer dogs from the K9 units of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), and Singapore Police Force (SPF) to be rehomed by K9 officers, was made permanent. As of December 2019, 25 dogs have been adopted under the Project ADORE-K9 scheme. Following the success of the programme, the scheme was expanded in August 2018 to allow the public to adopt retired sniffer dogs under Project ADORE, and thereby widen the pool of potential adopters, as a 1-year pilot. As no retired sniffer dogs were available to be adopted by the public during this period, AVS has extended the pilot for another two years before evaluating the outcomes of the scheme.
Ms Sun Xue Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development said, “Together with our Animal Welfare Group (AWG) partners, we had launched Project ADORE to allow local mixed-breed dogs to be rehomed in HDB flats. Our AWG partners ensured that stringent adoption conditions are met. Residents have thus far been receptive to the presence of these rehomed dogs in their neighbourhoods. Given the good progress in the past eight years, we have now reviewed the criteria for Project ADORE to allow more dogs to be rehomed. We will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that proper safeguards are in place, and that responsible pet ownership is practised.”