SINGAPORE -From Jan 1, 2014, pet retailers will not be allowed to sell a pet dog, cat or rabbit to anyone below 16 years old. Children below the age of 16 must be accompanied by their parents or legal guardian, if they wish to buy any of these pets.
This new licensing condition, together with a mandatory pre-sale screening to assess the suitability of customers as pet owners before the sale is made, was set by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).
Pet retailers and buyers will have to complete a Pet Purchase Declaration, which include questions that ask about the buyer's pet ownership history, and whether he has considered adopting a pet, instead of buying one, as well as pet care.
AVA said the new conditions were developed in consultation with stakeholders such as the Pets Enterprises and Traders Association (PETAS) and pet retailers, and in line with the Animal Welfare Legislative Review Committess's recommendations made in March 2013.
They serve to reduce impulse buying of pets by children and ensure potential buyers understand the implications and responsibilities of being a pet owner, and minimise the problem of pet abandonment or poor pet care.
Pet retailers will be given a 6-month period to comply with these new licensing conditions, following which, AVA could take enforcement action against errant pet retailers.