Growls of protest over HDB suggestion to debark dogs

Growls of protest over HDB suggestion to debark dogs
Close-up of a photo of HDB's notice posted on Facebook. The notice has since been removed.

Animal lovers have criticised a Housing Board notice that suggested that some dog owners in Ang Mo Kio consider "debarking your dog through surgery" - a procedure which involves the cutting of its vocal cords.

The notice, which was dated Aug 22, noted feedback about a barking nuisance in the middle of the night at Block 601, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5.

It asked dog owners to consider three ways to keep their pets from barking incessantly, namely obedience training, using training collars or surgery.

But animal welfare groups have criticised the suggestion of surgery as inhumane.

Ms Corinne Fong, the executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said in a statement that the debarking recommendation was "disappointing" and "inhumane".

The Agency for Animal Welfare said on its Facebook page that it had e-mailed the Ministry of National Developmentyesterday morning about the notice.

It added that it later received a positive response from Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee.

The Housing Board, in response to questions from The Straits Times, apologised for "causing anxiety" to dog owners.

The notice was meant to seek the help of dog owners to manage the issue of excessive barking, the HDB said.

It agreed it should have been handled more sensitively, and added that the notice has since been taken down.

This article was first published on August 29, 2014.
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