Pre-sale screening of pet buyers slow to take off

Pre-sale screening of pet buyers slow to take off
Owner Agnes Thaw of Pets’ Gantry, one of the stores that have instituted checks, with a rabbit from her shop.

SINGAPORE- Some pet shops have yet to start pre-sale screening of buyers, one of two new licensing rules that came into effect on Jan 1 to curb impulse buys that can result in pets being abandoned.

Five of the nine shops The Straits Times visited over the weekend did not conduct formal checks before purchase. Some said they were still preparing to meet the new requirements, while others were worried about turning away customers.

The move announced by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) on Dec 30 requires sellers and buyers to sign a pet purchase declaration form.

Sellers have to ensure buyers have, for example, read up on the pet and have the time and resources to care for it. Buyers have to verify that shops have provided information on pet care.

The other new rule requires buyers to be at least 16, unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

There is a six-month grace period till June 30 before the AVA begins enforcing the rules, which apply only to shops selling dogs, cats and rabbits. Errant shops face a composition fine of $500, while repeat offenders may have their licences suspended or revoked. Pet shops here are licensed by the AVA and must renew their licences every year.

One shop owner, who did not want to be named, said she was "still preparing" to meet the requirements. "It'll take time and it may turn away some buyers. But if they're really keen they can do more research and come back."

At another pet store in north-eastern Singapore, a sales assistant said no additional procedures were required for the purchase of a dog, and was more eager to close the deal.

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