Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is a registered animal welfare charity. It is one of the official animal shelters in Singapore. They host lost and injured animals, mainly dogs, cats, birds and small creatures such as hamsters and rabbits. Their goal is to to promote kindness and prevent cruelty to animals and birds. You may visit the shelter down at Mount Vernon and think about adopting a pet home today.
Cats, dogs, rabbits. Whatever domestic animal available in Singapore can be found here. This is the place where stray/injured/abandoned pets are housed and taken care of. When one volunteers here, he or she helps out the home. Be it walking, feeding them, or just stroking them and spending some precious time with the animals, whatever help that can be given is definitely welcome.
It is heartbreaking in a sense, seeing so many precious souls being gathered in one place when their prior owners so callously threw them aside. However, to look on the positive side of things, the animals are now in a place where people actually love and adore them. A truly beautiful place.
I once read an article about SPCA. It said SPCA tried as much as possible to put the animals they receive for adoption but the adoption rate is not as fast as the rate the animals were sent to SPCA so a lot of animals will be put to rest after a short time.
Potential pet owners, please think about this. Even if SPCA is the one that put the animal to rest, you are still the one directly responsible for the animal having this fate when you abandon your pet.
When I was younger, I felt that SPCA was a really noble organisation that takes in homeless animals that and help them to find new homes. As I grew older, I begun hearing more and more stories about how SPCA ill treats the animals in the homes - How the some animals deemed as "not so cute" are refused entry or put down to sleep even before their time was up.
Despite the stories I hear, I still give SPCA the benefit of doubt. They are still a non-profitable organisation after all. There is still a pinch of hope that the stories I heard aren't real.
I did have one, unfortunately unpleasant, experience with SPCA. That was when I was a young boy, incapable of rationalising pragmatic decisions. I had a new born kitten that had eyes that were still closed. As any child would, I quickly became attached to the animal. But we neither had the knowledge nor time to care for it. Hence, in order to save its life, we called the SPCA. Of course, taking in a new born animal is a big commitment, and as they had a full house of stray animals, the final decision was to put the kitten to sleep. I was distraught and angry, unable to comprehend the harshness of this decision. While I now understand the rationale behind it, this decision did leave a mark on me, perhaps playing a part in my semi socio-rebellious nature.
Then one day I saw a puppy I really liked and went down to SPCA with my dad. The puppy was so loving and quickly took to snuggling on my hand and giving me licks. I was in love with her and ready to bring her home. But my dad had become against it all of a sudden saying that she was a "x" breed which meant that she might be a mongrel. To me mongrel or not, a dog is a dog. But my dad refused till the very end and promised that we would get a pure breed or a cross of two pure breeds. I remember going home in tears and couldn't stop crying. I had finally found a puppy I could love and I couldn't have her. I felt really alone and it was as if I were never meant to have a dog.
My dad did keep his promise though. We got a cross breed and he is such a darling. He lives with us now and is only a year old but we love him to bits.
However, I did learn one thing from my visit to SPCA. Most Singaporeans have the notion that pure bred dogs and a cross of pure breeds are of value. The dogs that are found at SPCA are not dogs with named breeds but are marked local or "x" breed. People prefer what they call "good" breeds and do not see the value in these mongrel dogs too. Personally this is what I feel: Dogs are dogs. Humans and humans. One race not better than the other. We should not assume or stereotype. If I were living under my own roof, and given the choice of adopting a mongrel again, I would gladly bring him or her in. The ones that have been abandoned need all the care there is.
I certainly look forward to going to SPCA in my spare time to lend a hand in volunteering and playing with the dogs.
The staff are very friendly and obliging, so I determined that the sense of hopelessness must be coming from within myself, seeing the animals in cages and knowing the stories behind their current predicament. It's also probably because after being used to seeing SPCA as a global organization in the news, the sight of such a humble centre was actually abit of a shock. It begs the question - what can this tiny group do to stop animal cruelty in the whole of Singapore?! It's like David vs Goliath, a seemingly un-winnable battle.
I guess that notion further reinforces the aura of sadness upon entering the place.
In bygone days, I remember that the biggest thing of the week would be visiting the animal shelter to see the animals at SPCA. Even better was when I went there to adopt a pet. SPCA takes in stray cats and dogs from the street and provides them with a refuge, food and care. While funding has been growing in recent years with the increasing generosity of patrons, it faces constraints in all angles. Firstly, the number of strays is ever increasing as more irresponsible Singaporeans dump heir pets in the streets as it has become a chagrin to them to take care of the animals. Secondly, the number of volunteers just isn't growing as fast, and SPCA do not have the financial resources to continue expanding its staff. Hence, there is a need to further increase awareness of this situation in Singapore and to encourage pet owners to be more responsible
The place, though, always has an air of sadness about it. Even the animals themselves seem to radiate that aura. Perhaps it is because for each animal you see in the display area, there are many more in the back. The staff and volunteers tell me that the majority of the animals the SPCA receives are put down simply because there is no-one who will take them in and the SPCA does not have the resources to keep them.
The dogs and cats on display at the SPCA are "safe". They are the ones with the highest chance of adoption. I learned that once they are out there, they will not be put down even if no-one ever adopts them.
Can you imagine a life without the SPCA ? We'll probably be seeing more animals being killed on the road, stray cat and dog armies all over our country and many mistreated animals. Caring for stray or abandoned animals is not an easy job. The animals may be stressed out or ill, some may have lingering problems whilst others can't live long. Whenever I visit the SPCA during my free times, I come across animals which are so friendly and lively, I wonder why someone would abandon or given them away. Such is the pattern of our local pet keepers in singapore. There must be a way to change such practices.
I will always recommend my friends to adopt a pet instead of buying one because the SPCA is not big or rich to house thousands of dogs for a long time. Hence, THINK BEFORE YOU BUY A PET.
THUS! I obtain my much-required fur petting sessions from visiting the SPCA once a month. Hubbs and I usually start off by taking a walk around kennels and observe the caged occupants, which more often than not has a visitor sitting inside petting/playing with them. We will then try to make friends with a random canine and if it reciprocates with a sniff and lick on our clenched fists, we're in!
Well, normally I'm the first one in since Hubbs knows that I have a much-needed fur petting therapy which needs to be addressed ASAP.
So I play and stroke and pet until my arms are all covered with appreciative licks and Hubbs shooting me eye-arrows from outside the cage door. By the time he is playing with the canine, I would have washed my hands and wandered to the cattery. There's a limit to the number of visitors allowed in at any given time, so you might have to wait to go in to pet the kitties. Big, small, fat, skinny, tabbies, toms, long-tailed, tailless, there's always one with a combination of a random trait and colour. So it’s playtime again! SPCA also has rodents and the occasional bunny at a nursery area but normally visitors are not encouraged to handle them.
There is nary a soul there who leaves without the thought of bringing a furry friend home. The animals there are all available for adoption with a fee which includes vaccination, sterilisation, deworming, microchipping, registration and licensing. You can read more here: http://www.spca.org.sg/adoptioninfo.html. They accept donations to help cover the costs for upkeep and maintenance too. Even if cash donations aren’t your preferred option, you can also volunteer your time there for feeding and cleaning or simply spending time with the animals.
Just give them a chance to occupy your heart, won’t ya?