Over the past year, SOSD rescued 307 dogs. They came in all sizes, ages, breeds. A third of them were bailed out from the government pound. These are dogs with a death sentence on their heads. Impounded for straying or given up by their owners, they would be euthanized if not rescued by animal welfare groups.
307 is only a fraction of the total number of dogs SOSD was asked to help. We receive calls from the public to take in over 500 dogs a year. On top of that, 1000 dogs are impounded annually – Most of them, except the lucky 10% who are bailed out, are put to sleep. For the 2 new dogs who come through SOSD’s doors every day, it is the beginning of a new life.
This year’s Flag Day, we celebrate life, new beginnings, and second chances with our theme: “A New Start”. It is a long road ahead after being rescued: quarantine, medical treatment, and rehabilitation if required. It can take months or even years, but each step of the way, SOSD’s dogs journey further and further away from the life of hardship, abuse and suffering they used to know. Eventually, their journey is complete when they find a home to call their own; a family to adopt, love and care for them.
Our theme also resonates deeply with SOSD’s Healing Paws Program. In this AAA (Animal Assisted Activities) program, SOSD dogs go to institutions such as hospices and day care centres to provide comfort and love to people in need. It is their way of giving back to the society who has given them a second chance in life.
SOSD now has more than 100 dogs under its care at any time. Despite its scale of operations, SOSD is run primarily by its 250 volunteers who work in various departments under a management and working committee.
Although administrative and staff costs are low, the amount needed to keep SOSD running is expensive: SGD $520,000. 70% of the total expenditure was spent on medical bills. A large amount was needed for routine medical treatments (vaccination, sterilisation, micropchipping, etc). On top of this, many rescues were sick, requiring veterinary attention. Half of SOSD’s rescues are infected with heartworm and tick fever – potentially fatal conditions which are expensive to treat. On top of that, many were seriously injured with maggot wounds, orthopaedic conditions, requiring expensive and prolonged medical care.
A significant amount was also spent on sterilising and treating injured street dogs. These are dogs who do not belong by SOSD, and are returned to the community after medical treatment. Singapore has always dealt with the stray dog problem via a reactionary approach by catching and culling when complaints arise. Unfortunately, this does not solve the root of the problem- new litters of puppies quickly replace culled dogs, hence, the stray dog population has not decreased even after 50 years. Last year, SOSD sterilised 90 street dogs. With enough funds, we will increase sterilisation rates, and perform trap, neuter, release (TNR) on a larger scale to quickly help Singapore control its stray dog population. Culling is not the solution – Sterilisation is.
SOSD very lucky last year to receive enough donations to make ends meet. Now, we rely on your kindness again to donate on this special day, to allow us to continue our work. As SOSD continues to expand, and undertake larger-scale projects this year, even more funds will be required.
Please help us. The road in animal welfare is gruelling, but we know we can achieve even more with your generosity and kind donations. Together, we are sure we can make this coming year, an even better one for Singapore’s homeless and abandoned dogs!