SOSD Research Study – Understanding People’s Awareness of the Stray Dogs in the Vicinity and Their Perceived Ethical Action Towards Them
Complaints against homeless dogs are on the rise – resulting in an increase in catching operations. Everyday, the lives of the street dogs in Singapore hang on a thin thread. Besides worrying about food and shelter, they now have to worry about being caught, impounded, and killed.
SOSD conducted a survey in a high-complaint, high-culling area: Punggol, to learn more about the attitudes of the residents towards the homeless dogs. Since 2011, when SOSD started rescuing dogs from the area, hundreds of dogs have been caught and culled. Feeders report that dog-catchers are told to catch any stray dogs on sight in a bid to reduce the population.
The survey was conducted and results processed professionally by The Nielson Company. 300 residents were randomly selected to participate. We present, for the first time, the results of the study:
• 32% of participants own pets; 44% of pet owners keep dogs
• 80% of participants are aware of stray dogs in Punggol.
• 53% of participants are welcoming of stray dogs.
• 82% of participants agree that stray dogs should be rehomed/sent to a shelter
• Only 11% of participants felt that stray dogs tend to be aggressive.
• Only 30% of participants know that dog catching is ongoing
• Only 2% wish for dogs to be trapped and euthanised (killed via lethal injections)
• 1 in 2 disagree with AVA’s approach to tackling the stray dog issue
• 44% of participants feel that AVA’s approach on stray dogs is ineffective
• 16% of participants feel that AVA’s approach on stray dogs is effective
• 76% of participants feel that catching and neutering stray dogs is a good alternative to culling
A big Thank You! to The Nielson Company, and Marilyn for doing the study pro-bono, and to volunteers who helped in this survey.
A very important finding from the study, is that contrary to what many say, most Singaporeans DO have a heart for homeless dogs. As we mature into a more caring and compassionate society, many Singaporeans care not only for themselves, but also for the people and animals around them.
SOSD strongly believes that culling does not solve the homeless dog problem – only a sterilisation program, together with rehoming, does. SOSD works ceaselessly to rehome dogs – especially puppies, so that they will not contribute to the stray dog problem when they grow up. This way, balance between humans is dogs is maintained. At the same time, we work with feeders to sterilise dogs for population control. We are glad that our work is in line with what Singapore feels, as shown in the study. Hopefully, Animal Welfare Groups and government agencies can move forward together this way to solve the stray dog problem.
Animal Welfare Groups are in a fix now because there are less adopters for stray dogs due to size restrictions in HDB flats. 82% of Singaporeans want stray dogs rehomed – but we can only do this, if size restrictions are relaxed, so that more dogs can be adopted into HDB apartments. Currently, only medium sized dogs under 15kg and 50cm can be adopted into HDN apartments, under the ADORE program. However, this makes up less than 15% of the stray dog population. Most homeless dogs are NOT ALLOWED in HDN flats. We sincerely hope that this survey will help persuade the Ministry of National Development, to increase the maximum allowed size of dogs in HDB flats. Only then, can we humanely solve Singapore’s stray dog problem together.