What is TNRM?
Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage (TNRM) is a humane alternative to culling for managing and reducing dog populations. TNRM relies on sterilisation of dogs so that they are unable to breed, leading to a gradual decline in numbers.
Trap: Humanely trapping free-roaming dogs living in rural or industrial areas and transporting them to a veterinary clinic where they are sterilized. (Weblink to “SOSD fantastic four” article June 21)
Neuter: Surgical sterilization process that removes the reproductive organs of the dog (ovaries and uterus of females, and testicles of males) so that it can no longer reproduce. A qualified veterinarian performs this surgery; it is generally a quick, safe and painless procedure as the dog is placed under general anaesthesia. After the surgery, the dog is back to normal in a few days.
Upon a vet advice, TNR dogs may also receive a health check, vaccinations and are treated for any visible medical conditions. Sterilized dogs are marked to indicate that they have been neutered, in order to prevent them from undergoing the same procedure a second time. Vet’s typically mark a sterilized dog by cropping a part of its ear (known as ear clipping), tattooing the ear and/or putting a tag on its collar. The dog is also microchipped so that it may be traced if it were to ever be caught.
Release: After surgery, the dogs recuperate for up to a week before they are released at their original capture site, where they will continue to live as they did before sterilization.
Manage: Once dog populations are sterilized, existing feeders can then provide regular food via responsible feeding methods so the dog can live out the rest of its life. Managing the population is important as complaints regarding these dogs or irresponsible feeding/littering are likely to lead to culling, regardless of whether the dog is sterilized. Managing a dog population also involves vaccinating the dogs to ensure that they are protected against certain diseases providing medical aid to injured, sick or abandoned dogs, and dealing with stray-related complaints in the area wherever engagement is possible.
We believe that TNR is the most humane and effective way to control Singapore’s stray dog population. It is the only way we can put an end to the stray dog tragedy. Neutering free-roaming dogs prevents unwanted litters, ensuring that the population remains stable. In fact, the number of stray dogs will eventually begin to decrease as the dogs die of natural causes, or are rehomed if adoption is available. The reduction in stray numbers means that TNR also helps the dog community, authorities and the public as stray-related complaints will decrease, resulting in less culling.
TNR will help to improve the welfare of the stray dogs in multiple ways. Once spayed, female dogs tend to live much healthier lives. They are no longer burdened with repeated cycles of giving birth to and providing nutrients to litter after litter of puppies. Spaying also helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors. Neutering male dogs prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems . No longer subject to such cancers, the life expectancy of a stray dog increases drastically. Upon trapping, dogs with health conditions will also receive medical treatment.
Nuisance behaviours are also substantially reduced with sterilisation.
Other efforts to control stray dog populations include removing the dogs. However, this method is not as effective as TNR because dogs typically reproduce faster than they can be removed from the environment. Once TNR is successful, shelters will have less dogs to rescue, so they may then concentrate both funding, manpower and resources on rehoming their existing dogs and treating ill or injured dogs. Feeders and caregivers will have less dogs to take care of. We dream of a day where there are no more shelters as there are no more stray dogs to worry about.
Does it actually work?
The case of Pulau Ubin – Project Sound
Pulau Ubin may be the only place in Singapore where free-roaming dogs are not only tolerated but celebrated as part of kampong life. It is the ultimate paradise, in comparison to the situation on mainland Singapore where dogs are heavily culled by the authorities. The only way we can end the stray dog tragedy is through TNRM.
Project Sound is a “Trap, Neuter, Release, Manage” project initiated by SOSD to sterilise dogs in Ubin and nearby fishfarms so as to manage Ubin’s dog population. “SOUND” stands for “Sterilisation Of Ubin and Neighbouring Dogs”.
SOSD has from October 2014 to May 2016 sterilised 74 Ubin and fishfarm dogs. This has prevented hundreds if not thousands of unwanted puppies.
The population has also decreased from 100+ dogs to 70+ dogs during this period.
The decrease in number also includes dogs which have been evacuated due to injury or illness. These dogs are either rescued, treated and returned to Ubin, or rescued and rehomed or otherwise awaiting adoption.
In addition, the abandonment rate has significantly decreased since our project started. Towards the end of the project, there have only been 3 new cases of suspected dog abandoment on Ubin.
Some fishfarm dogs (both adult and pups) which fishfarmers no longer want to keep were flagged to us by AVA and taken in by us for rehoming.
A few Ubin dogs have unfortunately crossed over the rainbow bridge, or have gone missing.
SOSD has with the help of its volunteer vets vaccinated 50 dogs either once or twice over 3 vaccination days within a period of 3 months from Dec 2015 to Mar 2016.
Certain diseases can now be prevented such as distemper which caused many Ubin dogs to die in 2012.
All unwanted litter puppies from free-roaming females have been rehomed. Now that all free-roaming females have been neutered, the only puppies (if any) that will appear on the island will be those abandoned on Ubin and not from any existing free-roaming female.
To date, no Ubin nor fishfarm dog has been handed over to the AVA while Project SOUND was ongoing.
Our future plans for TNRM: Over the last 10 years, more than 20,000 dogs have been put to sleep. Many of the euthanized dogs were completely healthy. That works out to 5-6 dogs culled a day!
SOSD is committed to ending the stray dog tragedy by increasing our TNR efforts. In 2015/6, we sterilised 133 dogs, a 300% increase from the year before. This year, we aim to do more. The fewer dogs born, the less dogs to be culled. We hope to be able to work with the various stakeholders– existing feeders, other animal welfare groups, the relevant authorities and members of the public– to manage complaints against existing stray dog populations through educational talks, erecting public safety signage, and mediation where possible.
We will not rest until the culling ends.
What can you do?
For those of you who believe that TNR, not indiscriminate culling, is the way to humanely reduce current stray dog populations, you can help us help our furry friends by spreading the word about TNR or sponsoring one of our TNR dogs. Through sponsorship, you will help defray the costs of TNR for one dog. You choice will have a direct impact on this lucky Singapore special’s welfare by lessening its risk of getting culled, and giving it a chance to live out the rest of his/her life without the burden of raising puppies in a hostile environment. Your sponsorship contribution will go a long way to make a difference in that dog’s life!
What happens when I become a TNR dog sponsor?
Sponsoring a TNR dog helps to humanely manage the population of stray dogs in Singapore. It helps to defray the costs of TNR for one dog and ensure that he/she can continue living the rest of his/her doggy days with less risk of being culled.
The cost breakdown of sponsoring one TNR dog is shown in the chart below. There are a two sponsorship options available:
Full sponsorship by way of a lump sum amount of $600, or staggered sponsorship contribution by way of 2 payment amounts of $300 over a span of 2 months. Please go to Sponsor A TNR Dog and register your interest by filling out underneath the dog’s profile. We will be in touch to answer any of your questions.