SPCA Singapore to Work with Authorities to Regulate Pet Ownership Amid 79% Surge in Cruelty Case

The report underscores 915 cases of cruelty and welfare issues, 30 hoarding instances of almost 480 animals and six cases of youth-related cruelty, the highest in 11 years
Ushar Daniele
Kuala Lumpur, MY
SPCA Singapore

An animal welfare organization in Singapore is working closely with the authorities on a licensing framework for ownership of cats and small animals after a report revealed that there was a whopping 79 per cent increase in cruelty and welfare cases in 2023. 

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SCPA) Singapore believes that there is a pressing need for legislative changes to strengthen protection for animals, which includes imposing stricter sentences for those found guilty of animal cruelty and penalties for neglect and welfare issues. 


One example by SPCA Singapore was an abandoned 14-year-old rescued Japanese Spitz that had been suffering from severe ear infections and deteriorating dental health, and vets had no choice but to remove all of its teeth. 

Aarthi Sankar, SPCA Executive Director, told VICE that the rise in cases was alarming, and SPCA believe several reasons are driving the numbers up. One potential reason was the COVID-19 pandemic, where many chose to get a companion during the work-from-home period. 

Many of these owners purchased dogs from a shop or breeder with little education at the point of sale to ensure that new owners understand animal care and dog training. 

“With more people returning to their pre-pandemic routine, some owners may not be able to offer the same amount of time or care for their pets and in other instances, the lack of training and socialization at the right age may encourage certain behaviors, and these could cause frustration to the pet owners who might decide to abandon their pets,” Aarthi said.

SCPA also considers neglect and withholding of medical treatment for an unwell pet to be a form of abuse. There are also instances of pet owners with multiple pets who did not sterilize their pets, which leads to breeding and unwanted litter, and due to this inability to care for a large number of pets, the result leads to compromised welfare and abandonment. 


However, Aarti said Singaporeans have become more vigilant and cognisant of animal welfare. 

“More people might be coming forward to report cases of abuse they have witnessed, which led to the increase in the number of cases reported. “

In Singapore, animal welfare cases come under the Animals and Birds Act, but there are severe challenges to enforcing the law. Cats and small animals are currently not regulated, and this lack of accountability makes it easier for owners to abandon their cats without consequences. 

“Unless there is a witness to the act of abandonment, it is difficult to prosecute offenders for the crime of abandonment,” Aarthi explained. For those looking to adopt or get a new pet, SPCA Singapore emphasizes many heartbreaking cases of adopters surrendering their pets years later. Some things to consider before adopting are the fit between the entire family and the pet in terms of preference and lifestyle. 

SPCA recommends interested parties to ensure they are capable to meet commitment levels concerning quality time spent with the pet and financial resources. New owners are encouraged to have contingency plans if they fall sick, relocate or are no longer able to care for the pet.