Falling standards of pet shop
A grading system for pet stores was
introduced in 2007 to raise the standards of animal welfare. Compliance with license conditions takes up 80%
weightage of the grade, while the remaining 20% depends on the adoption of best practices. This year, four D
grades were handed out by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), the lowest ranking for pet stores in
A visit to these 4 stores saw a tank with a
dead frog floating on the surface while fish swam in it, another tank containing water so murky that the fish
could barely be seen, and muddy puddles of water everywhere. Such stores operate carelessly, selling sick or
underage animals, and maintaining the shop in poor conditions.
Cramped living conditions aid in the spread
of diseases and parasites through the feces of animals, and further increases the chance of a disease
arising. In 2009, 80 complaints, mostly about the sale of unhealthy or underage pets or unsanitary
conditions, were made against 277 pet stores; 30 were fined.
Stores that fail to display their grade risk
being fined, though none have been fined yet. Those with a consistent D grade have to send their staff for
remedial and risk being unable to renew their license (which is needed to operate a pet shop). Those refusing
to comply with the rules can be taken to court.
The grade is to be reviewed during license
renewal or when the store has committed an offence. A major offence would have an immediate impact on the
animal, while minor offences would not afflict the animal significantly. The latter will result in a smaller
degree of downgrading. Pet shop grades are available at
AVA’s website at www.ava.gov.sg .
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