Mr Leon Perera (Aljunied): Mr Chairman, residents have raised concerns following some brutal cases of animal cruelty recently. NParks receives about 1,200 complaints on average each year, of which about 20 result in warning letters, 38 in fines and six in jail. I am aware it is not easy to obtain evidence in such cases.
However, in my opinion, punishments are too lax. Some members of the public have pointed out that the maximum ban of 12 months for owners is lenient and it appears that the Courts do not often impose upper limits of jail terms, which go up to three years. I call on NParks to expedite its ongoing review of these penalties.
I also hope NParks will consider a complementary, restorative approach to tackling animal cruelty. This could mean requiring abusers to attend follow-ups with psychologists. NParks could also use touchpoints like pet shops and veterinary clinics to explain to owners why physical punishment and other ill-treatment like chaining, confining and not walking dogs, for example, are cruel practices. Afterall, people who mistreat animals may mistreat human beings too, one day.
Ministry of National Development
2 March 2023