Pet boarding service to continue recruiting tourist volunteers
Pet boarding and daycare service Board N' Play is standing by its policy of recruiting tourists as volunteers, but it will provide them with first-aid training and implement safety procedures for the welfare of dogs under its care.
The new measures were announced four days after one-year-old maltese Garfield died following a swimming incident on Sentosa on April 17.
The dog had been swimming at Tanjong Beach with 16 other dogs while under the care of seven Board N' Play handlers.
The incident sparked criticism from netizens, who questioned the level of experience of the company's dog handlers after discovering tourists were being engaged as "volunteers" to care for the animals.
In return for volunteering, these tourists would receive free accommodation, meals and ez-link cards, according to a listing by Board N' Play on the backpacking online community Worldpackers.
While some netizens questioned whether such recruitment practices are lawful, checks by The Straits Times found there are no laws prohibiting tourists from volunteering in Singapore.
Guidelines on the Ministry of Manpower's website also do not state whether foreigners are required to apply for work passes or permits to volunteer here.
On Sunday, Board N' Play said in its statement that it has enrolled its staff in a certification course in first-aid for dogs, and at least one such certified handler will be present "at all times".
Volunteers will also undergo in-house training for cardiopulmonary resuscitation by the certified handler.
"We have witnessed and believe in the commitment of our volunteers in looking after our kids well," the company said in its statement.
Standard operating procedures to address a range of scenarios, such as drowning, overheating and choking, will also be put in place, said the company.
"These will be verified by our first-aid instructor and will be relayed to all our handlers, including volunteers," it added.
Board N' Play has also encouraged owners to get life jackets for their dogs, especially if the dogs are of a small breed. - CHARMAINE NG
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