Spike in dog abuse cases in 2023, with 9 involving trainers, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Spike in dog abuse cases in 2023, with 9 involving trainers

There was a spike in dog abuse cases here in 2023, with 69 reported cases, said the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) on Jan 16 in response to queries from The Straits Times.

There were 202 cases of dog abuse between 2019 and 2023, SPCA added, with 2023’s figure making up a third of the five-year total.

SPCA received reports of 48 cases in 2019, 20 cases in 2020, 30 cases in 2021 and 35 cases in 2022.

Nine of the cases in 2023 involved dog trainers.

SPCA executive director Aarthi Sankar said that pet owners should engage trainers who use only humane training methods, which do not employ physical force on the animals.

She also warned against hiring dog trainers who use training tools such as shock, choke or prong collars.

“It is essential to check reviews of the trainers and do your research before engaging their services,” Ms Sankar said, adding that training dogs takes time and that owners should be wary of trainers who promise immediate positive results.

“The SPCA also advises against engaging trainers who exclude pet guardians from the training process. Training is a two-way process and your participation will help you bond with your pet, and equip you with the right skill sets and mindset to guide your pet,” she said.

Ms Sankar’s comments were in response to a video posted on Instagram on Jan 15 showing two employees at dog training firm Xavian and Pack pushing and hitting dogs.

In the video, one of the men pushes down on a dog’s back to get it to sit. When the dog stands back up, the man uses both his arms to shove the dog down again and it eventually sits.

The other man drags another dog, before appearing to hit its body and head to get it to stay in place.

The firm’s owner has said that the pair have since been suspended and the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) said it is investigating the matter.

Ms Sankar said that businesses that conduct dog training should have stringent recruitment processes and regular training for employees.

Businesses should also develop a code of conduct that their employees can adhere to and go through assessment and obtain the relevant certification from government bodies before being allowed to handle animals without supervision, she added.

The AVS launched its Accredited Certified Dog Trainer Scheme on Dec 10, 2022, for dog trainers to improve their capabilities in managing dog behaviours.

Under the scheme, which is voluntary, dog trainers will get certification from any of the four following international animal behaviour and training organisations: the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants, the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, the Animal Behaviour Society, and the American College of Veterinary Behaviourists.

Dog trainers who wish to apply for the scheme may visit AVS’ website for more information.

Dog owners who wish to engage an accredited trainer may also refer to a list on the same page.

animal abusenational parks boardANIMAL WELFARE