Animal Conservation

‘I can’t walk away’: Animal welfare campaigner scrambles to help chained dogs

But owners are often reluctant to improve the living conditions of their dogs. In eight to nine cases out of 10, they are not receptive.

Li hears responses like, “The dog is lazy, he can’t stand, he only likes to sleep” or “If you care about animal welfare, then go to the shelter and adopt all the animals there. — do not interfere in how I treat my dog”.

This is when she uses the evidence collected by the public and works with the AVS to try to help the dogs, within the limits of the existing rules.


Between 2019 and March this year, AVS worked on 46 cases reported by CDAS, AVS Group Director Jessica Kwok said.

Although there is no law in Singapore prohibiting confining or chaining a dog 24/7, “dogs should not be permanently isolated or confined in an unsuitable environment”, a- she noted. “Prolonged tethering of dogs in any case is strongly discouraged.”

Singapore’s Animal Welfare Code states that if a pet is tethered, “the equipment used, the area and the manner in which it is tethered should be safe and comfortable for it”.

If confined, the area should be clear and “large enough for him to move around comfortably”.

When cases are reported, the AVS will assess them “in their entirety”, Kwok said, to see if the owners have breached the Animals and Birds Act by failing in their duty of care.

The AVS takes into account: the manner in which the dog is chained, its medical history, the supply of food, water and adequate shelter, the dog’s state of health, its general living environment and any other factor that may be related to the case.

Even when dogs are physically assessed, the AVS will make recommendations to improve their living environment and welfare if necessary, she added.

First-time offenders caught abusing an animal can be charged under the Animals and Birds Act and can be fined up to S$15,000, imprisonment up to up to 18 months or both.