Pets & Animals

Responsible Pet Ownership Programme

Introduction


One of AVA's key responsibilities is to safeguard animal welfare. AVA does this by enforcing animal welfare regulations and through public education.

As a champion for animal welfare, AVA has been actively promoting responsible pet ownership to equip existing and potential owners with knowledge on the care and responsibility that comes with owning a pet. As part of our educational efforts, AVA has been reaching out to students to inculcate a sense of responsible pet ownership through talks at schools since 2001.

In 2004, AVA intensified its responsible pet ownership public education efforts with the official launch of its Responsible Pet Ownership Public Education Programme. With the advent of the Responsible Pet Ownership Public Education Programme, AVA paved the way towards a society that cares for the welfare of its animals.

Expanding its public education efforts beyond talks at schools, AVA adopted a multi-pronged approach to spread the message of "A Pet Is For Life" to the public. These included the organisation of responsible pet ownership events and roadshows, and mass media efforts such as advertorials, radio advertisements and television commercials. In addition, we also developed a Responsible Pet Ownership Icon.

AVA will continue to work closely with animal welfare and other like-minded organisations to create greater awareness on animal welfare.


Importance Of Public Education


With growing affluence, the number of people owning pets has increased. However, many people buy pets on impulse without realising the many responsibilities that come with it. Once the novelty of owning a pet wears off and the realities of caring for a pet set in, some owners end up abandoning their pets or surrendering them to animal welfare organisations. This has resulted in an increasing number of homeless animals.

Lack of knowledge on pet care is also a common problem amongst pet owners. Some pet owners are unaware of the proper ways of caring for their pets while others let their pets breed indiscriminately as they are not aware of the benefits of sterilisation. Yet others allow their pets to be a nuisance.

It is thus important to equip existing pet owners and potential pet owners with the necessary information on caring for a pet. We believe that public education is the long term solution to problems such as pet abandonment and irresponsible behaviour of pet owners. With continual public education efforts, we are confident that we will see a significant improvement in animal welfare standards in Singapore.


Key Messages


The overaching theme of AVA's Responsible Pet Ownership Public Education Programme is "A Pet Is For Life". Our key responsible pet ownership messages include:

  • Do not get a pet on impulse.
  • Consider adoption first.
  • Do not abandon your pet.
  • Sterilise your pet to prevent unwanted litters.
  • Be a responsible and considerate pet owner.

Responsible Pet Ownership Icon


RPOIcon

The Responsible Pet Ownership Icon was launched in 2004 to serve as a visual reminder to both existing and potential pet owners that a pet is a lifetime commitment.

Icon rationale

AVA's Responsible Pet Ownership Icon depicts a heart-shaped paw resting on a human hand. Just as a mother holding her child's hand symbolises unconditional love, care and protection, the Responsible Pet Ownership Icon represents a pet owner's love for the pet.

The colours of red and orange signify the warmth and strong bond between a pet and its owner.

The hand, raised in pledge, symbolises a promise of life-long commitment to the pet.

Sign Up for Talks / Learning Journeys

Talks at Schools


AVA conducts various Responsible Pet Ownership talks in schools catering to students five years old and above. For preschools, the talk takes the form of a 15-minute Show & Tell. For other levels, the talk lasts about 30 minutes and includes a powerpoint presentation and videos (note: an LCD projector and screen, as well as audio cords are required).


Talk Titles


For all levels (Primary and Secondary)

Title: Responsible Pet Ownership

This is an introduction to pet ownership and a primer for other talks. It covers a wide range of topics from deciding whether to get a pet to general pet care. The audience is strongly encouraged to think carefully about owning a pet and not to abandon their pets. The talk for secondary schools is split into 2 parts.

For primary level

Title: Pets are Like Us!

Are pets similar to us? Understanding that they have similar needs to ours can help children relate better to pets and animals in general. This talk will help young audiences develop greater compassion and respect for pets and other animals.

For preschool level (5 and 6 year olds)

Title: Show & Tell - Pets and their needs

At this age, children are too young to understand that pets are like us, living things which require certain needs. Through this Show & Tell, we share the needs of pets with them (bringing real tools with us) and reinforce the message that pets are not toys. Situation-pertaining, we may bring along one of our friendly pet ambassador for a meet-and-greet session at the preschool.

Applying for a School Talk


To apply for a school talk, please fill in the online application form.


Visits to the Animal Management Centre


We also conduct learning journeys at our Animal Management Centre (AMC). Below is some general information on the learning journey:

For preschool level (5 and 6 year olds)

Minimum no. of participants: 15
Maximum no. of participants: 30
Duration of Talk: 1 hour
Talk content: Circle time, music & movement, art & craft, meet & greet with our animal ambassadors

For other levels

Minimum no. of participants: 20 
Maximum no. of participants: 40 
Duration of Talk: 1 ½ hours 
Talk content: Talk, video and meet & greet with pets

Applying for a Learning Journey


To apply for a Learning Journey, please fill in the online application form.

Pet Pal Programme (Recommended follow-up activity)

To reinforce what children have learnt at the talk/learning journey, we encourage educators to join our Pet Pal Programme. Students who successfully complete the required activities will be given an exclusive Responsible Pet Ownership (RPO) collateral as a gesture of our appreciation in their effort to help us promote RPO values.

Students will need to complete the following activities for the Pet Pal Programme:

  1. Attend a talk/learning journey by AVA
  2. Share the information with four other people (friends, family members, etc.)
  3. Complete an activity (it can be student/teacher-led) to reinforce RPO messages learnt during talk/learning journey

The recommended time frame for completing the Pet Pal Programme is no longer than one month after the talk/learning journey.

For more information, please get in touch with Ms Maggie Tan at maggie_tan@ava.gov.sg.

Resources & Publications

Pet Corners in Schools


Having a Pet Corner may sound like a terrific idea to teach students how to care for pets, but have you considered the amount of commitment needed for such a project and whether the commitment involved makes running the project worthwhile?

Below are some questions and answers to help you decide.

Is there anyone to take care of the pets during school holidays, public holidays, exam periods and weekends?

Pets need constant care. Food and water have to be given regularly and the pets have to be protected from the elements of the weather. Pets also need regular interaction to be sociable. The best solution might be to have the teacher in charge bring the pets home during these periods.

Will the students benefit from being involved in the care of the animals?

If the students only have limited access and learning opportunities, including that of learning about the care of the pets, there will be limited benefits to having the pets in school.

Will there be a teacher dedicated to the long term care of the pet?

Like any household pet, school pets also need a responsible owner. A dedicated teacher (preferably two, in case one is unavailable during certain periods) with the proper knowledge and responsibility is more able to ensure the welfare of the pets. Additionally, this teacher will be a good role model for the students.

Are there people who know how to care for the type of pet(s) that the school plans to keep?

Students will usually have limited responsibility. All activities involving the pets should be supervised and a teacher in charge can provide the necessary guidance. Without knowing enough about the animals, the pets could be inadvertently harmed or their needs may not be met.

What lesson do the pets teach the students? Can the pets be replaced with alternatives?

If there is no clear purpose for having the animals (e.g. lesson plans involving them), their presence will not benefit the students or the animals themselves. Often there are alternatives to using animals in school to teach lessons on animals.

How long is the pet to be kept?

Some pets have rather long lives and will need homes for up to 8 years (rabbits) or even 20 years (terrapins). If there is no intention to keep the pet, it will probably pass on the message to children that pets are temporary acquisitions.

Are funds available for the upkeep of the pet(s) e.g. balanced food product, vet fees in the event the pet falls ill?

The upkeep of pets requires money. Without sufficient funds, the animals in the pet corner may become neglected. Veterinary care is especially important for pets kept outdoors, and untreated sick pets may die. Students might become indifferent to or distraught by the animals' suffering if no care is provided when they are sick. Pets should also be ideally checked by a veterinarian before they are brought in to schools.

Can a suitable habitat be provided for the pets?

Some pets will need a lot of space, especially rabbits. The animals will need living quarters that can be easily kept clean, comfortable and sheltered.

Will the interest in the animals be sustained?

Often, pets are novel and interesting at first but this wanes with time. The pets may then become neglected or no longer fulfill their purpose.


Alternatives to Pet Corners


  • Use posters, models, charts and diagrams of animals and plants. These are useful tools and serve as good alternative visual stimuli.
  • Show videos of animals and their behaviour.
  • Have a pet belonging to a teacher visit or have this teacher present about his/her pets using powerpoint slides.
  • Have activities with use of stuffed animals or other props to represent the animals.
  • Arrange trips to AVA's Animal Management Centre (AMC) or the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to participate in their educational programmes.
  • Arrange for assembly talks on pets by AVA and/or animal welfare societies.
  • Arrange for talks by other environmental organizations (e.g. NParks, Singapore Zoo, etc.) to talk about wildlife and conservation.
  • Read and discuss animal-related books
  • Have projects where students find out information about pets and make a poster or presentation.

There are many other activities that teachers and students can be involved in. If you have had a successful pet/animal activity, why not share it with us? Meanwhile, if you need more ideas, feel free to contact:

Ms Chong Poh Choo
Fax: (65) 6334 1831
Tel: (65) 6805 2592
Email: chong_poh_choo@ava.gov.sg


Back to Top LAST UPDATED ON Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Best viewed on IE9 and above, latest Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Adobe Reader is required for viewing and printing the Portable Document Format (PDF) documents.