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Find the Singapore Special mongrel dog a home, is it really so hard?

Pet ownership has suddenly become cheaper, that is if you live in a private home and are considering a fourth dog.

If you have three dogs and live in a private home, you can now consider adopting a fourth dog — at a much lower licensing fee.

The fourth dog has to be an adopted stray mongrel, and is subject to approval from the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).

From July 1, the AVA will reduce the (annual) licence fee for owning a fourth dog — from S$180 to S$15 a year.

The fourth dog will be allowed on a case-by-case basis if it is sterilised and obedience-trained.

This is to encourage more adopters to take in stray mongrels and help alleviate the stray dog situation in Singapore. – CNA

Being cynical Singaporeans, our first reaction was, if you live in a landed property which could possibly cost you about 3 million for the parcel of land and the construction of your home, the annual licensing fee is peanuts. If you had really wanted a 4th dog in the first place, you would have gotten it whether the licensing fee is $180 or $15.

How many private homes are there in Singapore anyway?

There are 72,000 landed homes in Singapore and 193,000 private high-rise apartment units (in 2012). – stproperty.sg

But too be realistic, private condominium units are so small that the homes that can realistically support 4 dogs including a large mongrel would be the landed homes.

How many stray mongrels are there in Singapore?

There are 8000 Singapore Specials roaming around Singapore currently. And out of these only an average 10-15 get rescued every month. This small number decreases exponentially as space in shelters run out, which will happen eventually.  – brochure

Numerically speaking, you need 11% of the 72,000 landed homes to each adopt one of the estimated 8000 roaming mongrels in Singapore. But if this cheaper fourth license is only suppose to help alleviate, not solve the problem, I wonder what sort of uptake they are expecting from this. Assuming those strays will continue to reproduce, will it really help to alleviate the situation?

Conversely, 90% of resident households in Singapore own an HDB flat. Yup, those people living in private landed and apartment properties only make up 10% of the resident households!

Perhaps we will have a better chance of solving the problem if we take steps to help those in the 90% interested in adopting a mongrel. And there is such a program doing that. The pilot Project Adore has apparently been officially formalised according to this May report.

This means, if you live in an HDB flat and would like to adopt a mongrel, you can approach the following shelters who are part of the program – SPCA, ASD and SOSD.

Mongrels eligible for the program will be Donna’s size, about 15kg. Unfortunately, this means that a fair portion of mongrels will be excluded. People are surprised to hear that Donna is 5 years old. When they see her, they assume she is a puppy because apparently, she is smaller than the average mongrel. It seems most mongrels are commonly expected to grew bigger than 15kg and will not be HDB-approved.

But actually, after living with Donna for 1.5 years. We find that she is very easy to manage and train even for newbies like us, sleeps most of the day at home and doesn’t disturb the neighbours. In fact, our neighbours living on the same floor were at first surprised to discover we have a dog, because they never heard her bark at all. And thereafter, they just seem amused that Donna always seem so happy waiting for the lift because she is going out. But the fact is, there will always be some neighbours in the same block who are afraid of dogs or who feel aversion to dogs due to religious reasons.

But that is really not the fault of the dog. So assuming there are other bigger mongrels of the same temperament, I totally do not see a problem with the mongrel fitting in a public housing situation like ours.

There is a specific process and rules to be followed for the adoption with the Project Adore program to be successful however. I guess that also means that those mongrels already adopted by owners living in HDB flats from before Project Adore may have to continue to live on the dark side of being unapproved, regardless of size.

Although, if you have an adopted mongrel that meets the criteria of not more than 50cm shoulder height and not more than 15kg weight, you could possibly approach one of the shelters in the program to see if you can possibly enroll your dog under Project Adore through them.  But I’ve never met anyone who has done so before.

Further reading
Government flats for dogs
Project adore code of responsible behaviour
A dog that has successful been adopted under this program


Twelve Nights – Adopt, Don’t Abandon


This dog models at Shilin Night Market


  1. 180 Singapore = 144 US
    15 Singapore = 12US
    Pretty expensive seeing that my license is only 6US yearly. Even that’s too much. Why does a government tax dogs? Greedy petty bureaucrats.

  2. We pay double license fee for our dogs who are intact. Makes no sense, but that is the way it is. Too bad they cannot increase the weight limit for the HBD flats. Size doesn’t always determine whether a certain dog would make a good companion for a smaller space.

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