Sunday, October 20, 2013

Are you just a Puppy Lover?

Lately there was uproar from animal welfare activists in Singapore regarding a healthy 7-month old puppy being euthanized by its owner because the owner claimed the puppy was “aggressive”. This puppy named Tammy was adopted from a rescuer 4 months ago. However her “family” life was cut short when owner chose to put her down before sourcing for all possible alternatives to re-home or put in efforts to understand her.


A picture of Tammy

Despite Tammy’s rescuer agreed to take Tammy back but requested for a bit more time, till now no answer was given as to why the owner still decided to send her to doomsday. Did the vet follow any set of protocol before injecting the lethal potion into Tammy’s body to end her life? When questions were probed with the animal clinic that put Tammy down, the answer was “There were bite marks and escalating signs of aggression”. When Tammy showed signs of escalating aggression in the clinic, could this be a defensive mode when she was handled by strangers and injecting with vaccination?

Full story could be found in this link:

Is Euthanasia the convenient way for human beings to get rid of an animal just because they have no voice?

Did owner fulfil her responsibility as a pet owner, makes effort to understand the pet she has adopted?

How do you understand the puppy well enough just by spending 4 months with her and warrant her to a death sentence?

Was she so called “aggressive” due to puppy teething which is part and process of a growing stage, be misunderstood as biting?

Was probably active puppy behaviour, eg. Jumping, rough play is misunderstood as an act of aggression?

Why did the owner still choose to put her down despite the rescuer is willing to take her back?

Or did Tammy just outgrow her puppy cuteness??

I believe we will never have the answers…

As an active volunteer with CAS for 3 years (2009 – 2012), the most commonly issues we have with adopters of puppies are chewing! Has Tammy’s owner not known that puppies chew? Did she make her research? In human terms, it may means biting.

This again leads to the topic of Responsible Pet Ownership where CAS is always advocating and educating.

You need to do your research to understand the different stages of a puppy growing up before you adopt one. Most people are puppies lover but that does not mean responsible owners. Most owns a puppy at impulse and lost interest after it outgrows its cuteness stage. That is where problems will usually kick in.

A puppy grows its teeth from as young as 3 weeks up to 8months old. During this stage, the puppy needs to chew! Teething process continues for several months. This could be an uncomfortable and painful experience for them. They need to chew to relief their discomfort. Unless you are ready for your beloved sofas, carpets, shoes, cupboards, doors, computer cables and even metals, yes, almost anything in your house, to go into pieces. (See picture). If you don’t, I will suggest you don’t own a pet, or rather a puppy! Perhaps, adopt an adult dog then.


Tammy’s life may be lost but not wasted. Because of her, animal welfare activists in Singapore united to speak up for her. Probably this could save the life of strays that are voiceless and better legislation on pet euthanizing.

CAS volunteers came across many dogs during our rescues. There are some friendly, most of them are fearful of humans, timid, but none of them would show signs of aggression. Some do bark and yes may bite but that is due to distress, perhaps in a car accident, in pain or confused with our rescue where they are in self-defensive mode but never once did one come up to attack for no reason. When a dog barks, the best is to avoid eye contact and walk calmly away.

My purpose of writing this article after reading Tammy’s case, was hoping to see more responsible pet ownership in Brunei. Don’t act on impulse to adopt when you see a cute puppy. Are you ready enough? No doubt Adoption Helps to Save a Life, however it could also destroys a life if there is no patience, no efforts made to take care or understand your pet.

Some families adopted from CAS and realize later the huge responsibility behind taking care of a dog. Whatever happen, if an adoption does not goes well, please return the dog to CAS. Do not try to re-home the dog on your own, abandon or put down. But you have to give CAS time to find alternatives.

Proper education channel in animal welfare is lacking. Legislative Law to protect animals is not updated. But words of mouth could be effective! People passed information, communicates every day.

YOU can make that change!

Agnes, once a CAS Volunteer