Wednesday, April 22, 2009

shooting of stray and unlicensed dogs

since singapore became rabies-free in 1953, dogs have not been hunted as thoroughly or as vigorously as they were in the past. in the 50s and 60s, there were men roaming the streets and kampongs (villages) of singapore, some with a shot-gun in their hands. they had the authority to shoot and kill all strays and unlicensed dogs. culling of strays was quite common in the 50s and 60s.

i can vaguely recall watching a scene where one of these captured dogs was put to sleep with a gun shot. the dog was lassoed and taken to an open area where it was killed with one shot from a shotgun.

there was another incident which made me realise that dogs are quite intelligent animals. one day - when we were still living in the kampong - we were taken aback when our neighbour's pariah dog rushed into our house and hid under our bed. it stayed quiet and did not leave until the danger was over. two strangers walked past our house, one carrying a shotgun, but the normally noisy dog did not let out a sound at all.

my neighbour was quite appreciative of our help in saving the life of her unlicensed dog. at that time, we did not quite understand why there was this persecution of dogs, even dogs that were owned but did not have a tag.

those days, as children, we were not traumatised when we witnessed the taking away of an animal's life right in front of our eyes. we did not think of it as an act of cruelty; we saw it as something that the authorities had to do.

from the 70s onwards, there were hardly any report of culling of stray dogs. but even up to 1998, shooting was one method to get rid of strays. it was only after an unfortunate incident at lorong halus where a man was killed by a stray bullet that this practice was reviewed and then discontinued.

these days, i come across stray dogs at sungei buloh wetland reserve and along certain lanes in lim chu kang. when they are in a pack, they can behave quite aggressively and they do look vicious.


JollyGreenP said...

Having seen the dogs at Sungei Buloh I know what you mean. They certainly have that underlying air of ruthlessness about them which makes one a bit wary of them.

yg said...

john, when i am at sungei buloh, i am more wary of the stray dogs than any wild animal i may encounter. as far as possible, i try ad keep my distance from them.

stanley said...

In the early 60s, as a young lad ,I personally witnessed a stray dog being shot at Tiong Poh Road in Tiong Bahru. It was quite a traumatic experience for me after having witnessed the stray dog being shot. The stray collapsed in a pool of blood when the bullet went straight to the heart of the dog and exited the other end sometimes causing injury to the passer-by who happened to be in a wrong place at the wrong time.

Yu-Kym said...

I am wary of stray dogs and keep my distance if they look aggressive.

If it's still true that we are allowed to shoot strays and unlicensed dogs, then the laws have not been updated to keep up with the way things have changed. In the past, shooting a dog in public may not have been as traumatic as it may be now. After all, people used to kill chickens in their kitchens.

I am confused as to why stray cats are still caught away to be culled in this day and age. In the past, cats used to rummage through rubbish to find food and may spread diseases but nowadays there are cat-lovers who feed the stray cats. Hardly any cat eats scraps or bothers to hunt birds or rats. By the way, can somebody do something about the RATS in my neighbourhood?

yg said...

stanley, although we are from the same generation, our reactions to the shooting were different. maybe, it was because i was immune to watching animals being killed. we drowned the rats and my mother slaughtered the chicken and ducks.

yg said...

yu-kym, like you say, we were not so traumatised because we were used to watching animals being killed in our own homes.
these days, i believe they put the strays to sleep by giving them an injection.
rats. call the exterminator. in the past, we used to trap the rats using a cage but they are quite clever animals, so it is no easy task.

alternative-mom said...

Thanks for your wonderful blog. I came across while googling to see if anyone knows if the 'mangosteen' tree that I found at Lower Pierce Reservoir is indeed a mangosteen tree. Any idea?

I just have to add that I personally witnessed a pack of stray dogs attacked a wild monkey at Lower Pieerce Reservoir just on Monday!

The dogs viciously attacked the monkey which was caught off guard as it was eyeing our food! The monkey was fiercely attacked by the dogs, bitten and torn apart and brought into the forested area to be feasted on.

While I'm not one to advocate killing of animals, I just have to add that these strays are a bit too dangerous to be running about. They are probably hungry. Anyway, I'm not even sure if they'd hunt down an unprotected baby from the way they were lunging at the monkey!

yg said...

hi alternative-mom, thanks for the compliments.
i have blogged about mangosteen trees here .
if the trees at lower peirce are indeed mangosteen trees and if they are mature trees (i.e. more than 9 years old), they should be bearing fruit at this time of the year.
there are lots of mangosteen trees along neo tiew crescent/lim chu kang, on both sides of the road, just after the entrance to the sungei buloh wetland. some of them are fruiting.
stray dogs sometimes behave like wild dogs. when they are in a pack, they will even attack human beings. i always avoid them if i can.

yg said...

hi alternative-mom, i was at lower peirce this morning and i checked out the mangosteen tree, the one next to the two sign boards and near the fishing grounds. there are small mangosteens on the tree. they should be ripe in 2 months' time.

alternative-mom said...

Hi yg, thanks so much for checking out the mangosteen tree! We went back there and still could not figure out if they are the edible kind!

Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.

I'm a great fan of your blog! :) Keep up the good work!