Since its advent in the late 1800s in Singapore, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has been coming to the aide of sick, injured or badly treated animals. Its early cases were of cruelty to hack ponies, ill-treated oxen or birds shot by blowguns, for which the penalty would be minimal, if anything at all, and animals were visited rather than given shelter. It wasn’t until after World War II that the first boarding house for unwanted or stray animals was established.

Since then, the charity has expanded enormously, not only providing shelter and 24-hour animal rescue, but engaging with the community by means of volunteering programs, animal adoption and education in schools, as well as advocacy for wildlife and animals in entertainment or fashion industries. Executive Director of SPCA, Dr. Jaipal Gill Singh, gives an overview of what happens at the Sungei Tengah Road center and how to get involved.

How does the day start at SPCA?
Our shelter team of staff and volunteers start off with cleaning the kennels and cages, exercising the animals and then feeding. Our rescue team and inspectorate are on standby to attend to emergencies that come through our 24-hour telephone hotline, or through other channels such as emails or social media.

Which types of animals come to you?
The SPCA takes in over 100 animals every month, the majority being cats and dogs. These animals are a mix of abandoned and surrendered pets, street dogs and cats that are sick or injured, lost or abused. It is not always possible to tell if an animal found on the street is abandoned.

Every single day, we also receive surrender requests from pet owners. We believe that pet ownership is a lifetime responsibility and that potential pet owners should carefully consider the commitment involved before bringing home a companion animal.

What have been the most notable success stories recently at SPCA?
One of our favorite cases is that of Rover, a dog which was with us for six years. He came to us as a puppy in May 2012 and in April 2018 he was finally adopted by a lovely couple who gave him the love and forever home he deserved.

Another recent story is of a kitten which was found in a glue trap. After we administered medical treatment on him, one of our kind fosterers, Pearl, took him in and nursed him back to health. He will be available for adoption at our shelter soon!

We are thankful that there are always people who are willing to open their hearts and homes to our animals, whether it is for fostering or adoption. These are the people who motivate us to keep going, as well as help save the lives of more animals in the process.

Describe some activities that go on at SPCA.
Every day, we have volunteers coming in to help with our daily operation – cleaning the kennels, feeding and taking care of the animals. There is a group of volunteers who will come every morning to help walk the dogs under our dog-walking program. Additionally, we conduct educational talks and visits for both students and corporate groups on a weekly basis. We will also have one or two volunteer orientation sessions every month for those who are interested in joining our volunteer family. The SPCA also runs a community animal clinic where needy animals can get access to veterinary services.

How can people get involved with SPCA?
Besides adopting our animals and making donations to us, there are many other ways people can get involved with SPCA. We are always happy to have more volunteers join us in helping out around the shelter. It provides a good learning experience for those who intend to get a pet, but are unsure of how to take care of one. We are also calling out for more potential fosterers to join us. Many times, we have very young animals which come to us requiring round-the-clock care, such as feeding. This is when we need a fosterer who will be able to readily take these animals in so they can grow healthily, until they are ready for adoption in about one to two months’ time.

As we are not a government agency and do not receive any government funding we rely on our supporters to continue our important role as animal protectors and, hence, are always grateful when people are willing to spend their money, time and effort to help us.

To find out more about donating, volunteering or fostering at SPCA, visit their website at www.spca.org.sg