Cat lovers, do you know that if you owning a cat in a HDB flat, you can be fined up to $4,000? Certainly, pets could provide some great furry companionship in our lives. However, there are rules to owning pets in Singapore with regards to where you stay. In this article, we will be looking into rules and regulation of owning pets in HDB flats and also private homes. There are exceptions to the rules and regulations too.
Having pets, such as cats in HDB flats
Under the Housing and Development (Animals) Rules 1989, it is illegal to keep cats in your HDB flat. In fact, you will be liable for a fine up to $4,000 if you fail to comply. The reason that cats are prohibited is because “They are generally difficult to contain within the flat. When allowed to roam indiscriminately, they tend to shed fur and defecate or urinate in public areas, and also make caterwauling sounds, which can inconvenience your neighbours.”
What about dogs?
HDB Approved Dog Breeds Source: HDB
While dogs are allowed in HDB flats, it has to be one of the 62 HDB-approved dog breeds. You can refer to the full list here on the SPCA website. Moreover, only one dog is allowed per household. Dog owners do not need to apply for HDB’s approval to keep the dog as long as it is an approved breed and the dog needs to be licensed by the NParks Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS).
Other pets that are allowed in HDB flats include rabbits, hamster, approved bird breeds, approved fish breeds, crabs, frogs and approved turtle breeds.
For the love of pets..
If you are looking to own a cat or dog that is not one of HDB’s approved breeds, or looking to have multiple dogs, a private property might be a better fit. AVS’s current rule states that a maximum of three dogs is allowed to be kept in any one private residences. Of which, only one Specified dog can be licensed and kept in each private residence.
So what exactly is a Specified dog? These are dog breeds that are reported to be more aggressive, and additional measures such as muzzling, have to be put in place to minimize chances of an attack.
Cats and other legal pets can be kept at private residences but do be mindful that if you are living in a condominium or apartment, there might be other by-laws set by the condominium’s Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) that will restrict the number and type of pets you can own. Do check with the specific MCST or Managing Agent in the Condominium or apartment.
What are the exceptions?
There are exceptions; however, to what is mentioned above regarding pets in HDB and also private housing in Singapore. One such exception is Project ADORE (ADOption and REhoming of dogs) which have became a permanent scheme in May 2014, the project allows HDB flat owners to adopt and keep bigger local mixed breed dogs, also known as Singapore Specials, which are up to 55 cm in height.
This is a 2 year pilot program that started recently on 1 March 2020 to revise the height criteria from 50 cm to 55cm and the weight criteria of 15 kg to be removed. Under the project, adopters have to abide by stringent ownership conditions and need to sign off on requirements to ensure that their dogs do not cause nuisances to the neighbours in the HDB.
The project has also since been expanded in August 2018 to include a pilot project till early 2022 called K9 Adoption Scheme to allow dog handlers to rehome retired sniffer dogs from Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Singapore Armed Force in HDB flats. There is also a higher possibility to keep more than 3 dogs if the fourth dog is a mongrel adopted from one of the rehoming partners.
Another project called Project Love Cats, which is a pilot project on cat ownership, was launched on 20 October 2012 in Chong Pang and was supported by its Member of Parliament Mr K. Shanmugam. The programme was effected to test a community management framework on responsible cat ownership in HDB estate. To qualify to be a cat owner in Chong Pang HDB estate, cat owners will need to register with the Cat Welfare Society and abide by ownership conditions such as microchipping and sterilisation. The areas covered are only at Old Chong Pang and New Chong Pang. Cat owners, check out if you stay in one of these blocks, if so you will be able to legally keep cats in your HDB without worrying that you will be fine up to $4,000! Looking ahead, whether the pilot Love Cats be expanded to other HDB estate still remains to be seen.
During a parliament sitting on 6 January 2020, Member of Parliament Mr Louis Ng of Nee Soon East asked Minister of National Development Mr Lawrence Wong very recently:
1. What is the rationale for not allowing people living in HDB flats to keep cats; and
2. whether the Ministry is reviewing this rule.
Minister Lawrence Wong replied, HDB’s pet ownership policies have to strike a balance between residents who are pet lovers and those who are not. Irresponsible pet ownership can lead to dis-amenities in the community and cause unhappiness. In the case of cats, dis-amenities include shedding fur, defecating/urinating in public areas, and caterwauling by roaming cats.
Notwithstanding these concerns, HDB recognizes that there are many residents who are cat lovers and who would like to keep cats in their flats. Hence, HDB will continue to review and update its pet ownership policies, together with NParks/Animal & Veterinary Service which is responsible for the broader issue of animal welfare and licensing.
While we would like very much to accommodate the wishes of all pet owners, we also have to take into consideration the views of other home-owners, and take a holistic and balanced approach in addressing this issue.”
For now, it looks like cats are still a no in other HDB flats in Singapore outside of Chong Pang.
Pets are lifelong companions and the commitment to care for it is a big responsibility. So much so that it would also affect the type of property that you are looking to purchase next. That is where Home Quarters’ expertise lies.
Come sit down with us to go through which property type is more suitable for you as a whole by going over to homequarters.com.sg or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message us on Facebook or Instagram.
If you would like to schedule a virtual viewing, that is also possible – you can read all about what you need to look out for during a property virtual viewing here.
That’s it for this article! Stay safe everybody, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!