Sunday, November 9, 2008

Love Me. Love Me Right.

I have a fat cat and I think I might be in trouble...

Over at UK, new codes of practice for owners of dogs, cats and horses have just been released for consultation. The proposed guideline is part of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to prevent cruelty to animals.

Breaching the guideline could prove to be a deciding factor in whether a pet owner is found guilty of a pet welfare offense. That could cost him a jail term of 6 months or a fine of up to £20,000.

The guidelines cover the environment for animals, diet, the company they enjoy, ensuring they exhibit normal behavior patterns, as well as health and welfare issues.

Generally, feeding chocolate, raisins or grapes are not recommended as such food are "poisonous" for pets. Overfeeding a pet or not putting an obese pet on a diet may also spell trouble (this is the worrisome part for me).

If you have a dog, listen up to some of the rules:

1. A dog should not be disturbed when eating as this can cause "food-related aggression".
2. Dogs should not be fed at the table as this can lead to begging.
3. Do not feed a dog less than an hour before vigorous exercise in order to avoid "bloating".
4. Groom dogs with long hair at least once a day.
5. All dogs should have teeth cleaned with dog chews or canine toothpaste as part of routine care.

For those with cats at home (including me), some of the rules say that:
1. Cats should be kept away from windows or tumble dryers as they are considered "curious" animal.
2. Cats are not vegetarians
3. Adult cats do not need bowls of milk
4. Cats need somewhere to hide and to scratch claws.

I think I am doing fine so far, except possibly the overfeeding part.

Animals lovers would welcome the proposed Bill but there are those who find the new codes 'absurd' and 'are taking people for fools'. I supposed, the legislators prefer to have 'absurd' codes than to be left with no fangs to bite those who have deprived pets of their welfare.

While there are pet owners who need harsh reminders on how to treat their pets right, there is a another group of pet owners who cannot seem to shower enough love.

If you are looking for ways to love your dogs more, a unique cooking class held 2 days ago might have been perfect for you. 'The Cooking For Two' workshop was conducted at the K9 Kafe (Turf Club Road) and you would be taugh how to prepare a 3-course gourmet meal that will satisfy you and your pooch. Dishes included unagi and miso-crusted diver scallops and grilled pork tenderloin.

While I absolutely do not condone abusive behaviour towards pets, gastronomy for pets seems rather out of range to me. Oh, fine! I admit I love animals, but not that much.

Back here in Singapore, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) are thinking of some changes too. I guess they have seen enough mauled bodies and are now considering changing licensing requirements for those owning 'potentially dangerous dogs'.

If you are one of the 323 rottweiler owners in Singapore, take note.

If the new rules are approved, your ferocious rottweiler could become more costly as you would be required to take up an insurance policy of at least S$100,000 and a banker's guarantee of S$2,000. On top of that, that little brat would have to go to school to receive some obedience training.

Owning a pet is a load of responsibilities. The AVA have been educating the public to be responsible pet owners but they cannot do the job alone.

Schools, pet sellers and animal welfare organisations such as the SPCA, the Cat Welfare Society and the House Rabbit Society are doing their parts too.

Most importantly, you and I, new and existing pet owners and the general public ought to embrace the same message.

If you are thinking of getting a pet, I recommend you visit the pet shop with your wallet and compassion but leave your impulse at home. When you finally bring that cuddly fur ball home, bring along an 'instruction manual', like you would when buying your plasma TV.

A pet is for life!

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