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The History of SPCA Starts in the 1800s

The History of SPCA Starts in the 1800s
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Singapore was in existence in the 1800s. A report from the Straits Times dated October 3, 1878 said, “The number of cases brought under the notice of the Singapore Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals during the first quarter ending September 30, 1878 was 84. Of these, three were for cruelty to hack ponies, 17 for ill-treatment of oxen and four for causing suffering to birds by shooting them with ‘sumpitans’. In ten cases, the offenders were cautioned and discharged by the Magistrate, six were convicted and fined and the remainder were visited by the Agents, who in every case verified that wounded animals and those unfit for labour were not made to work until their condition improved.”

From then until 1947, there were no other details on the SPCA. After the Japanese occupation in 1947, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) as it was then called was revived by Englishwoman, Miss Lucia Bach, who ran a boarding house and took in unwanted stray animals.

In the early 1950s, a Eurasian lady generously housed strays at her property that were rehomed by volunteers. n 1954, the RSPCA was set up formally and moved to Orchard Road. This move was facilitated by an RSPCA official from England, who engineered the operation and trained one of the staff as an inspector. The first official vehicle was donated to the SPCA. At the same time two staff members were hired – a telephone operator and a driver.

In 1959, Singapore ceased to be a crown colony and the RSPCA became the SPCA.

In 1976, an official clinic was set up to provide a service to members of the public. The facilities were also used to treat the Society’s animals and carry out sterilisations, which were made compulsory for SPCA-adopted animals since 1969.

With the development of Housing and Development Board flats, and the relocation from the kampongs to these flats, countless pets were abandoned, many reluctantly and with much heartache. The SPCA launched a special programme to collect animals before the occupants vacated their homes. The Ministry of National Development, the Primary Production Department (now the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority) and the Dog Unit at the City Veterinary Centre, co-operated in this scheme by providing information on areas about to be developed.

The SPCA relocated to 31 Mount Vernon Road in 1984. The new offices and kennels were a big improvement for both staff and animals.

In 1994, SPCA proposed to the government to increase the penalties for those found guilty of cruelty to animals. This resulted in an increase from a $500 fine and 6 month jail term to a $10,000 fine and a one year jail term in 2002.

In a landmark case in 1997, a magistrate had imposed a $500 fine on an abuser who had stabbed/beat a mongrel dog that was tied up. The SPCA wrote to the Attorney General’s Chambers to ask for an appeal to be instituted. On appeal by the prosecution, the Chief Justice sentenced the man to a jail term.

In 2006, SPCA became a resource for the Community Court and our input has been sought prior to cases being heard.

Today SPCA takes care of over 10,000 dogs and cats every year, and finds a home for 1,000 pets every year.

For more information, please visit http://www.spca.org.

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