A man with his pet cat on board a MRT along the East West line several days ago caused a whole lot of attention, with mainstream media posting several articles about it.
It’s either been a really slow news day, or transporting pets are so tedious and unheard of that people are amused.
While the man had his pet strapped to his chest in a carrier, SMRT – along with the Rapid Transit Systems Act – made it clear that it’s technically unlawful to bring animals on board their vehicles, unless the animal in question is a guide dog. If found to be carrying an animal on any part of the railway premises, the person is liable to be fined S$500.
As a pet owner who doesn’t drive, it’s quite baffling. I can understand why pets might not be allowed on trains, especially since I have a dog and it might cause tension with Muslim commuters, but there definitely should be more leeway. For instance, if the animal were to be securely boarded in a crate or animal carrier, I don’t see how that will be a problem.
In fact, I did that procedure to test your dogs breed to see if my dog was allowed on buses, when I had to bring him to the vet for vaccinations. It’s all quite hazy, and many people before me had posted on forums wondering the same thing. The consensus was that if the pet is in a carrier, it should be allowed.
While others argue that I should take a taxi if I desperately needed to transport my pets – let me just tell you that even taxi drivers refuse to pick up customers with animals. I’m not even talking about my dog; when I got my pet rabbit (who was a Netherland Dwarf, so he was as small as it gets) last year, I was rejected four times before a cab driver took pity on me and said he will drive me.
Singapore has been trying to become more pet friendly in recent years. Guide dogs are now allowed into certain malls, which was a far cry from in the past. Additionally, the Animal and Birds (Amendment) Bill was also read in Parliament in November, in order to strengthen laws governing animal welfare locally.
Labour Member of Parliament Yeo Guat Kwang, who also chairs the Animal Welfare Legislation Review Committee, pushed for the bill in Parliament to strengthen animal welfare legislation in Singapore.
Pets are allowed onto the Tube in London and the Subway in New York. Perhaps this is one area that can be looked into. After all, allowing pets in carriers to be brought onto public transport has been done in many other countries with no ill effect.