Retired sniffer dogs can now be rehomed in HDB flats

Starting in June this year, dog handlers from the Home Team and the military will be allowed to keep their ex-sniffer dogs in HDB flats, despite the size and breed of these dogs.
By Latasha Seow
Published on Friday, 12 May 2017

As part of a year-long pilot scheme, dog handlers who live in public housing will be allowed to adopt their sniffer dogs after they’ve retired. This issue arose when many handlers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force K-9 units, the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Military Working Dog Unit expressed interest in adopting their loyal canines, but were unable to do so because of the size and breed of the dogs that were not allowed in HDB flats.


Under this new pilot, dog breeds such as Labradors, English Springers, Cocker Spaniels and English Pointers will be allowed to be rehomed in HDB flats. After a year, the Ministry of National Development will conduct a review to assess whether this initiative should be opened up to dogs of other breeds. Officers who want to adopt their dogs will still be screened. Their pooches will also be microchipped to prevent them from being abandoned.


Project Adore, which was started back in 2012, was an initiative launched to assess the acceptance of mixed-breed dogs that were up to 15kg in weight and 50cm in length in public housing estates. From the results of this initiative, it was observed that residents were generally receptive to having these dogs around, as long as owners behave responsibly and proper channels for mediating a dispute are available. This new pilot is part of an extension of Project Adore.


“They (the handlers) train and work with their dogs on a daily basis, have developed close bonds with them, and are experienced in managing these well-trained dogs. These dogs have also contributed to Singapore’s safety and security while on active duty,” explained the ministries of National Development, Home Affairs and Defence in a joint statement when asked why they are trying out letting the handlers adopt their dogs.


Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister of Defence, welcomed the change, saying that  it ensures responsible owners and appropriate living conditions for these dogs. On average, these dogs would have spent around eight years serving the nation as SAF guard dogs, or sniffer dogs that conduct bomb sweeps during large scale events like the National day Parade.

Hopefully, this pilot scheme will bring about a greater acceptance of these dogs in public housing communities.