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Buying Pets on Impulse

Updated on June 20, 2018

Abandonment of pets has been on the rise in recent years in Singapore. Every month, the SPCA takes in up to 400 abandoned or unwanted pets. This includes rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, cats and dogs.

Buying pets on impulse is believed to be a major cause for the astonishing increase in pet abandonment. Some people do not think about the responsibilities when getting a pet. They just feel like having a pet and bought one home on a whim, sometimes for luck.


Singapore trend

There is a trend in Singapore of people buying pets for auspicious reasons. For example, last year 2011 was the Year of the Rabbit. Many people will buy rabbits as pets in the hope that the furry animals can bring them luck. For this year’s Dragon Year, the chinchilla is the favourite because it is called “dragon cat” in Chinese. Same thing will happen for the Year of the Rat, Year of the Dog, and so forth.

As these pets were not bought out of love for them, the likelihood of their being abandoned is very high when the novelty wears off. Some owners treat their pets like the unwanted rubbish in their house, and which are to be dumped at the year-end spring cleaning.


Abandonment of pets

The problem of buying pets on impulse seems particularly acute for rabbits. This is most probably due to the wrong assumption that the small animals are low-maintenance starter pets for children.

However, upon realizing that they need to spend time and efforts in taking care of the rabbits, these owners take the easy way out by dumping them out of the house.

Unwanted pet rabbits were often found in cages along HDB common corridors, void decks, parks, and even car parks. Many of them were in poor condition, with problems like matted fur and fur mites, and without proper food and water for days.

Over 1,000 rabbits are dumped at SPCA every year. Sad to say, most of them have to be euthanized because of limited accommodation space.

The number of unwanted pedigree dogs has also reached an alarming level in 2007, when 1,521 pedigrees were received by the SPCA. In January 2008 alone, the intake of lost or unwanted pedigrees by SPCA was 125.

Incidentally, animal abuse has also seen an increase in recent years. In 2010, there were 933 cases of alleged abuse received and investigated by the SPCA.

Education programmes and pet shows

In recent years, there are a number of education programmes and pet care shows being conducted, aiming to educate the public on responsible pet ownership and animal abuse. These are conducted by the Agri-Food and Veterinarian Authority of Singapore (AVA), SPCA and other animal welfare groups.

Hopefully, the number of abandoned pets and animal abuse cases will be reduced when more individuals learn the right attitude in treating and caring for animals.

Note: Cruelty to animals, including abandonment, is a crime and punishable by law in Singapore.

© 2010 pinkytoky


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    • pinkytoky profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Singapore

      Hi landscapeartist - I agree fully with what you said.

    • landscapeartist profile image

      Roberta McIlroy 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Buying on impulse isn't ever a good idea for anyone. The pets are the ones that suffer the most because they are the ones that don't get the love and attention that a caring owner would provide.

      Impulse buying doesn't include the actual desire and dedication that is needed to extend throughout the life of that pet. You need that to build a relationship with that animal.

      Anyone who doesn't really want to have a pet, and hasn't thoroughly thought it through, is just going to end up neglecting the animal, letting it starve or worse.

      Rabbits are the ones that suffer the most, next to dogs. People buy rabbits, or puppies for their kids but over time regret doing so. That is mostly because they never wanted it themselves.

    • pinkytoky profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Singapore

      ajlion1114 - Thanks for the meaningful comments.

    • ajlion1114 profile image


      9 years ago

      I agree. Think buying any animal on impulse (unless the animal is in a life-threatening situation) is not a good idea.

      People do tend to buy rabbits for their children thinking that they are good starter pets but I disagree. Rabbits are picky about clean/fresh food and bedding and I think children are inclined to forget this which is just plain mean. More importantly, rabbit are shy, fragile animals and children are by nature (and depending on their age) loud, hyper, and a little bit clumsy. I can see the rabbit getting easily traumatized by a kid who was just being a kid.


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