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Date:   05 September, 2008
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters & rabbits
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Illegal Dogs in the HDB residences
 Cocker Spaniel

Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS

Must the Cocker Spaniel live like a canine fugitive in the HDB apartment?

Sep 1, 2008 

Since I am advising an old acquaintance who had just adopted a homeless Cocker Spaniel, I would like to document my advices to share with other Cocker Spaniel owners in Singapore. Those who may be harbouring an "illegal canine fugitive" in the HDB (Housing Development Board) residential apartments.    

In the past, it was eviction for the owner of the HDB apartment who is considered a "lessee" bound by the HDB's rules and regulations or getting rid of the dog soon as the AVA refused to grant a dog license. Frequently, it is death to the Cocker Spaniel as nobody wants the grown up dogs.  

For some reasons I cannot understand, the HDB's list of approved dogs exclude the English and American Cocker Spaniel which is not a big breed of dog. Nowadays, I have feedback from some clients that some HDB Town Council officers are kinder and would approve of this breed in HDB residential apartments. 

If you want to keep a Cocker Spaniel legally in the HDB apartment, do the following before you get your dog licence from the AVA.
1. Get a letter from your veterinarian stating the weight and height of the dog. 

2. Make an appointment to meet the Town Council Officer in charge. Discuss with him regarding the legal status of your Cocker Spaniel. Showing him the letter from your veterinarian stating the height and weight of your Cocker Spaniel.
3. If the Town Council approves the breed, get a letter of approval from the Town Council. 

4. To get the dog licence from the AVA, post the following to the AVA:
4.1  Letter of approval from the Town Council if your dog.  

4.2  Photocopy of the owner's NRIC Identity Card.

4.3  Dog licence application form.

4.4  Dog microchip form endorsed by the veterinarian (not the puppy seller or breeder). 

4.5  An "original" veterinary certificate of sterilisation if relevant, to be eligible for the $14.00 licence fee. Otherwise the fee is $70.00.  

4.6 A cheque payable to the "AVA".  $14.00 for a dog before 5 months of age of either gender. $70.00 for an unsterilised dog of either gender. 
4.6 Send above by registered post.

5. You can do it on the AVA website, going to

Some of my clients complain that they don't get prompt response. Most likely they had not supplied the necessary documents (4.1 to 4.5). They may need to scan in the documents and part of the documentation may be missing. Therefore, it is difficult to expect prompt replies for non-compliance. However, some clients who posted letters to the AVA get their cheques returned for non-compliance of the above terms and conditions for a dog licence.  

Remember that the latest rule as at Sep 2008 is that you pay only $14.00 if you apply for the dog licence before the puppy is 5 months of age. After that it will be $14.00 if the dog is sterilised but $70.00 if not.

Cocker Spaniels are popular with Singaporeans but since some 80% of the population lives in HDB apartments, there has had been a lot of sadness when Cocker Spaniels need to be "evicted" due to some outdated laws prohibiting Cocker Spaniels from living in HDB apartments. Some Cocker Spaniels that cannot be re-homed are abandoned as they have been found out as "illegal tenants" living in the HDB residences since the AVA willnot grant the dog owner a dog licence.    


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All rights reserved. Revised: September 05, 2008
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