SINGAPORE: New licensing rules for pet shops kicked in on Wednesday.
The new rules prevent those under 16 from buying a cat, dog or rabbit from a pet shop, unless they are accompanied by their parents or legal guardians.
Some pet shop owners expect business to fall by about 15 per cent in the short term.
But they also believe the rules could spell good news in the long run.
Chua Ser Kang, director of Sam’s Pet & Aquarium, said: "Those who can will care for the pet long-term and that's good for our business. They have to feed it and expenses will also go up, and this means more business for us."
Several other pet shop customers Channel NewsAsia spoke to also welcomed the move.
A six-month grace period for the new rules will last till June 30, 2014.
In response to queries, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority said it will take enforcement action against pet retailers who do not comply with the new rules after the period.
This includes imposing fines with composition amounts of S$500.
Repeat offenders may have their licenses suspended or revoked.
The Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said it is in favour of the new conditions.
But it feels the six-month grace period should be shortened to three months.
Corrine Fong, executive director of SPCA, said: "We hope that the proprietors get their act together and get started on counselling, interviewing and making sure the parents or the legal guardians understand their role in this whole thing. But it's simply not just enough for the pet shops to have done their part, parents need to understand."
Pet shops also have to screen older potential customers on their suitability to own a dog, cat or rabbit, before selling them one. - CNA/gn
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