More set up animal welfare groups

SINGAPORE - Suffering from poor health, a skin infection and malnourishment, Tinkerbelle was in a bad shape when it was rescued from a puppy mill.

Shocked by its dishevelled state, Ms Marie Choo decided to foster the three-year-old Shetland sheepdog.

Saving Tinkerbelle in 2011 inspired her to begin volunteering at dog shelters and to eventually co-found a dog welfare organisation, Dogs Owners Guidance Support (D.O.G.S).

Ms Choo, who is in her 30s and is the founder and director of Alchemy Consultancy, a public relations, events and marketing company, said: "I was guilty of buying my first dog from a pet shop.

"After volunteering at animal shelters and learning about the horrors of puppy mills, I was gradually inspired to start my own group and help more dogs. I didn't want to join existing organisations and simply donate money."

Like her, others have started their own animal welfare groups, resulting in a proliferation of such organisations.

Mr Ricky Yeo, who founded Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD) in 2000, thinks the number has risen from fewer than five in 2000 to more than 15 this year.

Part of the reason is that the rise of social media has made it easier for many animal lovers to set up and publicise their own organisations.

They also operate differently from traditional animal rescue groups.

For starters, many do not own a physical shelter for the dogs they rescue. Instead, volunteers temporarily foster them until a permanent owner is found. Most are also self-funded.

D.O.G.S, for example, which started last year, is a non-profit organisation that helps shelters and individual dog rescuers find adopters for abandoned or stray dogs. It publicises the adoption drives mainly through its Facebook page.

In its recent adoption drive The Kindness Project, D.O.G.S successfully rehomed eight dogs in 10 days.

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