Lost & Neglected, Mr White finally gets the medical help he needs

Another neglected dog.

We were alerted to a seemingly lost dog found wandering the streets 3 weeks ago. The dog was in a severely neglected state. He was unkempt, smelly, with very bad skin and overgrown nails. We have since reported the case to AVS and cannot comment while the case is being investigated. We have taken to calling him Mr White while he is in our care.

Even though Mr White might have belonged to someone, our first course of action was to take him to the vet and get him the medical help he obviously needed as we could not leave him in such a bad state. His skin, which was extremely bad, had yeast and bacterial infections, and he also tested positive for ringworms. His ears were also infected and filled with pus. He dribbled pee, likely from prostate nodules which were found during the ultrasound. The nodules could be from previous chronic prostatitis, or from being neutered late. They could also be contributing to a secondary UTI as a urinalysis also showed bacteria in his pee. The ultrasound also showed 2 nodules on his spleen, and some kidney stones. He had badly rotted teeth and 23 teeth were extracted. Those that were left were starting to have root exposure and were very embedded in the jaw. They could not be extracted as there was a risk of fracturing the jaw. X-rays taken of his spine showed narrowing of the thoraco-lumbar intervertebral spaces indicating spinal disease which can only be monitored for now. 

We have spent $5k+ on his vet bills so far. If you can help contribute to Mr White's vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg


Little Richie (owner surrender)

Yet another old dog unwanted and a long suffering one.

The owner didnt want her old dog anymore and asked us to take him away. She had no harness, collar or leash for him, as she had given it away long ago. He hasn’t gone out of the house for years, and hardly goes to the vet. In fact, its been so long, the owner couldn’t even remember the name of the vet clinic. He also hasn’t been showered for eons, and not groomed – his nails were so long, it curled almost full circle and the gunk in his ears literally overflowed from his ear canal.
Hardened by more than a decade of rescuing, I have become quite immune to how wicked some humans can be, although I often wonder how they can look at their dogs in that sad, neglected state day in day out and not feel anything for the poor dog. Have they forgotten the cute puppy they bought years ago, the puppy that brought so much joy to their lives? It’s been years since I’ve shed tears with the rescues but today, the volunteers and I were teary eyed when the small, old dog was given to us in a bag; double bag, just in case.
First thing that hit us was the smell – yeasty smelling. His fur was so long, we couldn’t see his eyes but when he lifted his fringe, his eyes were sunken! It is most likely that he is deaf and blind. His nails were so long, it must have hurt him terribly to even walk. One cant begin to imagine how long he has been suffering to reach this state of neglect.
We rushed him to the vet.

Estimated to be 13 to 14 years old, he is anaemic, some suspicious skin growths, nasal congestion and has difficulty breathing. He is presently on the nebulizer.
We hope he pulls through and be able to live some happy moments with us.

Here’s a summarized list of Richie’s health issues: 

Corneal ulcers in both eyes, he is most likely blind
Severe skin and ear issues, including a bad ear infection
Pending ringworm test
Anemic with mild inflammation
Enlarged internal lymph nodes
Suspicious lesion on chest requiring monitoring
Nasal congestion
Heart murmur detected, requiring scheduling for heart and abdominal ultrasound
temperature slightly high (39.3°C)
Severe disc disease between L3 - L4 of spine
Both lower ribs are floating and in abnormal position - vet reckons he may have been born this way 
        *        severe dental disease with receding gums 
Enlarged heart, recommending an echo ultrasound

If you would like to help save Little Richie, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg or drop us a private message.
Thank you.


The Cemetery Dogs

Mumtaz, a Muslim lady, approached us recently regarding her dedication to feeding stray dogs at a Chinese cemetery. Her commitment to caring for these dogs is truly inspiring. She has been feeding them every night, rain or shine, even during the month of Ramadan since 2009. Mumtaz's compassion extends to breaking her fasts with the dogs, highlighting her selflessness and devotion.

Despite us facing financial constraints with our outstanding vet bills, there was no way we could say no to her plea for help. 

Mumtaz was concerned about one particular dog, Cemetery Datuk (the brown dog), who was experiencing difficulty chewing and eating, prompting her to seek help. Concerned that there might be a dental issue or something stuck in his mouth, especially since they were strays and prone to ingesting various items, she reached out for assistance. Cemetery Datuk's companion, Cemetery Batman (black dog), was also suffering from severe itching, he couldn’t even eat without scratching.

Cemetery Datuk who lives in the Chinese cemetery
His best friend, Cemetery Batman

He had been clawing at the sides of his mouth and the feeder thought something was stuck in his mouth

Feeder was concerned he would get maggot wounds and so asked for help with medical treatment

Moved by Mumtaz's dedication, we agreed to assist both dogs. Trappers were enlisted by her to capture them, and they were taken to our regular vet. Upon examination, it was discovered that Cemetery Datuk had exposed root canals in all four of his canines, making chewing excruciatingly painful. The teeth were severely worn down, with nerves exposed, explaining his discomfort.

Trapped and taken to the vet

We opted to proceed with dental extractions for Cemetery Datuk, removing a total of three broken canines and six small bottom incisors. For Cemetery Batman, the vet diagnosed a yeast infection causing his skin issues and prescribed oral medications, which feeders could administer easily.

 Many of his teeth were worn down and the roots were exposed

Bad yeast infections on Batman

After their procedures, the dogs were returned to the cemetery, and Mumtaz and her feeder friend, Moothi, will monitor their recovery and feed medications. The total bill for their treatment amounted to $1900/-

Cemetery Datuk getting dental at the vet

They love their freedom and will be returned to the cemetery after discharge

We express our gratitude to Mumtaz and others like Moothi for their unwavering dedication and compassion towards these cemetery dogs. Their selfless acts deserve recognition and support.

To contribute towards covering the vet bills for these cemetery dogs, please consider reaching out to hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg or sending us a private message. Together, let's stand behind their kindness and ensure these dogs receive the care they need and deserve.


The horrors of a breeding kennel

A few weeks ago, we went to a breeding kennel again to rescue 4 more dogs; two adults and two handicapped puppies with deformed back legs. 

Bred, used and discarded

It was a disturbing sight.

Hundreds of dogs were kept in small cages, stacked on top of one another, all for the sole purpose of breeding and making money from selling them. And this is just one breeder. Not forgetting, there are MANY breeders in Singapore. 

You cannot even begin to imagine what the dogs have gone through - poor ventilation, lack of proper nutrition, standing on metal grilles all their life, drinking from an algae filled rabbit bottle tied to the cage, never smelling fresh air, never even knowing what sunlight is, never ever seeing their puppies grow up because they were taken away as soon as they turned two months. Before you know it, the mother dog is put back into the cage at the far end of the kennels, waiting for her next heat to mate and make money again. 

Dirty, matted, hip dysplasia 

If you think about it, might well be possible that father is mated with daughter, brother is bred with sister. The thought makes us sick. In humans, it would be called incest. Dogs are no lesser beings than us and definitely more magnanimous than humans. Despite their neglect and sorry life, they still love and trust humans, and are absolutely the sweetest souls, ever so grateful to you for saving them from a life of hell. 

Badly decayed & rotten teeth at just 4 years old 

Badly decayed & rotten teeth at just 4 years old 

Many of these breeding dogs that we rescued, at a young age of 3 or 4, have rotten teeth, receding gums and often require a full mouth extraction. This stems from poor nutrition. Some also have fractured ribs on xray, possibly due to lack of calcium from constantly giving birth. Imagine! How healthy can the puppies be? Yet, suckers continue to buy because puppies are cute. You can imagine our concern if an inexperienced or unprepared owner buys the dog home only to discover these issues. 

Spinal issues / pain from years of standing in a small cage on metal grills

Apart from their physical and emotional abuse, these dogs suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and some take years to overcome, such as fear of walking on leash, or fear of showering because they were jetted with water when workers washed their cages. Some are so fearful to make eye contact because they have not been socialized.

The two handicapped puppies that we took out, are a mere 3 months old, with back legs so deformed, they look like mermaids. What would have happened if we hadn't taken them out? Kept for breeding? Produce more handicapped puppies? Or sold at a low price to an unwitting buyer. We shudder to think.

So, don't call yourself a dog lover if you know what goes on behind closed doors, and yet buy a puppy.

Paris, an ex=breeding dog, on the day of her rescue 

By the way, a registered breeder does not equate to being humane or ethical in our view. In the first place, we question the morality of keeping dogs in cages and forcing them to reproduce.

About tightening breeding rules; we all know enforcing rules is the biggest challenge. Behind closed doors lie the possibility of terror and the unknown.  Our next question: how many inspectors are out there to ensure the breeding dogs and puppies needs are met adequately, that pups are given vet checks when they look ill, and in-breeding is not carried out? We have vaccination cards of these ex-breeding dogs, the stated breed was incorrect and even the birthdate was questionable. 

Badly matted fur and skin problems

Our other concern - what is going to happen to the many many breeding animals who have to be retired by the age of 6 years old, and the specifically bred pets who can't be sold? Remember, the breeding farms are businesses prioritizing money over welfare, so space, time and costs are a prime concern. Unsold dogs become a liabilty. 

Puppy mills are legal. They are allowed. But, that does not make it right.

Which brings us to our next point. 

With the rising number of animal abuse cases, why is there still no tightening of the laws on abuse, neglect and abandonment? A person who is fined and jailed for abusing an animal can serve his sentence, go out and buy a dog, and abuse again? 

The left front paw and hind legs are deformed, from poor breeding.

Not only are our animal welfare laws lax, it is also upsetting that our regulator is slow to take enforcement action. Small animal welfare groups like us end up saving these grossly neglected dogs like Caitlyn  and Archie, spending thousands on their medical treatments when perhaps their sufferings could have been avoided if stricter laws were in place. 

Too fearful to even make eye contact

And increasingly, it seems to be the case of people no longer willing to take care of their pets when they reach advanced age, neglecting them, or surrendering them to a shelter and taking the easy way out because it is cheaper to buy a puppy than to pay vet bills for an older dog. 

Dirty. Smelly. Fearful. Neglected.

Just look at our rescue stories over the past 2 years.

So, on the upstream, we have breeders churning out puppies, and downstream, enforcement officers and animal groups like us have to deal with the aftermath.

Current efforts are not good enough.


Archie (owner surrender)

Just weeks after our shocking rescue of the grossly neglected CCK dog, now named Caitlyn, we rescued another dog from similar circumstances!!

When will there be stricter laws and penalties for such gross neglect? And, why do we still allow puppy mills ,given the worrying spike in such neglected cases?

An acquaintance, a housing agent, had visited a HDB flat for viewing and saw this dejected dog lying in the corner of a filthy enclosure. She sent us a photo of the dog and asked if we could help. Like Caitlyn’s story, all it took was one person’s initiative, to change the life of a fellow living being. 

The photo we received from the housing agent.

We found out that this little Pom passed through many hands. Owner died, passed Pom to his son, who then passed away in his 50s. Pom was passed to another brother to care for. This brother obviously wasn’t into dogs so he did the minimal. He fed the dog daily, but didn’t bother to clean the enclosure, leaving the poor sweet Pom to lie in years of poop. 5 years, to be exact, after the other brother passed on. 

Just so happy to be patted

After some discussion, the uncle finally agreed for us to visit the dog and take him away. When we got to the house, we could smell strong antiseptic. As we entered the house, we realized he had mopped the entire house with Dettol, except the enclosure. Was it another case of trying to remove evidence? We can't even begin to imagine how someone could live with that stench.

Dirty, smelly and badly matted. We wondered when his last bath was.

After chatting for a while, he agreed that we could take the dog to the vet. The dog was so, so smelly, and his fur was so badly matted that we imagined the vet clinic was going to take another few hours to shave him and discard their shavers again. We noticed he was not sterilized and his testicles were hard and swollen, causing him much pain. The dog will be going for a surgery as we write this. 

On the way to the vet, the grateful doggy kept licking the volunteer’s face, thanking her for coming to his rescue.

Hardened and painful testicles

He was so badly matted, his fur was literally peeling off his skin

Ears filled with discharge

Archie's paw!

We have named him Archie. He is not licensed and not microchipped – so there is no way to pin the blame. Animal welfare laws are really lax in Singapore. 

You're safe now, Archie <3

If you can do the following, please get in touch with us - hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg or drop us a private message.

Help Archie by sharing his post / helping with his vet bills / adopting him.


First Rescue of 2024 - Russell (owner surrender)

Twelve years together ain’t a short time. How does one have the heart to say goodbye or, even worse, leave behind a companion after more than a decade together? Such is the life of Russell, a 13-year-old mixed silky terrier who was surrendered to us by his family due to financial difficulties. 

A sad dog left behind by his owner 

Russell was adopted by his then-family when he was only 1-year-old. As the family expanded over the years, his family was plagued with financial difficulties and could no longer afford his medical treatments. His last vet visit was, in fact, four years ago in December 2019. To make matters more complicated, one of the four children in the family is allergic to pet fur. 

He was eventually left behind with the elderly parents-in-law when the family moved out a year ago. But didn’t it occur to them that their parents were getting old too, and it just wasn’t fair that the entire caretaking responsibility was on them now? It’s a relief that the owners reached out to us as they could no longer turn a blind eye to his health condition. 

We brought Russell to the vet last week for a review. He weighs 5.9 kg (which is a good weight to maintain) and the most obvious problem he has is severe dermatitis. It is one of the more severe cases we have seen. There are bacterial infections all over his body, causing his skin to be itchy, red and flaky. It was so bad that he could barely open his eyes. He was given an anti-itch cytopoint injection, and his foster will be using the prescribed mousse and shampoo on him weekly till the symptoms subside. He was also tested positive for ringworms.  

Bacterial and fungal infection on his skin. Redness all over

His eyes, ears and teeth weren't spared either. His eyesight seems fine but would need eye drops three times a day due to dryness. Both his ears are down with infection, but they have been cleaned at the vet. Ear drops were also dispensed for use. 

Ear infection

Eyes that show no glimmer of hope and nails so long they curled sideways

Poor dental health was in a way expected but we didn’t expect it to be so bad. There are two tiny holes in his gums and he will likely need a gum repair surgery and extraction in months to come.

Dental disease, holes in his gums

There was also a small lump observed on his tail but it shouldn’t be an issue and we will arrange for it to be removed during his dental appointment. 

Lump on the tail

Moving on to better news… his joints seem okay in general with good muscle mass and he walks pretty well! The sad thing is his nails were so overgrown that it must have been painful for him to walk long distances. But then again, we wonder… he was not taken out for daily walks 🙁

Overgrown nails

His blood works came back okay overall; there were no issues with his liver despite his age and health conditions. He does have mild anemia but we believe that would improve with dedicated care moving forward. The next step would be ultrasound to check on his heart as he has a grade 4 (out of 6) heart murmur. 

Russell has been nothing but sweet during all these health checks and our time with him. He has a very mild temperament and is food motivated. He’s currently staying with a foster whom kindly came forward when we were seeking help. 

We are sharing his story not to blame or flame anyone but it really saddens us to see this sweet, senior dog in this state due to neglect. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to think and plan carefully when you decide to get a pet. Having a pet is a lifetime commitment, not one you can simply dismiss due to circumstances in life. We don’t know how long his recovery journey will take and if it’d be an arduous one. But we are determined to nurse him back to health, and find him a nice and loving family that he so deserves, and spend his twilight years in. 

If you would like to find out more about adopting Russell, please fill in this non-obligatory form (https://goo.gl/forms/ia4w4IlWYk) and we will be in touch. Or if you would like to contribute to his vet bills, please drop us an email at hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg. With your support, we can help Russell find a second chance in life ♥️

Russell getting a second chance in life
(photo courtesy of foster)


The Choa Chu Kang Dog From Street 62

It was close to dinner time on 30 Jan, and a volunteer pinged us to share news about an abused dog on Mothership  https://mothership.sg/2024/01/dog-abuse-hdb-flat-choa-chu-kang/. You could imagine our concern when we read that SPCA visited the unit and failed to get the dog out. So, we decided to save the dog. Call it bravery or simply foolish.

Every minute counts when it comes to rescue work. Images of the matted dog gave us the strength to act. After dinner and within an hour,  we gathered a handful of volunteers at the block.  We rummaged about the rubbish dump in case we find a carcass of the dog. There we saw discarded pee trays similar to the ones in the Mothership article. We went from floor to floor looking for a gate that resembled the picture in the article. Thankfully, we did not have to climb too many floors.

The door was open with clothes and stuff strewn across the hall, just like we saw in the news article. But, there was no dog, and the floor was clean. We called out and a lady came out from the bedroom.

Us: Where's your dog?
Lady: She's showering.

Us: We came to help the dog.
Lady: She's showering.

We said we would wait. All this while during the conversation, the lady stood afar at the bedroom door while we were outside her gate. We told her to give us the dog because her story is all over the media and she is going to get into a lot of trouble. She said: "I don't even know who you are".

She asked us which group we represented. We gave her our mobile number and showed her Hope's Facebook page. She scrolled through the pages while we waited. When she came across one of our volunteer's photo, she looked up and seemed convinced we were legit.

It was 10pm+. Again, she said the dog was in a shower. There is a certain irony here, of course.

She appeared hesitant about giving the dog to us, so we reminded her that she could get into trouble with the law. Suddenly, the lady told us to get coffee somewhere. We assumed that meant she would hand over the dog to us. We persisted in waiting in case she gets rid of the dog.

We hung around the unit. In the midst of waiting, an RC member showed up, took our photos, but did not identify herself until we spoke to her. She refused to say much except that she had to report to her boss. 

After nearly 2 hours of waiting and close to midnight, the lady of the unit appeared at the door with the dog wrapped in a wet towel. Two young men came out with her. Poor dog, why the sudden need to bathe and shave in the middle of the night after years of neglect! Obviously, she was getting rid of all the evidence of neglect. This is why we must reach the dog fast; time is of the essence.

We left quickly after she surrendered the dog to us, before she changed her mind.

Once we reached the void deck, we used spare towels we brought along to wipe the poor trembling dog and covered her from the cold. Despite her bath, you cannot imagine the stench. Brown liquid was also flowing out of her ears.  

As the dog was stable, we took the dog back to a volunteer's house for the night. It was past midnight and several 24-hour hospitals we called, were either short of staff or busy with emergencies which required us to wait 3-4 hours. 

She barked a few times throughout the night, probably from fear and confusion of being in a strange environment but when we patted her, she would fall back to sleep.

The next morning, we brought the dog to the vet, and also updated AVS. Everyone gasped when they saw the dog. She looked like a scene out of a horror movie. We speculate it would take years of neglect to reach this state. Her eyes were covered with furs stuck with thick layers of faeces. Medical staff took almost 3 hours to clean the horrible huge tangles on her fur, and discarded 3 shavers in the process. The dog was expressionless on the vet's table, resigned to her fate.

How did all this unraveled?

The reader who tipped off Mothership gave us an account of her story. 

She was on community work at the block on 27 Jan, and came across the unit. Dog chained to the gate kept barking. Aghast at the cruelty, she contacted AVS, the MP, and the media the next day desperate to get help. The stars were aligned when Mothership released the story on 30 Jan so that we could get to the dog. 

Clearly, the neglect of Caitlyn has been ongoing for a long period of time. Apparently, the neighbours are aware and told the Mothership reader this has been happening for some time. It surprises us that the neighbours could put up with it at all, and that the RC did not get wind of it. 

Come to think of it, we are surprised that AVS did not seize the dog immediately considering that the dog was in a vulnerable position. Only AVS and the police have power to take legal action in cruelty cases.  The dog was neither microchipped or licensed.

We don't mean to brag but we are extremely impressed by our team of volunteers who responded so quickly late into the night, negotiated with the owner for hours, and having to resume work the next day. We are proud of what Hope has achieved despite being a small group, and for saving this sweet dog whom we have named Caitlyn.

This is another sad statistic to add to our stack of animal abuse cases. Coincidentally, it was the very same day that SPCA released its 2023 annual report, highlighting a spike in animal cruelty investigations that hit an 11-year high. 

For a long time, animal welfare groups have been calling for tougher sanctions against offenders. 

Will it happen now?

Caitlyn weighs a mere 3.3kg, half of what a normal Shih Tzu would weigh. Presently warded at the clinic, her vitals are stable, but she has mange and we are waiting for her ringworm results. Vet estimates her to be about 10 years old or lesser.  We will arrange a heart and abdomen ultrasound because she has a heart murmur. More details about her medical condition will be posted in the next few days.

If you can foster Caitlyn, or help with her vet bills, please drop us a private message on Facebook or email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg. We need all the help we can get.

Caitlyn will be available for adoption later. 

Investigations are ongoing.