You can knock down a cat in S’pore and get away with it. But you must help if it’s a dog.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) rejected suggestions from animal activists to include more animals in the Road Traffic Act yesterday.
As reported by Channel News Asia, among one of the recommendations made by the Animal Welfare Legislation Review Committee was to make the definition of animals in the Road Traffic Act the same as the Animals and Birds Act, which defines an animal as any mammal (other than man) or fish and includes any other living creature.
The reason why MHA rejected the recommendation?
The ministry said that it is not always safe for motorists to stop after hitting an animal.
Currently, only animals – described by activists with farm value – such as dogs, horses, goats, among others are in the Road Traffic Act.
Motorists who knocked down such animals have to stop and help the animal. Failure to do so is a crime and motorists could face a $3,000 fine or jail term of up to a year.
However, other animals such as cats, birds and rabbits are not included. Yes, that means you can get away with knocking down a cat.
Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) founder Louis Ng summed up the perplexing situation quite perfectly.
He told Channel News Asia:
“It would seem inconsistent that cruelty to a cat and other animals defined in the Animals and Birds Act is illegal, however, if you run over one, you do not need to stop to provide assistance. Both pieces of legislation should be in sync,” he said.