fur-bu­lous hang­outs

Pets (Singapore) - - Contents -

Check out our lat­est lineup of new prod­ucts. Plus, we delve into the lo­cal pet cafe scene to find the rea­sons be­hind their trick­ling num­bers.

One thing that sparks our envy when we travel abroad: the sight of dog own­ers with furkids in tow. “In France and Switzer­land, pets are al­lowed into malls and restau­rants— no ques­tions asked,” ob­serves Shan­non

Loh, paw-rent of a Golden Re­triever. “In Singapore, there’re only a hand­ful of pet­friendly cafes and not many restau­rants al­low dogs, even in the out­door area.” It’s a sen­ti­ment that’s echoed by many dog own­ers. Hence, we dig a lit­tle deeper to find out the chal­lenges be­hind mak­ing Singapore’s F&B scene more pet-friendly.

In or­der for an F&B es­tab­lish­ment to le­git­i­mately ac­com­mo­date furkids (both in­doors and/or out­doors), the Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment Agency (NEA) re­quires ea­ter­ies to ap­ply for a Food Shop (Pets Al­lowed) Li­cence, which costs $195 a year. “The ap­pli­ca­tion process was not easy as we had to make sure all our food han­dlers un­der­went a ba­sic hygiene course. Ad­di­tion­ally, our kitchen de­sign needed to ad­here to NEA reg­u­la­tions,” shares a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Les Amis group, which owns pet-friendly Casa Verde at Singapore Botanic Gar­dens.

The afore­men­tioned reg­u­la­tions in­clude the sep­a­ra­tion of hu­man and pet food prepa­ra­tion/stor­age ar­eas, as well as uten­sils and crock­ery. These cafes are also not al­lowed to house resident pets. At the end of ev­ery work­day, the en­tire cafe has to be wiped down and dis­in­fected.

One reg­u­la­tion that’s met with much con­tention and of­ten flouted by paw-rents is the leash­ing of dogs within these cafes. “Many pet own­ers are un­aware that the NEA re­quires dogs to be leashed at all times, even in li­censed pet-friendly cafes, so we’ve had dif­fi­culty com­ply­ing with this rule with­out of­fend­ing cus­tomers,” says Dave Lim, di­rec­tor of Sun Ray Cafe. This rule, ad­mit­tedly, is a killjoy for paw-rents who pa­tro­n­ise pet-friendly cafes with the aim of so­cial­is­ing their pups.

De­terred by the red tape, a num­ber of

F&B es­tab­lish­ments con­fess that they don’t have the li­cence but still al­low an­i­mals in their al fresco area. “While we are happy to ac­com­mo­date pet own­ers and their pooches in the out­door area dur­ing off-peak hours, the strin­gent cri­te­ria re­quired to at­tain the li­cence isn’t worth the has­sle,” shares the owner of an eatery that wel­comes pets in their al fresco area but doesn’t have the Food Shop (Pets Al­lowed) Li­cence.

While most pet own­ers we spoke to wish that lo­cal au­thor­i­ties would loosen the rules, there is a caveat. “Dogs I’ve seen overseas are gen­er­ally well-be­haved. I be­lieve if pawrents make more ef­fort to teach their furkids man­ners, we might pos­si­bly see a fu­ture where pets are wel­come in most restau­rants here,” says Shan­non.

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