The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) has issued a warning letter to a home owner who had suspended a live mynah from a string from his window to scare the bird after it defecated in his Yishun home.
The AVA investigated the incident after it was flagged by the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), which had responded to a call reporting the incident in November last year. ACRES had also shared a video on its Facebook page showing the hung mynah.
Responding to queries, the AVA said the mynah had flown into a flat and defecated inside.
“The home owner caught the mynah and suspended it outside a window by its tied legs, in an attempt to scare the mynah,” said an AVA spokesperson. “The home owner had intended to release the mynah.”
According to ACRES, the father of the caller who reported the case to ACRES’s Animal Crime Investigation Unit had approached the home owner asking him to release the mynah, but was told to “get lost”. The bird was released after the police were called in.
In its response, the AVA said the public can deter birds from entering homes by ensuring that food and refuse are properly handled and not left out in the open or by installing bird-proofing equipment such as screens or netting on windows.
When contacted, ACRES founder Louis Ng expressed disappointment at the AVA’s “light” response.
“Obviously we had hoped for stronger enforcement (beyond) just letting him off with a warning, especially considering the abuse was intentional,” said Mr Ng, pointing out that the Animals and Birds Act had been amended to take into account incidents of intentional animal cruelty.
Mr Ng, who is also a Member of Parliament for Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency, added that the incident might have psychological repercussions for the bird, and a stronger penalty could have acted as a deterrence to potential animal abusers.
In a Facebook post last Saturday (Mar 5) sharing that the AVA had taken action against the home owner, ACRES also suggested humane ways of scaring birds off, such as by hanging wind chimes, placing scarecrow or predator visuals, and applying non-toxic bird-repellent spray.
“We hope that, through education, people can learn to live in greater harmony with our native birds,” it said in the post.