tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)TOA PAYOH VETS

Date:   06 July, 2009  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pig & rabbits.


tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)An intern learns how to bathe a puppy with diarrhoea. She needs to pony-tail her long hairs to do work.

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Daddy's Internet Beagle  
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Case written: 2 Nov 2004
06 July, 2009

Beagle puppies 6 weeks old,"You need a pet shop licence to sell puppies in Singapore," the home breeder said. "The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) officers scan the Straits Times Advertisements daily. They masquerade as prospective buyers.  They phone you and soon you will be in jail for being an illegal operator!"

"Going to jail for selling a few puppies?" I stared at him and clasped my hands together at the thought of Singapore being a police state.  I had just returned from five years of university education in Britain and knew little about the powers of authorities. 
"Do the government officers really have so much time to pose as puppy buyers? Do they really do that?" I asked the home breeder who produced good quality puppies for sale to feed and clothe his family as his salary as a condominium guard was less than a thousand dollars a month.

"I can't imagine the government officers handcuffing and escorting a mom-and -pop operator to jail for selling puppies from the home."
Saddest looking Beagles for sale,
The home breeder furrowed his forehead and flicked off the dirt from his puppies. He was wasting his breadth on an ignoramus.   

I said, "Is the AVA so over-staffed? Is home breeding and subsequent selling of dogs an offence?  Must the home breeder sell furtively since he could not advertise in the newspapers?" 

"A pet shop licence costs $300 per year," the home breeder elaborated. "If home breeders are allowed to flourish, the AVA would lose their licensing revenue and would not be able to survive."    
"The tight pet shop regulations stifle any home start ups and are at odds with the politicians announcement to encourage enterpreneurship," I said. "How about selling puppies over the internet? Would the AVA officers pounce on the internet Seller at the click of a mouse?"  

The home breeder wrinkled his eye brows. He did not know what I was talking about. He was selling puppies and not mouse.

"By mouse, I mean the thing used to connect the internet surfer to the computer" I explained. "Surely, you don't need a pet shop licence to sell puppies on a web page?"  

I continued, "Your son has graduated from the Polytechnic and should be able to help out." 

His son was not that keen to help the father.  He had too many activities with friends.  Besides he did not have a digital camera to take digital images which are an essential component of the internet marketing of puppies.  Anyway, he would have to enlist for National Service full-time. 

The home breeder was in his late forties. His generation avoided the technological advances of the internet. The concept of a virtual pet shop was alien.

It was too much to learn a new technique and too costly.

Singapore's webmasters cost too much and the small operators, though providing cheap internet services are seldom in business long. 

It was hard for the older breeder to consider the internet marketing of puppies as a long term business strategy. 

"Why not put up a picture of your Beagles over the internet?" I asked the breeder.  " A picture is worth a thousand words.  The sadder the Beagles look, the more attractive they are to Beagle lovers."  His four puppies really looked glum and that meant they were attractive.  

The pictures were put on the internet. He got a prospective Buyer within 7 days.  The Buyer liked one of his Beagles because it had more white colour than the others he saw at the pet shops. 

There was one condition. The breeder had to keep the Beagle for four weeks on behalf of the Buyer as his child was studying for her Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE).  The PSLE is a very important turning point in a 12-year-old as getting excellent grades mean going to the top schools such as Raffles Institution and Raffles Girls School.  A puppy would distract her from her studies. 
For sale. Beagle puppies from Singapore, 9668-6468
The Internet Beagle was to be a surprise present from a doting father.

"No," the breeder replied. "I don't mind keeping for one week.  Puppies sometimes do get infected and die. I don't want the problems."  A keen Buyer who was ready to put his money down.  A successful internet contact.  But now, we have an inflexible Seller.  

So close to closing a sale and yet so far.  Would the Beagle die so easily? 

The Internet Beagle would make a happy surprise from a father for a PSLE daughter. He would be much loved and would go to a good home. 

Every breeder wants good homes for their puppies as they see them as their own children. This buyer, from his background, would be able to provide a very good and loving home.

Beagle going to new home

The Buyer had nobody to care for the puppy for the next four weeks.  Now, we have to walk away from a deal.  What should I suggest?  Mind my own business?

Yet, I know this Beagle would get a good home after talking to the Buyer.  He was a professor in the Business University. I knew that the Beagle would have a good home.  It was unlikely that the puppy would be abandoned to the humane shelter after one year as the professor had done his research and read up a lot on Beagles.  He would be much loved by the PSLE girl and family members.

There was only one solution. I checked his health. He was fine. I agreed to look after him for the PSLE girl. The Beagle had no health problems. Two siblings at the pet shop and the breeder developed kennel cough. The disease was not serious and they did recover.  Their growth rate was slowed. For this Beagle, he did not cough as there were no other puppies infecting him with the kennel cough germs. He chewed up things and dug holes in the garden of my house.  When the PSLE were completed, he met the PSLE girl and went to a home full of love.    


All Singapore breeders think that a website is not cost-effective. Nobody will visit a puppy-for-sale website to justify its set up.  Besides, there is a demand from pet shop operators for their puppies.  

Singapore's dog breeders have no problem selling their puppies to the pet shops and therefore have no desire to incur more costs in maintaining a website. However, the prices they get for their high quality puppies are lower than what they can get from overseas.   

Internet prospects prefer to check the websites at their own convenience and time to qualify the Chihuahua for export sales. Tel: +65 9668-6468, asiahomes.compuppies available before going to see them.  The good Buyers are foreigners who want a certain colour and breed and will be prepared to pay a premium for such quality.  Without the website, it is not possible to reach such Buyers.    

The puppy selling market is intensely competitive as are all retail businesses in a developed Singapore.  Rampant price under-cutting is common but will not sustain the profitability of the breeder's business in the long term.  Puppy-selling regulations introduced regularly to protect the interest of the public and the welfare of animals jack up costs.   

Instead of thinking ways and means to contain and cut costs, building a website to display your top quality puppies regularly is mandatory for survival in the long term.  

Internet marketing is one avenue to generate more business if you have products in demand and if you breed top quality puppies.  There is less reliance on the price-sensitive Singaporean Buyer and pet shop operators who invariably presses down your puppy prices.  

The website enables the Singapore canine breeder to globalise without having to spend money to set up brick and mortar shops overseas.  It is beyond the scope of this article to explain how a website can generate more business or build up the brand name of the breeder. 

The Internet Beagle is 6 years old in 2009

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