‘Panda Chow Chows’, a business venture which allows one to ‘own’ 3 chow-chow dogs for a day for the purposes of photo shoots, corporate events and day rentals has come under heavy criticisms by the dog loving community in Singapore.
The company’s website features the 3 dogs, having had their fur dyed black in various areas to bear remarkable resemblance to panda bears. The owner of the dogs and the company, Meng Jiang, has been taking down many unfavourable comments about the way her dogs are treated on her Facebook.
However, there are a couple still viewable by the public. One Facebooker Yimin Huang commented, “They are not your money making machine. They are family. Treat them right”.
While another, Kai Yuan Tay, commenting on another picture of Meng Jiang parading her dogs in Orchard Road said, “joker in red on road..poor dogs..unnecessary stress”.
Meng Jiang’s husband, Anton Kreil, who was previously featured in BBC television series ‘Million Dollar Trader’. and is a Managing partner in a couple of companies here in Singapore, supported and gave a shout-out for his wife’s business on his Facebook and Twitter.
He said, “Meet the cutest and most adorable dogs in Singapore. The Panda Chow Chows! Toudou (Potato), Yumi (Sweetcorn) and DouDou (Bean). Very proud of my wife Meng Jiang launching her new venture. If you live in Singapore and want to meet the Panda Chow Chows, sign up to the website here…”
The business, Panda Chow Chow, is located in Sentosa. The pictures on social media suggests that some families and couples have taken up the company’s offer to ‘own’ the ‘pandas’ for a day.
Meng Jiang has failed to reply to complaints and feedback by some in the dog-loving community in Singapore. A petition has now been started by the community here calling the dog owners to stop the ill-treatment of panda chow-chows.
The petition is addressed to MP for Nee Soon GRC and founder of animal welfare group ACRES (Animal Research Concerns and Education Society), Louis Ng, as well as to the government body Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore.
The petition said, “Cosmetic bodily alterations are I’m certain, really good fun; and should overall improve the subject’s outward appearance, and his/her sense of self. However, save the extreme modifications and parades for the pageants, and keep animals out of it.”
It further lists why it is wrong to treat dogs in this manner.
“1. There is no way to ensure the safety of the dogs from prolonged and extensive use of animal dye.
Understandably so, the ‘animal hair dye’ used for the ‘panda aesthetic’ of the dogs has been cleared with the relevant authorities (CTFAS). However, it is also important to note that ‘animal dye’ isn’t a hundred percent safe, and the subject is still an ongoing debate by relevant authorities and international animal rights groups world-wide. While ‘non-bleach formulas’ or ‘vegetable dyes’ have been given the go-ahead by local authorities, the commercialisation of these animals means repeated and long-term exposure to these chemicals to maintain their appearances. The accompanying harmful effects have no need for further discussion. It is also important to note that the dye typically takes 15 minutes for the colour to set in their fur. Dogs frequently lick their fur, and any consumption of the dye, regardless of how ‘non-toxic’ it might be; will become dangerous, if not fatal for the dogs.
2. Part of the ‘panda aesthetic’, are enlarged black circles around both the eyes.
No amount of ‘non-toxicity’ is going to prevent the risk of damage to the eyes from the chemicals present in the fur dye, no matter how ‘organic’ they may be. I do not need to explain the harmful effects of their repeated exposure, in the course of their commercialisation.
3. Dogs are domesticated animals; and the beauty of their species also presents itself in the intimate and private relationships they make with their owners, and the familiar environments they learn to call home.
Simply put, being subject to new ‘owners’ on a daily basis, and getting taken to new environments without the presence of their actual owners; is going to place them under extremely stressful conditions. This in turn affects their psychological well-being drastically. And in their case of being utilised to provide a service, it is called ‘exploitation’. While there are no immediate symptoms of emotional stress, dogs are unable to communicate their distress to their owners for obvious reasons. Only under severe circumstances, do they manifest with extreme behavioural reactions.”
The petition acknowledges that there is no clause under the ‘Animal And Birds Act’ which disallows the dyeing of animal fur, but states that the “commercialisation of the 3 Chow Chows and their repeated exposure to foreign chemicals especially around the eye area, is a cause for serious concern”.
The petition has over 450 signatures at the time of this report. It calls for Ms Meng Jiang to “recognise the serious health risks she is putting her dogs through, and stops her hazardous practice as soon as possible”.