On August 5, news that a hamster was sandwiched between baskets during a cage cleaning session at Pet Lovers Centre (PLC) concerned members of the public.
Hamster Society Singapore (HSS) called PLC out for their negligent practices in a Facebook post that has since gathered more than 1,300 shares.
PLC: Photograph "fell short of reality"
In response to Mothership's queries, Pet Lovers Centre (PLC) issued a statement and assured HSS that the hamsters have not been harmed in anyway.
The pet shop believes that what was witnessed, as well as the way that the photograph was taken,"fell short of the reality of the situation".
However, PLC have also come up with an enhanced set of protocols following this incident, where hamsters will be housed in dedicated containers during cage cleaning.
The company also provided a step-by-step guide for the entire cleaning process, which you can read in their full statement here:
"We thank you for bringing this matter to our notice. First and foremost, rest assured that the hamsters concerned have not been harmed in any way and continue to be happy and fine. Unfortunately, the way the photograph had been taken as well as what had been personally witnessed fell short of the reality of the situation, which is the fact that there was actually no danger to these hamsters.
Also rest assured that the baskets are only used temporarily to house hamsters while their small animal enclosures are being cleaned, without posing any danger to them. As a matter of fact, these baskets are strong enough to protect the hamsters from harm and coupled with the way they are carefully and safely stacked offer a safe environment to them during this cleaning exercise. Furthermore, the whole activity takes only 15 to 20 minutes, hence there is no possibility of food or water deprivation.
Nevertheless, at PLC, it’s our goal to constantly do better for our pets.
Hence, we have enhanced our protocol as follows, where we will:
- Take out the hamsters from the small animal enclosure and house them into a dedicated container (between 1 ft to 1.5 ft), before the cleaning starts. We will be equipping all our outlets with such suitable containers with a food bowl and water bottle, for the cleaning exercise.
- Take out all the accessories and drinking bottle for cleaning and wash it with just plain water.
- Clean the bed and wipe the tank with a wet cloth and finally sanitize them using Urine off or Byopet, two powerful but gentle cleansers.
- Dry the tank thoroughly before placing a new bed.
- Then put back all accessories along with the food and clean water for the hamsters to resume usage.
- Put hamsters back inside the small animal enclosure.
To ensure compliance, our area supervisors and operations managers will be stepping up their periodic checks on all stores.
We're grateful that you have brought this issue to our attention and we seek everyone’s understanding as we implement our enhanced protocol."
Top image via Hamster Society Singapore/Facebook and H N Mok/Google Maps