50-Year-Old Faces Charges For Keeping 25 Chickens In Pasir Ris HDB

Besides cats, dogs and bunnies, some of the less common animals people keep in their HDB flats include chickens.

On Wednesday (9 Jun), a man who faces accusations for keeping 25 chickens in his Pasir Ris HDB flat had his case heard in court.

25 chickens HDBFor illustration purposes only
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The charges against him include rearing 25 chickens for commercial purposes and distributing them without a licence.

Once convicted, he faces a jail term of up to 12 months and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Man allegedly keeps 25 chickens in HDB flat

On 9 Jul 2020, 50-year-old Eric Woo was accused of rearing 25 chickens in his HDB flat at  Block 275 Pasir Ris Street 21, reports Channel NewsAsia (CNA).

25 chickens HDBSource

In Singapore, keeping more than 10 non-commercial poultry, such as chickens, on any premises is illegal.

Non-commercial poultry refers to poultry:

  • Not kept in a farm or slaughterhouse
  • Not kept for sale in a pet shop
  • Not kept in a licensed research facility.

Other charges Mr Woo faces are rearing the chickens for sale, running an unlicensed farm at his HDB flat, and distributing the fowl without a licence.

Created Facebook group for chicken rearing hobbyists

For the chicken-rearing community in Singapore, Mr Eric Woo’s name probably rings a bell.

In a 2019 interview with Yahoo News Singapore, Mr Woo says he’d been raising pet chickens for more than a decade.

Having founded the Facebook group Fowl Mouthed Family, he hopes to raise awareness on responsible poultry keeping in Singapore.

25 chickens HDBMr Woo and one of his chickens
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Back then, he had 8 ornamental chickens as pets.

He reportedly gave enthusiastic chicken rearers his hatchlings for free, but they had to purchase 2 bags of feed from him at $78.

Keeping chicken apparently not allowed in HDB flats

However, in May 2019, Mr Woo’s chicken rearing hobby was interrupted when HDB officers allegedly paid him a surprise visit.

According to TODAY Online in 2019, the officers notified Mr Woo that keeping pet chickens in his flat was not allowed.

25 chickens HDBFor illustration purposes only
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Their message left the hobbyist indignant, as he only had 5 chickens then, which was within the limit of 10 stipulated by the law.

In a statement to TODAY Online, the Housing & Development Board deems poultry “not suitable” as indoor pets.

It alluded to possible inconveniences they may cause to neighbours once allowed to “roam indiscriminately”.

Faces fine & jail term once convicted

Notwithstanding, chicken-rearing in his HDB flat alone doesn’t seem to constitute the charges facing Mr Eric Woo.

However, an offence of keeping more than 10 non-commercial chickens warrants a jail term of up to 12 months and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Unlicensed distribution of birds leads up to a fine of no more than $5,000.

According to CNA, Mr Woo’s case has been adjourned to July as he decides whether to plead guilty.

As much as one has the freedom to pursue our hobbies, one must also keep up to date with rules and regulations.

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Featured image adapted from Unsplash.