Sembawang Temple Says Dogs Were Allowed To Roam Free At Night

When the Sembawang God of Wealth Temple caught fire on Friday (18 Sep) night, 3 out of the 7 dogs kept there tragically lost their lives, leading netizens to mourn the tragedy.

Animal group Chained Dog Awareness in Singapore (CDAS) posted a tribute to the dogs, saying they felt guilty as they had visited the temple before and noticed dogs were kept in cages.

However, in response, the temple has said they didn’t keep their dogs chained up, and 3 of them died as they were trapped on the 2nd level.


Dogs were free to roam at night

In a Facebook post on Saturday (19 Sep) night, Sembawang God of Wealth Temple said its 7 dogs were free to roam the temple compound at night.

They also posted photos of dogs resting on mattresses.


According to the temple, the 3 dogs that died were trapped on the 2nd level, but the 4 that survived were on the 1st level, so they managed to escape.

They didn’t release this info earlier as they said they were awaiting confirmation from the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

The deceased dogs were even mentioned on Instagram by Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung, who’s an MP for Sembawang GRC.

CDAS posted photos of dogs in cages

The temple’s statement came after CDAS posted photos of dogs in cages, apparently taken during its visit to the temple on 5 Jul 2019.


Note that the temple didn’t deny they caged the dogs, just that they didn’t chain them up at night.

The temple also didn’t say whether they had stopped caging the dogs before the fire started, and if they did, when they had stopped.

CDAS doesn’t want to point fingers

Nevertheless, CDAS posted an update to its original Facebook post, stating diplomatically that they didn’t want to point fingers.


The update to the post was made before the temple’s statement, and according to the group, its original post attracted much concern from the community.

Thus, they emphasised that their mission to provide a voice for animals, and raise awareness of issues that affect them, not to blame anybody.

They’re simply heartbroken at the loss of the dogs’ lives, they added.

Temple is grateful for donations

Separately, in their latest Facebook statement, the temple has said that it’s received “an overwhelming number” of donation requests.


They said they’re grateful for the concern shown, and offered 2 methods for the public to donate to them.

  1. A cheque payable to “Sembawang God of Wealth Temple”
  2. PayNow to UEN S99SS0006H

While they’re not able to accept cash donations yet, they will update when they can accept them.

However, they also thanked those who came down to the temple to offer aid and assistance.

Meanwhile, the temple said they won’t be reopening yet. That’s because investigations are still ongoing into the fire.


Consider safety of canine companions too

While it’s understandable to mourn the demise of 3 temple dogs, trying to assign blame in this case won’t help bring them back to life.

However, hopefully this incident will remind people to consider the safety of our canine companions, especially when deciding whether to confine or chain them up.

As it’s currently legal to confine or chain up dogs, at this point animal lovers may also welcome hearing from the Animal & Veterinary Service on whether this should be reconsidered.

We wish the Sembawang temple all the best for their rebuilding efforts, and hope it can reopen soon.

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Featured images adapted from Facebook and Facebook.