Why, oh why, did you hit the chicken crossing the street?! Yes, it can happen when you are out driving or even when you are just reversing out of your parking lot. Even if it isn’t a fowl, it may be a neighbour’s pet poodle or a wild creature such as a boar. If we do hit a person, we would have the “common sense” to know what to do. But, what if we rammed into an animal?
Do not just rev up and speed off – you could be fined up to $3,000 or jailed a year (it’s an up-to-$5, 000 fine or a two-year jail term for repeat offenders) under the Road Traffic Act if you fail to stop and help the animal. Stay calm and take these following actions, instead.
(Disclaimer: Do note that the following are possible suggestions for what an individual should do in an animal-related road accident. In no way is this article a complete, accurate or legally-binding document regarding such accidents. Please refer to the relevant authorities, governing bodies or the Road Traffic Act for more information).
Check on the animal and for any oncoming traffic
If you are not injured, pull over by the side of the road and disembark safely to check on the stricken animal. But first, make sure that there are no oncoming vehicles – you can use road safety accessories such as portable road pennants, collapsible pylons or beacons if you have them, or physically signal if you don’t, to warn other motorists about the accident, to slow down, and avoid you and the animal.
Check out the type of that animal you have hit
Don’t get too close if it is a larger wild animal like a boar or a Sambar deer because it can attempt to get upright to run away and might possibly hurt you in its panic. Observe and take photos of it from a distance. If it’s a cat or dog, once you have ascertained that it’s safe to go up close, try and bring it carefully to the side of the road, regardless of whether it’s dead or alive.
Call the relevant organisations, authorities and/or individuals
There are a few animal rescue services that you can contact for help and information:
– Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) at 6287 5355 Ext. 9 (for domestic animals such as dogs and cats)
– Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) at 9783 7782 (for wildlife such as wild boars and monkeys)
– Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) at 6269 3411 (for wildlife; it is Singapore’s designated national rescued wildlife centre)
– Animal Response Centre of the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) at 1800 4761 600 for any animal-related matters.
In the unfortunate event that the animal is dead, you will need to contact the National Environment Agency (NEA) at 1800 2255 632 to remove the carcass.
You are also required to “take reasonable steps” to inform the owner of the animal (if it has one) and provide your driver’s details, in the circumstance that you are able to obtain his or her contact details. If you are unable to do so, do report the accident to the Traffic Police at 6547 0000 or Land Transport Authority (LTA) at 1800 2255 582 within 24 hours. You can reach out to the aforementioned authorities, too, if you spot a hurt animal on the road that is not the result of your driving.
To help resolve any issues with the relevant parties, including animal rescue services, police or pet owner(s), you should take note of the accident details such as the date, time and exact location, as well as the road and weather conditions. Take photographic evidence, as you would normally do for an accident involving a person. If there is damage to your vehicle or someone else’s (or any properties), it is imperative you report it to the Traffic Police and your insurer.
There are possible amendments to the definition of animals and the motorist’s obligations in animal-related road accidents under the Road Traffic Act. Currently, the Act only includes 8 types of farm animals of commercial value: horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat and dog. Though common animals such as cats, monkeys, birds, rabbits and the like aren’t in the list, it is only ethical and humane to try and do right by the animal. Read up on legal news, and also pertinent information on animal welfare sites, so that if you ever hit a jaywalking chicken, you would know exactly the steps to take.
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