Thursday, 27 April 2000

Noah's Ark Lodge : manager outbid but ...

By Koh Huiting, The Straits Times

RAYMUND Wee, manager of the now well-known Noah's Ark Lodge, has been outbid
in a tender exercise that would have allowed him to continue operating the
animal sanctuary that was threatened with closure early this year.

   However, the good news is that Noah's Ark's animals will remain where they
are, but under different management.

   Former dog handler Thierry Lim, who outbid Mr Wee with a $60,101 per annum
bid (as opposed to Mr Wee's $48,000 bid) will take over Noah's Ark's boarding,
grooming, training and other pet services when the latter's lease expires on
May 15.

   But the Agri-food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore's (AVA), previously
known as the Primary Production Department, is prepared to give Mr Wee an
extension to the end of June if necessary.

   Announcing the results of the tender, which closed on March 20, AVA's CEO
Ngiam Tong Tau said: "It is policy to award the tender to the highest bidder."

   Also taken into consideration in awarding of the tender was Mr Lim's
experience in managing boarding kennels and his willingness to provide the
same kind of services as Mr Wee.

   Though this change in management may strike apprehension in members of the
public with adopted animals being housed in Noah's Ark, the AVA was quick to
stress that Mr Lim is "highly qualified" and that it will "commit itself to
ensuring that the welfare of the animals is first priority".

   Also, as long as owners and adopters of the pets continue to support the
upkeep of their animals, the transitional period between the change in
management should go smoothly.

   So concerned is the AVA about the welfare of the animals during this
transitional period that it has even decided to supply their own staff to help
feed, groom and provide veterinary care to the animals.

   This will continue until Mr Lim is settled into his new management and
together with regular inspections throughout the farm, will help ensure that
the animals' welfare is in no way compromised due to the change in management.
   However, members of the public who would like to make separate arrangements
due to this change in management may arrange with Mr Wee to take their pets
home or transfer their pets to another boarding kennel, out of the seven
available in Singapore.

   Alternatively, they may also choose to arrange with Mr Lim to continue to
care for their pets or adopted animals in Noah's Ark.

   Other animal lovers may also help by adopting strays and contributing to
their upkeep in the kennel so "as long as we get the same type of support as
we did when Noah's Ark was managed by Mr Wee, there would be no reason to put
down any of the animals", reassured Dr Ngiam.

Source: The Straits Times
Date: 27 April 2000

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