The rescue of Lucky and the 5 freedoms of animal welfare

We would like to share this experience from Ms Ong, founder of Survivor Shelter.

Yesterday, Ms Ong took in an old dog, aged 12 years, named Lucky, who had previously belonged to a family. According to Ms Ong,  Lucky had been kept in a cage for his entire life by this family. As a puppy, they wanted him, but now that he was old, they did not want him anymore (still living in the cage). So a rescuer took him away a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, Lucky is terrified of thunder and loud noises and would make a lot of noise. Worried that the neighbours would complain, the rescuer wanted to have him put down.

Ms Ong heard about Lucky and felt very sorry for the poor boy, so she offered to take him in. Lucky arrived at Survivor’s yesterday morning. Ms Ong had cordoned off an area to build a separate enclosure for Lucky as he is quite fierce. She says that thanks to all donors from AnimalCare for the food aid for the past few months, she had been able to save up some money and with this, was able to purchase material for this enclosure. The very kind proprietor of the hardware store transported the material and set up this new enclosure for Ms Ong and did not charge for workmanship.

Lucky also has heartworm disease and is currently on medication. We salute Ms Ong for her compassion. Hopefully with love and caring, Lucky will mellow down in time.

This is Lucky when first rescued from his family a few weeks ago.

Lucky spent 12 years living in this tiny cage.

Taking Lucky away from his cage to the rescuer’s home.

The rescuer gave Lucky space, but he howled when there are thunder and lightning.

This is Lucky’s arrival at Survivor’s yesterday morning. He had to be tranquilised to be transported here because he was too fierce to be handled.

May you live out your natural life now, in a bigger space, with people who love and care for you, Lucky.
Thank you so much, Ms Ong!

All of yesterday until past 9pm last night, Ms Ong updated us on Lucky. We were really worried when Lucky did not wake up from the tranquiliser dart. None of us has had any experience with this method, so we called friends for information. Apparently, it all depends on the age and health of the animal; most of them wake up quite fast, perhaps in 2-3 hours. But it had been 8 hours last night and Lucky still had not got up. He was definitely still breathing. Ms Ong’s trusty caretaker was with Lucky and kept checking on him. Ms Ong also consulted the darter through the rescuer. The darter said the dosage was safe and Lucky will not die from it.

Finally, at 9.14pm, Ms Ong texted a very dark video of Lucky moving (no lights at this new enclosure). He had awakened…finally!

We were so, so relieved. Lucky is old, had not been well maintained and has heartworm disease too. Perhaps that is why he took so long to wake up.

Be well now, Lucky. You are in safe and loving hands. You will have space now, to move around. Be happy, Lucky.

Thank you so, so much for your compassion, Ms Ong.

The concept of Five Freedoms originated with the Report of the UK Technical Committee to Enquire into the Welfare of Animals kept under Intensive Livestock Husbandry Systems, the Brambell Report, December 1965. The concept was subsequently refined by the Farm Animal Welfare Council so that it actually took the form of the five freedoms. It has since been further updated and is now the most visited page on the Council’s Website. These principles are relevant and appropriate measures of welfare for any animal species and the task force tried to be mindful of them throughout the process.

  • Freedom from Hunger and Thirst
    By ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor.
  • Freedom from Discomfort
    By providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  • Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease
    By prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  • Freedom to Express Normal Behavior
    By providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
  • Freedom from Fear and Distress
    By ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

This is the short version:

The Brambell Report states “An animal should at least have sufficient freedom of movement to be able without difficulty, to turn round, groom itself, get up, lie down and stretch its limbs“. This short recommendation became known as Brambell’s Five Freedoms.

To all rescuers, pet owners and shelter operators who keep your animals in small cages all their lives, we appeal to you to please reconsider. While you may buy them nutritious food and give them the best veterinary care, they still need space to move about. To move without difficulty, to turn around, groom themselves, get up, lie down and stretch their limbs – it is their right.


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