Charged and guilty: Recent animal abuse cases in Singapore
Published on Thursday, 01 June 2017
In the latest cases of animal abuse in Singapore, pet farm owner Edwin Tan Guowei admitted to six counts of failing to provide proper care for the dogs at the farm, and Gerald Kok Zhin Oi has been charged for killing a Toy Poodle.
The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) conducted an unannounced spot check in March 2016 at Kennel 7 in Pasir Ris and found a total of eight dogs in terrible condition. The dogs affected include an unsterilised Bulldog, a Schnauzer, a Husky and a Pomeranian that were all suffering from conditions such as corneal swelling, discolouration of the eyes and muscle wastage. At the time of the offences, the farm had close to 200 pooches.
The prosecution of Edwin Tan was led by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Selene Yap, who argued for a fine of at least $30,000 per charge. She said that despite treatment, the dogs still remained in terrible condition. She pushed for a punishment beyond just a fine in order to deter any like-minded pet business owners from engaging in similar activities. As such, she also argued for an additional disqualification order, which will prevent Edwin from engaging in any animal-related business for a year. This will only be in play two months after the sentencing date so that Edwin would have time to rehome the dogs.
According to the defence counsel, Daniel Ho, the issue was not a case of maltreatment. Edwin had isolated the sick dogs before AVA’s surprise inspection because he noticed that they “needed treatment”. However, this was countered by Selene, who said that there is a “positive duty for him to ensure that they are well-treated”. He will appear in court on June 7th for sentencing.
The second case involves the ill-treatment of a Toy Poodle, Treasure, that eventually died after multiple rounds of abuse by its owner, Gerald Kok. Gerald was charged with seven counts of mishandling the pooch, which occurred between July and December last year. Official documents did not reveal who the dog belonged to.
The charges stated that Gerald used a sofa cushion to hit Treasure many times over and even used it to hit her 15 times in 10 minutes at one point. He has also been accused of using a plastic clothes hanger to strike the canine, as well as flinging her to the corner of a bed twice in a day. Later that day, Gerald carried her into another room and flung her against a wall until she died.
For each count of animal abuse, first time offenders can be jailed up to 18 months and fined up to $15,000. Repeat offenders can be jailed up to three years and fined up to $30,000 for each charge.
Members of the public can contact AVA at 1800-476-1600 to report cases of animal cruelty.