SINGAPORE - A 25-year-old Malaysian man who tried to smuggle seven puppies into Singapore has been sentenced to five months in prison.
He was also sentenced to three months imprisonment for animal cruelty. Both sentences will run consecutively.
The man was stopped by immigration officers at the Woodlands Checkpoint on March 30. During their check, the officers found seven puppies hidden in the front passenger seat of the car he was driving.
According to the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA), the man did not feed the dogs any food and water during transportation. Their movements were also restricted and their health was severely affected.
At the time of discovery, one of the puppies had already died while the remaining six were sedated. Among those sedated, five were ill and only one remains under quarantine at AVA's Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station.
AVA said in a statement on Thursday that animals that are smuggled into Singapore may cause the spread of diseases. Among dogs and cats, the foremost concern is rabies, a fatal viral disease, which can be transmitted to humans by the bite of the infected animal.
Singapore has been free from rabies for 60 years but the disease is endemic in the region.
Those who wish to import animals into Singapore must seek approval from the AVA. The animal needs to meet AVA's import conditions, including vaccination and health certification requirements.
Depending on the country of export, certain animals will have to undergo post-arrival quarantine where their health will be monitored.