He had searched for his lost dog for about four days, with no luck. So Tan Say Meng's heart skipped a beat when he received a call from a man who claimed that he knew where the 12-month-old Shiba Inu was.
The caller, who identified himself as "Din", told Mr Tan that the dog, named Kuro, was at 426 Siglap Road. "Din" claimed to be the caretaker there.
"I rushed there hoping that Kuro was there, but upon arriving, I realised that the location was that of a Muslim cemetery," Mr Tan told My Paper.
"There was no caretaker there. I searched for Kuro for over an hour."
He returned the next day and saw the caretaker this time. He found out that Din was actually the name of the previous caretaker, who had not worked at the cemetery for a long time.
Worse was to come for Mr Tan, who walks around his neighbourhood from 1am to 4am several nights a week to look for his beloved pet, which is afraid of people.
On Monday, he received a series of audio clips through WhatsApp. One clip claimed that the sender was now enjoying a hotdog that was Kuro at a fast-food joint. Another threatened to kill Kuro and then cook the dog.
In fact, Mr Tan, a businessman, has been harassed by prank calls and messages ever since his appeal for help in finding Kuro went public with posters and a post on citizen journalism website Stomp.
On Oct 5, for instance, he received a message claiming that Kuro was with a "Robert", whose contact details had been included in the message.
Mr Tan rang the number a few times but the phone was switched off. Thinking it suspicious, he lodged a police report.
When the police tried calling "Robert" using an untraceable number, "Robert" answered the call but hung up when the police began questioning him.
Kuro went missing after it slipped off its lead while out for a walk at Telok Kurau park on Sept 20 with Mr Tan's older son, 16.
Lianhe Wanbao reported that Mr Tan's kids miss the dog terribly, and have been unable to sleep, with the older one even refusing to attend school.
"It has affected his school performance as he is quite attached to the dog," said Mr Tan of his older boy.
The businessman, who sometimes walks as much as 10km in search of Kuro, has since notified the Singapore Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore.
He is offering a reward of $1,000 and hopes that will be enough to bring Kuro home.
"I just want my dog back," he said. "If someone has my dog, and doesn't want to contact me directly, go to the relevant authorities."
Corinne Fong, executive director of the SPCA, called the harassment Mr Tan has been receiving "deplorable".
"It is insensitive to do this. They are acting like morons and should be stopped. If the same thing happens to you, how would you feel?"
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