Animal lovers in Singapore horrified by recent spate of animal abuse cases

It was dirty, sick and blind.

And it was struggling to free itself from the plastic bag it had been thrown into when it was dumped by the side of the road in Siglap on Sunday morning.

Lying on a grass patch near Palm Road, the male Japanese Chin was weak and unable to walk.

Luckily, a kind-hearted passer-by came across it.

She removed the dog from the plastic bag and took it home. She then bathed it and passed it to a friend, who then passed it to Mr Derrick Tan, founder of animal welfare group Voices For Animals (VFA).

"It was quite clean when it came to me," said Mr Tan, 34.

He took over the care of the dog and named it Max.

Mr Tan told The New Paper that the dog had an irregular heartbeat and tested mild positive for heartworms at the vet. It also has severe cataracts in both eyes.

Heartworm is a disease that dogs tend to get. Caused by mosquitoes carrying heartworm larvae, it can be fatal, though it can also be cured, Dr Geoffrey Yeo, 29, a veterinarian, told TNP.

Max is under observation at My Family Vet Clinic and Surgery, and will stay there for a few more days. The vet estimates that it is about eight years old, said Mr Tan.

"He is coughing. But other than that, he is doing okay," he said, adding that its organs were fine and there was no need for an operation.

Pictures of the dog, shared on VFA's Facebook page on Sunday night, showed it inside a plastic bag on the grass, with its tongue hanging out.

Last night, the post garnered 2,514 likes and 2,017 shares.

Many were enraged, saying it was cruel of the owners to dump the dog like this.


Mr Tan said this was the second time he had rescued a dog found in a plastic bag.

"Two years ago, just before Chinese New Year, my friend alerted me to a dog in a plastic bag at the lift lobby of a HDB block in Bukit Panjang.

"The dog was also blind and very old. Her skin condition was very, very bad and she had a foul smell. She had no teeth when she was found, and she was estimated to be at least 12 or 13 years old then," he said.

He cared for it for a year, before giving it up for adoption to one of his friends.

"She is very beautiful now and her owner takes good care of her," he said.

Finding animals in frail condition is upsetting for Mr Tan, who has been running VFA for four years.

He said that some of these animals may have been abandoned by their owners when they get old, ill and are no longer cute. These pets may have also cost their owners hefty medical bills.

"In such cases, owners just dump them, assuming that other people will pick them up. They don't realise the animals will die if no one finds them.

"It's really a very, very cruel act. These are domesticated pets that cannot fend for themselves," said Mr Tan.

VFA, which mainly rehabilitates and rehomes retired breeding dogs, will be holding its next dog adoption drive at 11, Pasir Ris Farmway 2 on July 11 and 12. It holds adoption drives once a month. The shelter houses about 120 dogs, 20 cats and a few rabbits.

VFA is run by volunteers, many of whom have adopted animals from it. Adoption fees collected from its drives go towards caring for animals in the shelter.

Animal lovers TNP spoke to were horrified about Max's plight.

Freelance graphic designer Vernice Thiam, 22, who has an adopted Maltese, said: "The dog is blind. Can you imagine it rolling out onto the road if it was attracted to the sound of cars going by? "If no one found it, it could have been run over."

Undergraduate Safinah Shamsul, 23, said younger animals tend to be more attractive to prospective pet owners.

"Young pets may be easier to train, and they can bond better with their owners.

"Some people may want pets because they're cute and fun, but they do not want the responsibilities that come with them, she said.


Ms Corinne Fong, 51, executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), said that dumping a dog is unacceptable.

"If it was a case of abandonment, it is cold and callous of the owner to dump the dog like that to fend for itself.

"Where is the owner's conscience?" she asked.

"If owners want to give up their pets, they should do a proper surrender and go to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), SPCA or any of the animal shelters."

When contacted, an AVA spokesman said the agency is investigating the case.

Anyone who abandons a pet can be fined up to $10,000, or jailed for a year, or both, for the first conviction.

A maximum fine of $20,000, or a two-year jail term, or both, will be served for second and subsequent convictions. In addition, individuals may also face a possible disqualification order against owning animals for up to one year.

"A pet is a lifelong commitment and potential owners should seriously consider the many responsibilities involved before getting a pet.

"AVA condemns acts of animal cruelty, such as pet abandonment, and investigates all feedback on cruelty," said the spokesman.

Members of the public who have information on this case (such as witnesses, photographic and video evidence) can contact AVA on 1800-476-1600.

Cats found poisoned at Pasir Ris Park

There may be a serial cat killer in Pasir Ris Park, where seven cats have been found dead.

The cats went missing on June 14 and some of the carcasses were found last week.

Four are still missing.

The Cat Welfare Society said the National Parks Board (NParks) has been alerted and will step up patrols in the area.

NParks has sent one of the carcasses for a post-mortem.

It is to meet the Cat Welfare Society by next week to prevent further cat deaths.

The cats are suspected to have died from eating poisoned fish crumbs scattered about the area.

One poisoned cat was found alive by Ms Noorfaradila Ibrahim, 32, a secretary, who feeds cats at the park.

Although the cat survived, preliminary tests at a veterinary clinic showed toxicity in its blood.

The Cat Welfare Society has urged the authorities to take quick action, saying that the scale of the incident points to a clear and present threat to animal welfare and public health.

Yesterday, nine cat lovers and volunteers from the society tried to map out where the dead cats and the crumbs were found. - The Straits Times

Previous cases of animal abuse


A construction worker threw a bag of tools at a guide dog belonging to freelance writer Lim Lee Lee.

Ms Lim, who is visually impaired, wrote about the incident, which took place near Wing Tai Building, on Facebook.

When her companion asked the worker why he did that, he merely said: "I'm not happy. Why?"

The bag, which contained items including a hammer and a spanner, hit her dog's hip and caused it to suffer abrasions and tissue damage.

AUGUST 2014:

A group of photographers tied a wild tern (a type of seabird) chick to a shrub so they could get a better picture of its parents.

They were taking photographs of them in their habitat at Tuas South.

Another photographer saw them trying to direct the chick to a particular spot so that its picture could be taken. When the chick was not cooperative, one of the photographers tied one of the chick's legs together before attaching it to the shrub.

APRIL 2011:

Four stray dogs were found poisoned in Choa Chu Kang Cemetery.

One, a pregnant female, died despite attempts to save it.

The other three were admitted to intensive care.

Strewn near the poisoned dogs were chunks of duck necks, which are believed to have been tainted and fed to the dogs.

This article was first published on June 24, 2015.
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