Father stands by his son's actions

PUBLICITY: Ms Cathy Strong, one of the three founders of the Animal Lovers League, posted the video clip of alleged dog abuse in the Pasir Ris Camp on Jan 14.

SINGAPORE - Even as he serves his punishment of 21 days of suspension of leave, his father, Mr Simon Spencer, is standing by his actions.

The full-time national serviceman (NSF) had secretly filmed a dog in a military toilet in Pasir Ris Camp with a taut rope around its neck.

Before that, Mr Spencer, 52, claimed that a lieutenant-colonel had allegedly hit the dog in front of the other NSFs to show them how to "ensure that the strays would not dare to approach the army camp in future".

The dog is now in the care of the Animal Lovers League (ALL). One of its founders, Ms Cathy Strong, said it is microchipped and was one of the two dogs left behind by the owner who moved out of a neighbouring farm.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority, which collaborated with Mindef in the investigation of the case, said the dog was not injured.

The NSF later passed the 21-second-long clip to Ms Strong. She uploaded it onto ALL's Facebook pageon Jan 14.

Filming the clip and sending it to Ms Strong, according to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), is a violation of "camp security regulations that prohibit unauthorised photography in camp and disclosure of information to people outside the SAF".

SHARES

As of press time, there were more than 1,000 shares of the video.

Mr Spencer said that his son, whose name he declined to reveal, knew of the consequences that came with Ms Strong uploading the video.

"He said it's okay. He has to let everybody know because by (informing his superiors), nobody will know what is going on in the camp," he said.

Ms Strong, however, still berates herself as she thinks her actions have led to the NSF's punishment.

She told TNP that a day after posting the video online, she was contacted by someone from Mindef who asked for the NSF's name.

"I told her that I could not reveal his name without his prior consent. She then assured me that he would not be charged but possibly be given a stern warning," she said.

When asked about this, Mindef directed TNP to its previous statement posted on its Facebook page.

The statement emphasised that the dog in the video was not abused and said that camp personnel "decided to chase the dogs out to ensure the safety of the personnel in the camp" following a spate of dog attacks late last year.

"The SAF does not condone any acts of cruelty to animals and takes a serious view if its servicemen were found to be guilty of such acts," it added.

Mr Spencer said he was pursuing the matter not because his son was punished but because the alleged abuser got off lightly. The Straits Times reported that the lieutenant-colonel was sent for counselling, along with a warrant officer.

fjieying@sph.com.sg

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