Fined couple peeved over pet's treatment

Fined couple peeved over pet's treatment

The couple was caught on Aug 9 for taking their pet dog in and out of Singapore without the proper documents.

Woffles, a four-year-old maltese, was quarantined the next day at the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority's (AVA) Changi Animal and Plant Quarantine Station.

After bridal company manager Chow Teck Meng, 41, and company director Karen Yip, 37, were fined $24,000 for various offences involving their pet on Nov 6, they complained to The New Paper about how Woffles was treated while in quarantine.

These are their main grievances:


Madam Yip said Woffles was trained to relieve itself on newspaper laid out on the floor, and an AVA officer had assured her that this would be done.

Mr Chow said that when he visited the dog on Aug 10, he saw that the kennel was small and there was no newspaper. There were puddles of urine on the floor, and he voiced his displeasure to another AVA officer.

"I complained to her and she had no solution. She never assured me," he said, citing that as the reason he took Woffles out of the station without permission.


AVA told TNP in an e-mail reply that when animals arrive at its quarantine stations, they are placed in kennels with only a small amount of water initially.

An AVA spokesman said: "As animals can often be scared in their new environment, we give them some time to calm down before introducing other materials into the room as we want to be able to monitor them closely... Kennels in quarantine stations are designed to hold three small dogs or two large dogs."


Madam Yip said Woffles was quarantined in the Changi station for more than a week before it was transferred to the Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station, where it remained for another six to seven weeks.

She said: "Changi is not the real place for quarantine. It's a temporary place. It's Sembawang that is the real place. (An AVA officer) said there was no space in Sembawang, so he would have to stay in Changi for a couple of days."


Standard operating procedures at both facilities for day-to-day animal care are in accordance with international standards, including room sizes.

The AVA spokesman said animals that require quarantine may have to join a waiting list for a space in Sembawang.

"At the time of Woffles' illegal import, the Sembawang station was at full capacity... Subsequently, we moved (it) there once a space became available. Newspaper was laid out, as requested by the owner, once (it) was accustomed to the space (it) was in."


The owners had to hand Woffles back to the authorities hours after Mr Chow removed it illegally from the Changi station on Aug 10.

Madam Yip complained that they were not allowed to visit their pet after the incident. They were allowed to do so only 18 days later after "numerous appeals".


The couple were initially allowed to visit Woffles in Changi. But Mr Chow "abused this privilege" and Madam Yip also lied about the dog's whereabouts when she was questioned at her house, the AVA spokesman said.

"Their visitation rights were revoked after we assessed their case and found them at risk of creating future obstructions to our duties.

"They were allowed to visit their dog in Sembawang when investigations were completed."

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