'I was so scared they'd take my dogs away'

Mr James Lim lives alone with his two dogs in a rented flat at Champions Way.

SINGAPORE - Cabby James Lim, 37, abused police officers who were trying to get him to leash his dogs, after a group of five lodged a complaint earlier this month.

He is now in trouble with the law and has been hauled to court.

He had taken the dogs for a walk at the field in Champions Way opposite his Woodlands rented flat on July 9.

While there, he unleashed his dogs - despite this being against the law. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said dogs must be leashed and controlled in a public place. This upset a group of five, who approached him and asked him to remove his dogs.

Feeling threatened, he called the neighbourhood police centre for help. Unknown to him, someone had already made a complaint against him.

Mr Lim said: "I was going to buy cigarettes and it's just a short walk, so my dogs followed me.

"But when I got to the convenience shop, a few policemen came and talked to me."

Thinking that the officers were the ones sent to assist him, he asked them to give him five minutes to buy cigarettes.

"I explained that I will leash them, and they're very well behaved, but they didn't listen," he said.

As he had previously received warnings about his dogs, which are not allowed to be kept in an HDB flat, Mr Lim feared for their safety.

"I lost my temper, I shouted at the police and cursed at them in Hokkien," he said.

"I know I shouldn't have, but I was just so scared they would take my dogs away."

Handcuffed

He was eventually handcuffed. He asked for his cuffs to be loosened, saying they were too tight.

When the police refused, he cursed them again, causing the policeman to arrest him for disorderly conduct and using vulgarities on a police officer.

The New Paper understands this is not the first time he has been in trouble with the law.

Mr Lim was arrested for a similar offence, when he got agitated after policemen tried telling him that his dogs had to be leashed.

He will be charged in court on Thursday.

He said he has also been told by the HDB that he would be evicted if the dogs were not rehomed.

Ms Patrine Guo, from Save Our Street Dogs, a dog welfare group, said: "When we went down to remove his dogs from him, he was extremely emotional.

"He's been living in desperation to salvage the situation. He's very attached to his dogs."

Mr Ricky Yeo, 45, president of Action for Singapore Dogs and a dog trainer, said the only place dogs can be unleashed are in dog runs.

He said: "...There are several in places like Bishan Park and West Coast Park. There are three to four major dog runs in Singapore."

He also had some suggestions.

He said: "A good compromise for owners would be to use a retractable leash, which can go up to 5m, so the dog can run a certain distance, but owners can stop the dogs if they go too far, or if they look like they might hurt someone.

"Obedience training is also important because it teaches the dog to respond to commands, so when you call your dogs, they'll come back. In some cases where owners don't have a good rapport with their canine, the dogs won't respond to their commands, even more so if they're unleashed."


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