SINGAPORE - She was walking into Pasir Ris Camp one morning last December when a familiar sight of dogs lying on the road right outside the camp greeted her.
Miss Yang Yaxiu, a defence executive officer with the Ministry of Defence (Mindef), gave them a wide berth.
The 24-year-old was cautious as one of the dogs in the pack, a black mongrel, had bitten her in the right calf earlier in the month, leaving a scar.
That morning, the same black dog crept up behind her once again.
Said Miss Yang: "I was walking slowly. I didn't notice it at all because I was carrying quite a lot of things. Then I felt a sharp pain on my right calf.
"I just stood there. My mind was blank. A security guard came in and stamped his feet and the dog backed away."
As she limped away from the pack, Ms Yang noticed another dog approaching her.
"I used my bag as a shield and started swinging it to create some distance between me and the dog," she said.
She tried to stop the bleeding with plasters, but to no avail.
She then went to the camp's medical centre, who treated her wounds and bandaged her calf.
Miss Yang was one of the several victims of dog attacks at Pasir Ris Camp last year.
In a Facebook post, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) said: "The stray dogs that had entered Pasir Ris Camp were aggressive, and there were at least five recorded occasions of the dogs biting or attempting to bite our personnel."
The army added that the dogs in camp were never abused.
SAF was responding to allegations that a lieutenant-colonel had abused a stray dog in camp last month, by first beating it, then tying it up in a camp bathroom so it could not move.
A full-time national serviceman, who secretly filmed a video of it, was later punished. (See report on facing page.)
Lance Corporal Sebastian Poh, 19, was another victim of the dogs roaming in Pasir Ris Camp.
Last December, a dog had bit into his calf and clung on while he was jogging around the camp's parade square in the morning. He had seen them from a distance but thought nothing of it, he said. "When we do guard duty, the dogs would follow us like they were guarding us. I thought they wouldn't bite, so I continued running," he explained.
The dog clung on for about 20 seconds before letting go, he added.
The dog's sudden attack shocked Lance Cpl Poh, a dog owner himself.
Lance Cpl Lye Han Bin, 22, was subjected to similar hostility when he saw seven to eight dogs running towards him as he cycled into the camp on a weekend.
Two pounced on him, but he managed to escape with some light scratches.
He noticed that the dogs in camp only turned more aggressive late last year.
"At the start of last year, when I was doing guard duty, (the dogs) were all very docile, no aggression. Later, towards the end of the year, they started to chase cyclists outside the camp," he said.
Recruit Ang Woon Wei, 22, agreed, and pointed out that it could be due to new additions to the pack in the second half of last year.
The dogs would bark non-stop and chase after people and cyclists, the three soldiers said. Recruit Ang, a medic, had to attend to a cyclist who had fallen off his bike with a gash on his head while escaping from a chasing dog, he said.
The New Paper understands that the dogs, which used to roam around Pasir Ris Camp, have been taken away by animal activist groups and shelters.
Miss Yang, who has developed a phobia about dogs since the double attacks last year, said she is relieved.
"It's not so important to me that the bites will stay as scars on my leg. I can't do anything about it. What's more important is that I can now walk into the camp safely," she said.
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