Singaporean woman gets 10 days' jail for mistreating her own dogs

A Singaporean woman was sentenced today to 10 days' imprisonment for failing to take care of her three sick dogs properly and send them for treatment.

Mdm Chng Leng Khim, 43, who was guilty of two counts of animal cruelty, was also slapped with a $1,500 fine for being uncooperative during investigation by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

In addition, she was fined $1,600 for failing to apply for licence of her dogs, said AVA in a press statement today.

The Straits Times reported that Mdm Chng is out on bail of $10,000, pending an appeal.

According to The Straits Times, two weeks ago, Chng pleaded guilty to two charges of animal cruelty, two counts of keeping a dog without a licence, and a charge of failing to comply with an AVA order.

However, at a sentencing hearing on Feb 19, Chng wanted to retract her guilty plea. Her lawyer also applied to discharge himself.

Her request was rejected but the hearing was adjourned to allow time for another lawyer she engaged to prepare for submissions.

But on Feb 23, the second lawyer also applied to discharge himself, and Chng again asked to retract her plea as she claimed she pleaded guilty due to "pressure". This was rejected again, as the judge said Chng had understood the nature and consequences of her plea.

On 12 June 2013, AVA was informed by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Singapore that a black poodle was found wandering at Paya Lebar Crescent. AVA was able to trace its owner to Mdm Chng because of the embedded microchip.

When AVA alerted Mdm Chng about her poodle, she requested for assistance to re-home the dog. AVA had to investigate her for animal cruelty as the poodle was found to be thin, weak, and infested with ticks.

During its probe, AVA found that Mdm Chng had two other pet dogs - a chow chow and a bullmastiff - which were also malnourished, thin and tick-infested.

It also discovered that all three dogs were unlicensed.

The dogs were then placed under the care of AVA. However, as the bullmastiff was facing critical health issues, it had to be put down.

AVA worked with the Voices For Animals, an animal welfare group, to re-home the poodle and chow chow in February 2014. Subsequently, Mdm Chng was arrested and charged in court.

Those causing unnecessary suffering to an animal can be fined up to $15,000 and/or jailed up to 18 months, or both for the first offence. For the second and subsequent offences, the maximum penalty is $30,000 or a jail term of up to 3 years, or both.

AVA reminds the public that animal cruelty is a serious offence.

"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, including neglect, and will investigate all feedback on alleged cruelty. We will take enforcement action against anyone who has committed an act of animal cruelty and will press for deterrent sentences, if warranted," it added in its statement.

You can contact AVA at 1800-476-1600 to report cases of animal cruelty.

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