Woman charged over ill-treatment of dogs asks for a trial, but judge says no

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Earlier this month, she admitted in court to causing unnecessary suffering to her three dogs.

But Chng Leng Khim, 42, later wanted to retract her guilty plea and asked for a trial instead.

Insisting that she had pleaded guilty because of "pressure", she told District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim yesterday: "Please don't deny me a trial. I didn't do it."

Noting that Chng had understood the nature and consequences of her plea, the judge sentenced her to 10 days' jail and a fine of $3,100.

Chng had pleaded guilty on Feb 10 to two counts each of causing unnecessary suffering to two dogs and keeping them without a licence.

She also admitted to one count of failing to comply with a lawful demand made by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

Two other charges for similar offences were taken into consideration.

Chng was originally due to be sentenced on Feb 19. But after her first lawyer, Mr Ravinderpal Singh, discharged himself, she told the court that she wanted to withdraw her plea.

However, Judge Hamidah did not grant her request and Chng engaged another lawyer, Mr S.H. Almenoar.

He also discharged himself yesterday and Chng was left to fend for herself in the dock.

When told to give her mitigation, she reiterated that she wanted to withdraw her guilty plea.

BAIL

The judge maintained her position on the matter and sentenced her.

Chng is now out on bail of $10,000 pending an appeal.

Chng and her three children moved out of their Paya Lebar Crescent home on June 11, 2013, after she stopped paying the rent of $1,500 a month.

In March last year, her elder son, then 19, was convicted of two criminal intimidation charges and fined $4,500. He was also jailed for a week for contempt of court.

In September, her then-18-year-old daughter was put on 18 months' probation for one count each of voluntarily causing hurt to a policewoman and committing mischief in a police car.

When Chng moved out, she abandoned a bull mastiff cross and a chow chow inside the unit while a third dog, a poodle, was left to wander the neighbourhood.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals alerted AVA to the poodle and Chng was found to be its owner through a microchip.

The dog was severely emaciated, malnourished and tick-infested. It also had other ailments, including a severe urinary tract infection.

Two days after it was discovered, Chng's former landlord, Madam Khoo Kim Cheng, found the other two dogs in the house. They were also tick-infested and thin.

An AVA veterinarian found the home to be "filthy and not well-ventilated", with all the windows and doors closed. The floor was covered in faeces and urine and there was no sign of food or water.

None of Chng's three dogs had been taken to a vet despite their ailments.

The chow chow and the poodle were rehomed to animal welfare group Voices for Animals. The bull mastiff cross was euthanised on Jan 8, 2014, because of conditions including severe heart disease.

For each count of causing unnecessary suffering to her sick dogs by failing to take them to a veterinarian, Chng could have been jailed up to a year and fined up to $10,000.

ashaffiq@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on February 24, 2016.
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