Man gets 6 weeks' jail for abandoning 18 dogs
Dog groomer sentenced to 6 weeks' jail in first prosecution case on animal abandonment
He had worked with animals for more than 15 years.
Despite this, the owner of a dog grooming school dumped 18 dogs in various places on March 23 and 24.
Low Chong Kiat, 43, who runs Prestige Grooming Academy, also failed to take proper care of two of his female dogs - a shih tzu and a maltese.
District Judge Low Wee Ping chided him in court yesterday after he admitted to his offences.
The judge pointed out that Low was not an "ordinary pet owner" because he had been dealing with dogs for a long time.
He stressed that the way a society treats its animals reflects how civilised it is.
He said this case would give Singaporeans the opportunity to reflect on animal welfare so that we can be a more gracious and compassionate society.
Yesterday, Low was sentenced to jail for six weeks and fined $65,700 after pleading guilty to eight counts of abandoning the dogs and four counts of keeping four others without a licence.
GUILTY: Two of Low Chong Kiat's dogs, a shih tzu and a maltese, were found to be sickly. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
He also admitted to two counts of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure a dog is protected from injury or disease, and one count of keeping 30 dogs in a place without permission from the director-general of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).
Thirty-four other charges for similar offences were taken into consideration during sentencing.
He will be jailed for another six months and six weeks if he is unable to pay the fine.
Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Anamika Bagchi told the court that this was the first prosecution case on the abandonment of animals.
Earlier this year, Low, who previously had a breeding business, housed 30 dogs in the basement of his premises at Chun Tin Road, off Upper Bukit Timah Road, despite not having the licence to do so.
DPP Bagchi said that Prestige Grooming Academy was not a dog farm and Low was not allowed to keep more than three dogs there without AVA's permission.
Twenty-eight dogs, including poodles, a cocker spaniel and a pomeranian, were kept without licences.
In early March, he received a complaint from the Urban Redevelopment Authority about the 30 dogs.
Worried that the authority might revoke his permit for using the premises for his grooming business, he abandoned 18 dogs at places such as Sengkang and Tampines.
He kept the remaining 12 dogs, with plans to re-home them later.
On March 23,AVA received a tip-off that a person was seen abandoning three dogs at the Yishun Industrial Estate.
This information was circulated on social media.
Various animal welfare groups and an independent rescuer stepped in to rescue all 18 dogs.
They included the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Voice for Animals (VFA).
Low found out on March 25 that somebody had taken videos and pictures of him abandoning the dogs.
He later met VFA president Tan Kah Heng and handed over the remaining 12 dogs for re-homing.
DPP Bagchi said that two of Low's dogs were found to be sickly at Prestige Grooming Academy on March 16.
The shih tzu had dental issues and its right eye showed signs of corneal damage.
The maltese was found without teeth and it had a broken lower jaw.
Low will begin his sentence on Oct 21 as he was given leave to settle some personal matters.
For each count of abandoning a dog, he could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $40,000.