Singapore

No breach found in euthanasia of Loki the dog: AVS

Investigation found no failure in duty of care or cruelty by owners of pet which attacked humans repeatedly

The owners of a dog that was put down in April and the veterinarians involved in the case did not breach the law and code of ethics, investigations by the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) showed.

The euthanasia of Loki drew widespread public attention earlier this year, with some netizens alleging its owners and the vet had put down the dog unnecessarily.

In its four-month-long investigation, AVS said it found "no failure in duty of care or cruelty" by the owners - a married couple - as they had provided Loki with its "basic needs such as food, water, shelter and veterinary attention".

Three vets from two clinics in the case were found to have complied with the code of ethics for veterinarians and other regulations.

In addition, there was no breach of the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act by all parties as "veterinary acts that uphold public safety" were considered an essential service during the circuit breaker period.

No further action will be taken against those involved, AVS said in a statement yesterday.

The case surfaced on May 6 when a volunteer at animal welfare group Exclusively Mongrels (EM) alleged in a now-deleted Facebook post that Loki's owners had euthanised their healthy dog. AVS began investigations the next day.

The couple adopted Loki from EM in December 2017 when it was five to six months old.

Over the next two years, it grew to be about 25kg, and was assessed by vets to be more "confident and confrontational".

It also had "panic attacks with no known trigger".

During this time, it had attacked both humans and dogs on about 10 occasions.

OPTIONS

AVS said the owners had sought options - such as medication, training and exploring re-homing alternatives - over a period of more than a year. These were not successful and Loki continued to bite people.

The last straw came on April 19, when Loki bit one of the owners on the lip without warning.

They had also noticed that it was uncomfortable and nervous around their newborn child.

The owners assessed that Loki was a risk to the family and requested to euthanise it. The veterinarian agreed, said AVS.

On April 20, Loki was put down in the presence of its owners.

The current code of ethics for veterinarians states that "humane euthanasia of animals is an ethical veterinary procedure".

Under the code, vets must also consider other treatment options prior to considering euthanasia and can reject owners' request if deemed inappropriate.

EM's director Kevin Neo told The Straits Times the group is "extremely disappointed" with the outcome.

AVS said it has been conducting a review of the pet sector to raise the standards of animal health and welfare in Singapore since late last year and will continue to do so.

AVS said a work group, chaired by Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office and for National Development Tan Kiat How, has been formed to study the standards and guidelines related to the rehoming and adoption of animals in Singapore.

COURT & CRIME