Channel NewsAsia

About Ah Boy - rescue group calls for more teeth to animal welfare laws

The case of this neglected dog shows animal welfare laws need better implementation, says rescue group.

SINGAPORE: A heart-wrenching video of a sorely neglected dog named Ah Boy has sparked outrage among animal-lovers here, and the dog rescue group that sent him for emergency treatment is calling for firmer implementation of animal welfare laws.

"When you rescue a dog with evidence that he has been abused, it should be sufficient proof and the owners should be taken to task," says Fiona Foo, founder of HOPE Dog Rescue.

HOPE Dog Rescue was first alerted of Ah Boy's plight about a month ago, when a relative of his owners contacted them. They discovered a woefully underweight dog, tipping the scales at just 1.8kg. It had a litany of ailments, including severe ear infection, arthritis, and a heart murmur.

Concerned that the 14-year-old dog would have separation anxiety if removed from his home, the volunteer group instead decided to help its owners with his care and medical bills.

But a tipping point came on May 6, when Ah Boy's owners sent HOPE a video of him having seizures. On their way to help the dog, HOPE instructed the owners to put a towel under him, so that he wouldn't hurt himself banging his body on the floor. "They flatly refused," HOPE Rescue wrote in a blog post.

The group also says the owners wanted to wrap their pet in newspaper and throw him down the rubbish chute.

Ah Boy's condition was dire by the time HOPE arrived. "He was bruised all over from thrashing with seizures on the floor for at least two hours and covered in his own poop," Ms Foo told Channel NewsAsia. "Even the vet on duty kept saying 'poor thing'."

HOPE posted a video of Ah Boy on YouTube to raise awareness that "neglect is a form of abuse". It has chalked up over 2,000 views and some viewers commented that they choked back tears over the story.

The rescue group has lodged reports with the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

In Singapore, animal cruelty is a crime. Those found guilty can be jailed up to one year, or fined up to S$10,000, or both. Just recently, a businessman was slapped with the maximum fine of S$10,000 after his dog died from months of starvation.

As for Ah Boy, he has been moved to a temporary foster home and is in stable condition - with lots of pillows padding his playpen so he will not hurt himself if he gets another seizure. 

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna