SINGAPORE: A man left a dog he had adopted in a filthy cage placed in a room littered with dog excrement. It was discovered malnourished and near death.
For animal abuse, Malaysian Chan Kean Yap, 30, was fined S$4,000 on Wednesday (Jun 3). He was also banned from owning pets for a year.
Chan pleaded guilty to one charge under the Animals and Birds Act of failing to ensure that his pet, an English Bulldog, had adequate and suitable food and water.
A second charge of keeping the dog at a fish farm without a licence was taken into consideration.
The court heard that Chan, who is also a Singapore permanent resident, adopted the male dog in 2017 and kept it at Dreamfish, a fish farm where he worked.
In May 2019, the lease of the farm expired and Chan stopped working there.
Two months later, a National Parks Board (NParks) officer inspected Dreamfish at 221 Neo Tiew Crescent when he heard an animal whining.
He found a malnourished brown and white English Bulldog kept in a cage in a room. The floor was littered with dog faeces and urine, said the prosecutor.
Chan was contacted and confirmed that the dog was his. The officer told him that the dog was in bad condition and needed immediate attention, before reporting the matter to the Animal & Veterinary Service.
Chan later surrendered the dog to NParks.
An examination found that the dog scored one out of nine in a body condition scale, the lowest next to death. Its ribs, spine and bones were prominent from a distance, with no discernible body fat and with obvious loss of muscle mass, likely due to severely inadequate feeding or underlying chronic illness.
"If not for the discovery by the inspecting officer, the said dog might have died as a result if it was left untreated at the premises," said the prosecutor.
The dog has since been rehomed, and has recovered to a satisfactory condition.
The prosecutor pressed for a "high fine" to deter like-minded offenders.
Chan said he has left the fish farm and cannot find a stable job. He added that he has children to support and his wife's job is currently affected so it's "quite a hard time for me".
He apologised and said he hoped for leniency.
For not giving the dog adequate food and water, Chan could have been jailed for up to a year, fined up to S$10,000, or both.