SINGAPORE: A first-time dog owner was fined S$10,000 on Wednesday (Jan 15) for causing pain to his pet poodle, after a neighbour filmed an incident of the abuse and alerted authorities.
He was also banned from owning any animals for a year.
Chen Xin, 38, pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary pain to his female pet poodle on two occasions in February and March last year.
The court heard that a resident living near Chen's home in Yishun witnessed the two incidents of animal cruelty that took place at a garden there.
The person filmed what happened on a mobile phone and both incidents were reported to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore for investigations.
Officers visited Chen's home two days after the second incident on Mar 9, 2019, and identified him and his dog as the ones recorded in the videos given to them.
Further investigations revealed that Chen was walking his dog at the garden near his block at 10pm on Feb 15 last year when he suddenly pulled the dog's leash, causing it to move backwards for about a metre.
He also pulled the leash suddenly and violently, causing it to move backwards about 2m.
A few weeks later on Mar 9, 2019, Chen was walking his dog in the garden in the evening when he kicked the dog and lifted it off a seat by its leash and onto the ground.
He also swung the dog by its leash from the ground up onto the seat and grabbed the dog by its neck, pinning it down for a few seconds.
Chen, who was unrepresented, pleaded guilty to the two charges.
The prosecutor from the National Parks Board asked for a S$10,000 fine to be imposed, and for Chen to be disqualified from owning animals for a year.
He told the court that the dog has been rehomed, and suffered no permanent injuries.
Speaking through a Mandarin interpreter, Chen said he was deeply remorseful for his actions, and said his dog was "rushing" so he tried to pull it back to walk with him, causing "a bit of a struggle".
He said he had used only light force to pin the poodle down and for only a "very short" time.
The prosecutor responded that evidence showed Chen was busy using his mobile phone on both occasions.
"It seems that he didn't give much attention to the dog," he said.
Chen replied that he did pay attention to it and did not always focus on his phone.
He elaborated that he had "committed this mistake ... because I didn't know the boundaries".
"It was my first time owning a pet," he said. "I do not know how to train the dog."
He asked the judge if there was a system conducting training for new pet owners, and the prosecutor suggested for Chen to consult local animal welfare groups.
For causing unnecessary pain to an animal under the Animals and Birds Act, he could have been jailed for up to 18 months, fined a maximum S$15,000, or both.