SINGAPORE: An owner of a luxury pet hotel was fined S$2,500 on Wednesday (Apr 8) for using hotel premises as a pet shop to sell three pedigree cats for S$2,800 each.
Estelle Tayler, the 37-year-old owner of pet hotel The Wagington, admitted to one charge of using the 27B Loewen Road premises to sell two British shorthair and one Ragdoll cat when she had no licence to run the hotel as a pet shop.
Another charge was taken into consideration - that she had used the hotel premises to exhibit cats for customers to play with for S$15 an hour when she did not have the required licence.
The court heard that Tayler had eight cats in 2018 and kept them at the premises. She displayed photos on Facebook offering to sell them for S$2,800 each.
One buyer responded to the ad and bought two cats for S$5,600 from Tayler at the hotel, while a second buyer bought a British shorthair cat from her on the premises.
Tayler managed to sell three out of the five cats she advertised for sale, despite being aware that a licence was needed to sell them, said the prosecutor.
She had applied for the licence but her application was incomplete as she failed to submit further supporting documents, and did not follow up.
The case was brought to light after a tip-off.
The prosecutor asked for a fine of at least S$2,500, noting that Tayler had no previous convictions.
Tayler's lawyer said that all the eight cats were Tayler's personal pets, that she had imported from the United Kingdom from 2016.
"A lot of these cats were older. They were definitely not kittens," said the lawyer.
"The amount that she charged the new owners was just to cover the cost of her purchasing these cats and importing them from the UK, so there's no benefit to her."
Tayler made the news six years ago when her hotel opened in Tanglin and was touted as the first five-star dog hotel in Singapore.
An extension for cats was later added to the hotel, with features like classical music, designer beds and Swarovski crystal-studded dining ware.
For using the hotel as a pet shop to sell cats without the required licence, Tayler could have been fined up to S$5,000.