SINGAPORE: A Malaysian man was on Wednesday (Dec 28) sentenced to eight months’ jail for illegally importing 23 puppies, 11 of which later succumbed to illness and died. Yeun Jian Iun, 21, will serve a concurrent four-month sentence for animal cruelty.
Yeun and his Singaporean accomplice, Cheow Yon Siong, 51, had tried to smuggle live puppies into Singapore on board Cheow's yacht on Oct 28, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) said in a statement.
At around 4.15pm, the Singapore-registered yacht was stopped by Police Coast Guard officers for a routine inspection off Changi General Purposes Anchorage.
Officers found the puppies - comprising nine poodles, five shih tzus, four pomeranians, three French bulldogs, and two golden retrievers - kept in cramped conditions in six pet carriers, which were hidden under bath towels.
The men did not have AVA import permits or health certificates for the puppies.
AVA added that its investigators found that the puppies were not given any food or water during their journey.
Some of the puppies showed signs of lethargy, lack of appetite and diarrhoea, said AVA, adding that the puppies’ condition did not improve despite veterinary treatment.
11 of the puppies succumbed to illness and died.
While the case was being investigated, the 12 surviving puppies were cared for and quarantined at AVA’s Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station (SAQS). They were kept under observation for signs of infectious or contagious diseases, especially rabies – a disease which is fatal to animals and humans.
Pet carriers holding puppies on deck. (Photo: AVA)
AVA noted that animals that are smuggled into Singapore are of unknown health status, and that in the case of dogs and cats, the foremost concern is rabies. It added that Singapore has been free from rabies for over 60 years, but warned against complacency as the disease is endemic in the region.
To import an animal into Singapore, the animal needs to meet AVA’s import conditions, including vaccination and health certification requirements. Doing so without an AVA permit carries a maximum penalty of S$10,000 and/or jail of up to a year.
Cheow was charged for the same offence as Yeun, but intends to appeal. His case will be mentioned again on Jan 18 next year.