SINGAPORE: There was no mishandling of the snake captured last month outside Tang Plaza by Anticimex employees, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) following an investigation.
In an email addressed to the pest company seen by Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday (Feb 20), AVA said it had completed its investigation into the incident.
READ: 'No malice or cruelty': Pest control company Anticimex rejects claims of mishandling snake at Tang Plaza
“AVA has completed investigation into the case and we have established that there was no mishandling by your staff who were activated to catch the python outside Tangs Plaza on Jan 29, 2019," read the email, which was dated Feb 11.
The case came to light after a video on social media showed an Anticimex employee, Mr Mohd Farhan, stepping on a 3m-long python while attempting to capture it.
The video also showed Mr Farhan being bitten by the snake. He went through a minor operation to remove the embedded snake's tooth, the pest control company had said.
AVA said in the email that it was "unfortunate" that one of Anticimex's employees, Mr Farhan, was bitten in the process. "Hence, he had to resort to using necessary force to restrain the python," it added.
"Mr Farhan had acted in good faith to prevent further harm and injuries to himself as well as the public who were in close proximity," said AVA in the email to Anticimex.
In response to Channel NewsAsia's queries on the investigation, AVA replied: "The snake was at a location with high human traffic. Our investigations found that the handlers present removed it as promptly and practicably as possible."
Anticimex said it was pleased that the authority had completed the investigations into its employees' actions.
"We thank them for their professional handling of this matter," said the pest company in a statement.
"Our team at Anticimex will continue to remain focused on our daily business, working with the experts within our field and avoiding distractions of commentary from spectators," it said.
The company added that it will continue to "empower our employees to take immediate and correct actions when needed to prevent and protect Singaporeans in their daily lives".
When AVA initially announced that it was investigating the alleged mishandling of the snake, the authority had said: "Cruelty to animals is an offence under the Animals and Birds Act. AVA has issued a set of guidelines on the proper handling of snakes to all pest control and wildlife management agencies in Singapore.
"For example, snakes should not be unduly harmed by the persons handling it and appropriate equipment should be used to catch them."
In response, Anticimex had said that the workers involved "used all necessary parts of their bodies to safely relocate a very large snake in a public place".
Not restraining the reptile by any means available when it attempted to avoid capture "could have had disastrous consequences" in crowded areas like Tang Plaza, added the pest company.