SINGAPORE: The owner of the now-defunct Cuddles Cat Cafe was on Tuesday (Apr 18) sentenced to two weeks' jail for giving false information about the health of the cats on his premises.
Jonathan Tan Wei-De was also fined S$3,500 for failing to comply with licensing conditions, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said in a media release.
Tan's cat cafe was thrust in the spotlight in October 2014 when the AVA was alerted to allegations of mismanagement of diseased cats there.
He was also believed to have provided falsified cat health records when applying for a temporary licence with AVA to keep animals for public interaction on the premises, AVA said.
AVA investigators found that Tan had breached licensing conditions by not keeping the cats in good health, and not ensuring that the cats tested negative for toxoplasmosis - a disease which can affect animals and humans - before keeping them in the cafe. Tan was then required to cease operations at once, and remove all cats from the cafe.
AVA added that it subsequently referred the case to the police for investigation into the alleged provision of falsified information in the application.
Tan was sentenced to one week imprisonment each for two counts of giving false information to a public servant, and one week imprisonment for one count of attempting to cheat. The sentences will run consecutively.
Tan was also sentenced to one count of failing to comply with licensing conditions, leading to the fine - in default of two weeks' jail.
Five other counts on giving false information to a public servant were taken into consideration during sentencing, AVA said.
The cat cafe closed on Dec 18, 2014 and re-opened as an ice-cream cafe in February 2015.
AVA said it regulates pet cafes through licensing and routine unannounced inspections. "Pet cafés that fail to comply with our licensing conditions shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding S$5,000," it said. AVA also urged members of the public to provide feedback on animal welfare issues via its 24-hour hotline, 1800-476-1600.