SINGAPORE: A dog abuser whose poodle died after he hit its head against a bathtub and showered it in cold water escaped jail on Tuesday (Oct 29) after a judge ruled that his acts were not deliberate or intended to cause suffering.
Yeo Wee Soon, a 48-year-old man who suffers from alcohol dependency and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, was sentenced to 150 hours of community service and was given a day reporting order for six months.
A day reporting order is a type of community-based sentence that requires an offender to report to a day reporting centre for monitoring, counselling and rehabilitation programmes.
He was banned from owning any animal for a year and will be placed on electronic monitoring. He will also have to continue with follow-up treatment for his mental condition and for his dependence on alcohol.
District Judge Eddy Tham said that there was, in his view, "no gratuitous violence" or cruelty displayed by Yeo.
"These acts were not deliberate or intended to create any pain or suffering on the animal, and his acts of trying to revive the dog by bathing it in cold water were consistent of him being in a panic and not being able to think clearly," he said.
Yeo had bought the dog To-Bi online a week before the incident and was washing faeces from its fur when the dog, which was more than two months old, struggled.
He then "tapped" it to discipline it, which the defence lawyer stressed was different from hitting it. Yeo tapped the dog harder a third time when it bit him, before the dog collapsed.
Yeo hit the dog's head against a bathtub in an attempt to revive it and placed it in ice water, before showering it.
It stopped moving and he placed the carcass in a pail, which he dropped into a river along Delta Avenue.
PROSECUTION HAD PUSHED FOR JAIL, CITING LACK OF REMORSE
The prosecution had maintained its position for two weeks' jail and the maximum 12 months' ban from owning any animal from the date of his release, but the defence had asked for a fine or a day reporting order.
The prosecutor said Yeo had displayed a "lack of remorse", adding that while his alcohol abuse was the root cause in this case, he displayed a lack of motivation for treatment.
Defence lawyer Charles Yeo said the jail term asked for was "quite shocking", referring to past cases as a benchmark.
He added that the harm in this case was neither for commercial purposes nor carried out in "a very gratuitous manner".
"The series of acts were not in any way callous or desiring to inflict unnecessary suffering as how the prosecution deems it to be," said the lawyer.
"But they were committed out of the sense of panic at the moment. Alcohol abuse is one causal factor but it is not the main or predominant causal factor."
He said that Yeo had decided to adopt a dog "due to his own alcohol-addled mind". After adopting the dog, he could not take care of it properly, due to "his own frailties and medical condition", said the lawyer.
For causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, Yeo could have been jailed for up to 18 months, fined up to S$15,000, or both.