SINGAPORE: A woman was fined S$4,000 on Wednesday (Feb 17) and banned from owning pets for a year after she abandoned 16 of her cats near her Punggol flat.
Nur Hajjar Osman, 35, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Animals and Birds Act for causing her cats to be abandoned by instructing a man to help her release them. Another 14 charges were considered.
The court heard that Nur Hajjar owned 16 cats in a flat in Sumang Walk. In late February 2019, she asked her co-accused Muhammad Haidhar Zulkifli to help her release the felines as she was "unable to take care of them".
Haidhar agreed and arrived at her flat at 1am on Mar 1, 2019. He carried the cats down in five cages and unloaded them onto a lorry he had borrowed.
After driving around, he decided to abandon them at a block in Sumang Lane. After releasing the cats, Haidhar drove away.
All 16 cats were later rescued, said the prosecutor. He sought a fine of S$4,000 and for Nur Hajjar to be banned from owning any pet for a year.
"Her action is totally unacceptable and clearly shows she had disregarded her duty as a pet owner," he said.
"Pet owners have to know that abandoned pets are unlikely to survive on their own if not rescued."
He added that there is "no excuse for anyone to abandon their pets".
"Pets are for life," he said.
Nur Hajjar asked for a light fine, saying she was working on a part-time basis and only had S$2,000 on her.
Haidhar faces similar charges and is set to plead guilty next month.
For each charge of causing her pet to be abandoned, Nur Hajjar could have been jailed for up to a year, fined up to S$10,000, or both.