SINGAPORE: A woman was fined S$5,000 and banned from owning pets for a year on Wednesday (Jul 28) for abandoning her 16-year-old unlicensed dog beside a rubbish bin.
Tan Siew Hoon, 69, pleaded guilty to a charge each of abandoning a black poodle cross named Miko and keeping a dog without a licence. A third charge was considered in sentencing.
She told the judge that she doted on the dog and spent a lot of effort caring for it. She added that her husband fell down in the toilet and died about half a year before she abandoned the dog.
The court heard that the National Parks Board's (NParks) Animal & Veterinary Service arm received information on Oct 15 last year about an abandoned dog.
It was left in a pink carrier bag by a rubbish bin on the ground floor of Block 709, Hougang Avenue 2.
The dog was rescued by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), and Tan was identified as its owner.
She said she left the bag containing Miko near the lift and admitted she did not report losing a dog. It was clear she intended to abandon the dog, the court heard.
The dog was examined by SPCA and found to suffer from several health conditions, including loss of fur and matted hair all over its body. Its eyes were blocked by matted hair so it was unable to open them, its eyes were cloudy and shrunken, and overgrown nails were observed on all four legs, causing a stiff gait and crusty skin.
Miko is now under foster care, said the NParks prosecutor. He added that most of Miko's conditions were treatable if grooming was carried out.
In mitigation, Tan told the court that she had kept the dog for 16 years after her daughter brought it home one day. A colleague or friend of her daughter had given her the dog, said Tan.
"We all loved him," said Tan via an interpreter. "I always spend a lot of effort on him ... I doted on him a lot."
She claimed she spent two days a week showering the dog, but the judge told her Miko was found with very overgrown nails and other conditions.
Tan then said her husband fell down in the toilet and died about half a year before she abandoned the dog. She said she was busy with matters concerning her late husband, but insisted she fed Miko every day.
"I had no mood to go to work," she said.
The prosecutor said that pets are for life and cannot be discarded.
For abandoning her pet, Tan could have been jailed up to a year, fined up to S$10,000, or both. For keeping a dog without a licence, she could have been fined up to S$5,000.