SINGAPORE: A woman was on Tuesday (May 25) fined S$800 and banned from owning pets for six months for abandoning two terrapins at a block in Punggol.
Ong Guan Choo, 61, explained to the court that her mother-in-law had bought the red-eared sliders for her grandchildren. After Ong's mother-in-law died, Ong cared for the terrapins until she moved to stay with one of her sons and found it troublesome to care for them.
The court heard that the National Parks Board received feedback in March last year that two terrapins were abandoned at a block in Sumang Lane.
Ong was identified through investigations and she admitted in her statement that she left the two live terrapins in a tank at a void deck.
Ong said her mother-in-law had bought them for her grandchildren, but that she died a few years ago.
Family members who visited the flat took turns to care for the terrapins, with Ong being the main caregiver.
After moving houses, Ong found it troublesome to resume caring for her terrapins and did not want to trouble her son to take care of them as he was busy with work.
She pleaded guilty to one charge of abandoning a terrapin without reasonable excuse, with a second similar charge taken into consideration.
The prosecutor sought a fine of S$1,000 and a six-month ban from owning any pets. She said there were no similar precedent cases for abandonment of terrapins, but said the fine should not differ too much from cases of abandonment of dogs and cats.
Speaking through a Mandarin interpreter, Ong asked for a lighter fine, saying she earned only about S$400 a month as a babysitter.
The penalties for abandoning an animal without reasonable cause or excuse under the Animals and Birds Act are a jail term of up to a year, a fine or up to S$10,000, or both. The maximum penalties are doubled for repeat offenders.