Woman fined for abandoning 16-year-old neglected dog beside rubbish bin

SINGAPORE: A woman was fined S $ 5,000 and a year-long pet ban on Wednesday (July 28) for abandoning her 16-year-old unlicensed dog next to a trash can.

Tan Siew Hoon, 69, pleaded guilty to giving up a black poodle cross named Miko and keeping an unlicensed dog. A third charge was considered in the verdict.

She told the judge that she loved the dog and went out of her way to look after him. She added that her husband fell in the toilet and died about six months before she left the dog.

The court heard that the National Parks Board (NParks) Animal and Veterinary Service received information about an abandoned dog on October 15 last year.

It was left in a pink tote bag from a trash can on the first floor of Block 709, 2 Hougang Avenue.

The dog was rescued by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Tan was identified as the owner.

She said she left the bag with Miko near the elevator and admitted that she had not reported losing a dog. It was clear that she wanted to abandon the dog, the court heard.

The dog was examined by the SPCA and was found to suffer from several health conditions, including loss of fur and matted hair all over its body. His eyes were blocked by matted hair so that he could not open them, his eyes were cloudy and sunken, and overgrown nails were observed on all four legs, causing a stiff gait and crusty skin.

Miko is now in foster families, said the NParks public prosecutor. He added that most of Miko’s illnesses are treatable if care is provided.

As a mitigation, Tan told the court that she had kept the dog for 16 years after her daughter brought him home one day. A colleague or friend of her daughter gave her the dog, said Tan.

“We all loved him,” Tan said through an interpreter. “I always try hard on him … I love him very much.”

She claimed she spent two days a week showering the dog, but the judge told her that Miko was found with badly overgrown nails and other ailments.

Tan then said that her husband fell into the toilet and died about half a year before she left the dog. She said she was busy with her late husband’s affairs but insisted on feeding Miko every day.

“I didn’t feel like going to work,” she said.

The prosecutor said pets are lifelong and cannot be thrown away.

For leaving her pet behind, Tan could have been sentenced to up to a year in prison, a fine of up to SGD 10,000, or both. She could have been fined up to S $ 5,000 for keeping a dog without a license.