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Full-time national serviceman punished for video post on abandoned dog

Published on Feb 25, 2014 3:19 PM
 
Four of five dogs taken from the camp that are now under the care of Animal Lovers League. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

A FULL-TIME national serviceman (NSF) who filmed a video of an abandoned dog tied up in a military bathroom before sending it to an animal activist has been punished by the army.

On Jan 14, welfare group Animal Lovers League posted a 21-second clip on Facebook showing a black dog cowering in what appears to be a shower stall and with a taut white rope tied around its neck - preventing it from moving or lying down.

The Straits Times understands that the NSF was charged with unauthorised videography and unauthorised disclosure of information to a third-party.

His father, Mr Simon Spencer, refused to give his son's name but told The Straits Times that the teenager had taken the video and sent a copy to Animal Lovers League founder Cathy Strong.

Ms Strong later posted the clip on Facebook and it attracted more than 840 shares in a day.

Although the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) could not confirm it, The Straits Times understands that the lieutenant-colonel who allegedly tied up the dog at Pasir Ris camp has been referred for counselling, along with a warrant officer.

Mr Spencer, 52, said his son has been punished with 21 days of suspension of leave and he is also required to check in with the military police every two hours. The punishment started yesterday.

"Protocol is protocol and my son was wrong on this front," he said. "But I was hoping they would overlook this in light of humanity and justice."

Mindef, which had been probing allegations of animal abuse at the camp, released a statement to The Straits Times yesterday which said it has concluded the investigations and found there was no abuse of the dog.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), which collaborated with Mindef in the investigation, said: "AVA had collected the dog and it was examined upon arrival at the AVA pound and no injuries were found on the dog."

In a previous statement, Mindef said preliminary findings had revealed that "stray dogs around Pasir Ris Camp have been biting members of the public and our servicemen".

It had also said the army "does not condone abuse to animals and disciplinary action will be taken against any servicemen found to have abused animals".

But Ms Strong, who is looking for an adopter for the dog in the video, said: "Where Mindef and AVA are concerned, if there are no scars on a dog, then it's not considered abuse, even though it experienced real fear. I think that's wrong."

rachelay@sph.com.sg

Background story

BREACH OF PROTOCOL

Protocol is protocol and my son was wrong on this front. But I was hoping they would overlook this in light of humanity and justice.

- Mr Simon Spencer, whose son had taken the video of a dog tied up in a military bathroom