Man jailed 20 months for animal cruelty that led to two dogs dying

Yeo Poh Kwee was given the maximum 18 months' jail for animal cruelty, and two months for abandoning his brown pet poodle, Yoyi without reasonable excuse on Dec 21, 2016.
Yeo Poh Kwee was given the maximum 18 months' jail for animal cruelty, and two months for abandoning his brown pet poodle, Yoyi without reasonable excuse on Dec 21, 2016.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A man ran down almost 20 floors of an HDB staircase with his dog leashed and tied to his body, causing significant injury and its subsequent death.

Yeo Poh Kwee's wanton treatment of his brown pet poodle, named Yoyi, caused the dog to bang against the walls, floors and stairs along his way down.

The 46-year-old started from the 38th floor and stopped running when he came to the 19th floor when he realised that Yoyi's hind legs were bleeding.

He unleashed the dog and abandoned it at the staircase landing between the 18th and 19th floors. He then went home.

On Thursday (Oct 19), Yeo, a driver, was given the maximum 18 months' jail for animal cruelty, and two months for abandoning Yoyi without reasonable excuse on Dec 21, 2016.

He was also given 12 months' jail for another count of animal cruelty by failing to bring another dog, an injured male toy poodle named Brownie, to see a veterinarian for treatment which resulted in its death. Brownie's owner was Ms Dawn Seet Woon Qi, 28.

As the two sentences are consecutive, Yeo's total sentence was 20 months' jail, which was backdated to Oct 11. This is the longest sentence meted out under the amended Animal and Birds Act which came into force in 2015.

District Judge Eddy Tham also banned him from owning any animal for 12 months - the maximum - from the date of his release from prison.

Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority prosecutor Yap Teck Chuan said last week that Yeo had brought Yoyi out for a walk at about 7am on Dec 21 with the intention of abandoning it.

He claimed that he was stressed because his neighbours had complained about Yoyi's incessant barking during his absence.

As he was walking around, he came to Block 55, Teban Gardens Road, which is in a relatively new HDB estate, and planned to leave Yoyi at the highest 38th floor.

When he arrived there with the dog, he began running down the stairs at high speed by jumping two to three steps at a time with Yoyi still attached to him.

A Bangladeshi sweeper saw blood stains on the staircase walls on the 24th and 21st floors and informed his supervisor.

The court heard that blood stains were found on the walls, floors and staircases from the 29th floor all the way down to the 19th floor, where Yoyi's body was found.

Judge Tham said Yeo had not only abandoned the dog but had also cruelly inflicted tremendous suffering and pain to the animal leading to its death.

Judging from the injuries found to almost every part of Yoyi's body, it was unlikely that the dog would have survived for long, he said.

The maximum penalty for abandoning an animal is a $10,000 fine and 12 months' jail.

In the other case, Mr Yap said Yeo responded to Ms Seet's Facebook post to rehome her toy poodle on Nov 18 the same year. Ms Seet, who had another dog at home, handed her dog to Yeo three days later.

That evening (Nov 21), she called him to check on her dog. At first Yeo said he had no issue and then claimed that the dog had turned aggressive and had bitten his fingers.

He also claimed that the dog got stuck in between the toilet pipe and wall and injured the left side of its nose.

Ms Seet asked him to bring the dog to a veterinarian immediately, but he declined. He claimed that the dog was bleeding and its body was covered in pee and poo, and that he needed to shower and clean it.

The next day, when Ms Seet found out that Yeo still had not brought the dog to the vet, she suggested doing it herself but Yeo gave her all sorts of excuses to avoid her visit.

That evening, Yeo told her that Brownie had died.

Ms Seet and her husband, together with two of her friends, went to Yeo's flat and saw Brownie's body in a blue plastic bag wrapped in a towel. The couple lodged a police report as they suspected foul play. An autopsy showed that the dog had multiple injuries.