Woman caught trying to smuggle 13 live puppies in car into Singapore

Black cloth bag containing live puppies hidden in the glove compartment. -- PHOTO: ICA
Black cloth bag containing live puppies hidden in the glove compartment. -- PHOTO: ICA
Black cloth bag containing live puppies hidden under the driver's seat. -- PHOTO: ICA
Black cloth bag containing live puppies hidden under the driver's seat. -- PHOTO: ICA
All the 13 puppies uncovered. -- PHOTO: ICA
All the 13 puppies uncovered. -- PHOTO: ICA

SINGAPORE - A 33-year-old Singaporean woman was arrested at Woodlands Checkpoint last Tuesday for attempting to smuggle 13 live puppies into Singapore.

The puppies were discovered during a routine check at the checkpoint. They were hidden in three black bags under the driver's seat, the front passenger's seat as well as the glove compartment of the Singapore-registered car.

The puppies are currently being quarantined at the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority's (AVA) Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station, to be observed for clinical signs of infectious or contagious diseases.

The case is still under investigation.

The AVA, together with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, issued a public advisory on Thursday, reminding travellers against bringing live animals, birds and insects into the country without a permit. The authorities stated that "animals smuggled into Singapore are of unknown health status and may introduce zoonotic diseases, such as rabies".

The AVA noted that it has stringent measures in place should there be a rabies outbreak in Singapore. Earlier this month, it conducted its first emergency preparedness exercise to test its rabies control policies and rabies operations plans.

The authority has also acquired 5,000 doses of animal rabies vaccines from the World Organisation for Animal Health. An additional 345,000 doses of this vaccine from the organisation's vaccine bank are available for rapid deployment to Singapore.