Death of 'aggressive' puppy draws online flak

Tammy was put down on Oct 7. Its adopter said it had bitten her and her two children. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF PRISCILLA TAN
Tammy was put down on Oct 7. Its adopter said it had bitten her and her two children. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF PRISCILLA TAN

"Justice for Tammy" is what a group of indignant animal lovers in Singapore is calling for.

As a show of support for the seven-month-old mongrel which was put down for aggression, there was a flurry of activity on social media platform Facebook on Sunday night, when supporters updated their profile pictures with Tammy's photo and the slogan.

Netizens were reacting to news that the dog had been put to sleep by its adopter of four months, Ms Alison McElwee, on Oct 7.

Ms McElwee had said the animal was aggressive and had bitten her and her two children. Tammy was put down at a veterinary clinic in Sunset Way.

The Animal Clinic's managing director Lennie Lee said in a press statement that "the dog exhibited escalating aggression" during four visits made to the vet from June 6 for routine vaccinations and treatments for skin problems, and that "professional judgment" was used when the vet "agreed with the owner's request to put the dog to sleep".

"At all times, we acted professionally and followed all protocol in coming to that decision," he said.

But for Mr Ricky Yeo, a professional dog trainer who had Tammy for three sessions between July and August, news that the dog was aggressive came as a surprise. "The family's safety is of paramount importance to me. but I honestly did not detect any signs of aggression during the training sessions," he said.

The incident has angered some netizens, who say a healthy puppy was killed without considering alternatives that could have saved its life.

"I fail to understand why you had to resort to... 'get(ting) rid' of a precious life when the... (rehomer) already stated that they would... accept Tammy back from you in the first place," said Facebook user Gina Cheng, commenting on a post telling Tammy's story.

The post was uploaded by Tammy's rehomer, assistant project manager Ada Ong, 35, last Friday.

Ms McElwee had adopted Tammy from Ms Ong in June. The post has been shared over 700 times on Facebook and on other Singapore-based sites.

While the original post did not include Ms McElwee's personal details, netizens who found where she was employed also took to the company's Facebook page to lambast her actions.

Ms McElwee declined to comment when contacted.

audreyt@sph.com.sg