SINGAPORE - A Malaysian man was sentenced on Thursday (June 9) to six months in jail for smuggling puppies and animal cruelty.
Muhammad Adam Yap Abdullah, 42, was given a six-month jail term for importing six puppies without import permits, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) said in a press release.
He was also given three months for "subjecting the puppies to unnecessary suffering or pain".
The two sentences will run concurrently.
The puppies were found on May 19 when Muhammad attempted to drive from Johor to Singapore via the Woodlands Checkpoint at about 11.15pm.
Immigration officers were conducting checks on his car when they found four poodles and two shih tzus hidden in a modified compartment beneath the rear passenger seat.
The case was referred to AVA for investigation.
The puppies were cramped into the small compartment without any food and water, AVA said.
They were placed on a towel with ice in plastic bottles and newspapers beneath it to keep them cool. There were also two hoses for air circulation running to the engine compartment.
The six puppies are being cared for and are in quarantine.
They will be quarantined for at least 100 days to ensure they do not have rabies and other diseases.
"As rabies has a long incubation period, the puppies will be quarantined for minimum of 100 days. The puppies' health is being closely monitored," said Dr Jan Yong, deputy director of AVA's quarantine department.
Rabies, a fatal viral disease, is a "foremost concern" in the case of dogs and cats, AVA said.
It can be passed to humans by the bite of a rabid animal. Singapore has been free from rabies for since 1953 but the disease is endemic in the region.
The dogs may be put up for adoption later.
"We will then work with our rehoming partners to rehome those that are of suitable health and temperament," Dr Yong said.
To import an animal into Singapore, the animal needs to meet AVA's import conditions, including vaccination and health certification requirements.
Depending on the country of export, certain animals will have to undergo quarantine.
The importation of any animals without an AVA permit carries a maximum fine of $10,000, and the importer may also face imprisonment of up to one year.