Man fined $6,000 for forging pet vaccination cert and running pet shop without a licence

Koh Wen Zhu, 30, admitted to forging a Pet Vaccination Certificate.
Koh Wen Zhu, 30, admitted to forging a Pet Vaccination Certificate.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A man was fined a total of $6,000 on Tuesday (Sept 1) for making a false pet vaccination certificate and running a pet shop from his home without a licence.

Koh Wen Zhu, 30, admitted to forging a Pet Vaccination Certificate with the intention of creating the impression that it was signed by a veterinarian, and using it to make Ms Wong Baoling enter into a contract for the sale of a toy poodle on or before March 20, 2013.

He also admitted to using his flat in Punggol Drive as a pet shop without a licence between August 2012 and March 2013.

The court heard that for seven months, he bought and sold puppies online. He kept mainly Shih Tzu, toy poodle and Japanese Spitz breeds in his home for no longer than two weeks for each puppy.

He posted online advertisements to sell the puppies and operated under various pseudonyms and mobile numbers.

He sold 10 puppies online over the seven-month period. In two of these cases, he used false vaccination certificates to induce the buyers to buy the puppies. The puppies sold were subsequently diagnosed with parvovirus, a highly contagious disease.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Eunice Lim said Ms Wong paid $700 for her two-month-old toy poodle from a man called "Wee Kia" in March 2013.

"Wee Kia" told her that the puppy had been vaccinated and showed her the certificate purportedly signed by a veterinarian.

After Ms Wong took the puppy home, she observed that the puppy was lethargic and was refusing food.

On March 23 that year, she took it to a veterinarian, who diagnosed the puppy with parvovirus. The puppy was hospitalised and subsequently recovered.

Ms Wong spent almost $3,000 for diagnosis and treating the puppy, which was also not microchipped.

She tried repeatedly to contact "Wee Kia", who is, in fact, Koh, to no avail.

In another case that was taken into consideration, Ms Lim said the owner paid $640 to Koh for a Japanese Spitz which also tested positive for parvovirus within seven days. The owner spent about $2,500 for diagnosis and treating the puppy.

Koh, who paid back the two owners $700 and $640, could have been jailed for up to four years and/or fined for forgery. The maximum penalty for the other offence is a $5,000 fine.

elena@sph.com.sg