Owner stands by decision to put down dog

Tammy was put down on Oct 7.
Tammy was put down on Oct 7.PHOTO: COURTESY OF PRISCILLA TAN

She says it was not wanted back, but her text messages tell different story

A woman who had her seven- month-old mongrel Tammy put down for aggression has defended her decision, claiming the person she got it from did not want to take it back.

Ms Alison McElwee, who was criticised for ignoring the rehomer's pleas to return it, said in a statement: "The rehomer suggested placing (Tammy) in a long- term boarding home" and "did not want to take (it) back".

She alleged that Tammy bit her four-year-old daughter and two adults.

Ms McElwee said the "difficult decision" was made after "considering the safety of (her) two young children and the quality of life Tammy would have in a long-term boarding home". Tammy was put down on Oct 7.

However, Tammy's rehomer Ada Ong, 35, dismissed Ms McElwee's claim as "impossible", citing texts and the adoption agreement signed by Ms McElwee on June 1.

The agreement obtained by The Straits Times states that Ms Ong had to be notified if Tammy could not be cared for.

Ms Ong said: "I said I'll take Tammy back no matter what. But as she was almost full-grown, I would have to board Tammy until a new home was found. She said she would discuss the matter with her husband before telling me when I can take Tammy back."

This took place in the first week of October. On Oct 6, Ms Ong sent Ms McElwee a text message asking if Tammy could be sterilised before boarding. There was no reply.

Ms Cathy Strong, founder of Animal Lovers League (Pets Villa) where Tammy was to be boarded, confirmed that Ms Ong had approached her.

"I only asked that the dog be vaccinated and sterilised first," Ms Strong said. "Why would Ada ask if she could board Tammy if she had refused to take her back?"

On Oct 8, Ms McElwee told Ms Ong via text message that she had found "somewhere" for Tammy and that "she left yesterday afternoon". She also said that the family "will not put (Tammy) in boarding, so we found her a new home". Ms Ong was then told to "leave it at that".

A worried Ms Ong made two trips to the McElwees' Clementi home on Oct 8 and 9 before discovering that Tammy had been put down days earlier.

She posted Tammy's story on Facebook on Oct 11, and it has since been shared 900 times.

The McElwees stated that they "regret the uproar this episode has caused" and are "concerned by the reaction from certain members of the public".

The statement added: "They ask that the public respect their perspective and stop threatening their and their children's safety - whether in person or online."

audreyt@sph.com.sg