Pet dog infested with maggots: Retiree fined $7,000

Quek did not seek treatment for his son's injured pet shih tzu, and called the SPCA to take it away to be euthanised. Vets estimated that it had probably been infected by maggots for at least 10 days. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Quek did not seek treatment for his son's injured pet shih tzu, and called the SPCA to take it away to be euthanised. Vets estimated that it had probably been infected by maggots for at least 10 days. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

THE shih tzu had been his child's pet for 13 years, but when hundreds of maggots ate away part of its face, Quek Ah Nguang did not take it to the vet.

The 64-year-old had thought there was little point in getting the pooch treated as he was moving from a landed property to a Housing Board flat in about two months' time. He had planned to get rid of the dog by sending it to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

But because of the dog's maggot infestation, the retiree called the SPCA to take it away to be euthanised.

Vets at the SPCA found the neglected animal in a horrific state.

Yesterday, Quek was fined $7,000 for causing unnecessary suffering to the male shih tzu by failing to take it to a vet for treatment of its maggot-infested wound.

The vets estimated that there were between 200 and 300 maggots, which had eaten all the tissue and bone structures around the dog's right eye.

There were even maggots residing in a hole in its chin.

The dog had probably been infected by the maggots for at least 10 days, the vets reckoned. It also reeked of urine, and its fur was matted and its skin inflamed.

It was euthanised the next day to put it out of its misery.

The dog's name was not stated in the court documents.

Pleading for leniency, Quek said he was sorry to have neglected the dog, and added that he was moving house at that time and was very busy.

An SPCA rescue officer, who picked up the dog on Jan 10 from the house in Burgundy Crescent near Bukit Batok, noticed it had a big wound on its face that was infested with maggots.

Investigations by the Agri- Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) revealed that Quek's wife bought the dog about 13 years ago for their son.

Although the animal was registered under her name, Quek looked after it with the help of their domestic helper. The maid took it for walks, but it was also allowed to roam around the neighbourhood on its own.

Quek told investigators that the animal could have suffered an injury while it was outside.

The maid noticed that the dog's right eye was red, swollen and itchy for about a week. It was also scratching the eye frequently, and she told Quek about it.

But he did nothing until he called the SPCA on Jan 10 to pick it up for euthanasia.

Prosecuting officer Yap Teck Chuan for the AVA asked the district court to impose a stiff fine.

He said that Quek had "abdicated his responsibility to the dog, choosing not to take it to a vet for treatment, even though it was in pain and suffering from a big maggot wound on the right side of the face, and other complications associated with the injury".

Quek, who pleaded guilty, could have been fined up to $10,000, or jailed for up to a year, or both.

khush@sph.com.sg