Puppy's death: Mediation brings saga to an end

It took a 12-hour mediation session last week to finally bring closure to a five-month saga over whether Tammy the puppy should have been put to sleep. -- PHOTO: PRISCILLA TAN 
It took a 12-hour mediation session last week to finally bring closure to a five-month saga over whether Tammy the puppy should have been put to sleep. -- PHOTO: PRISCILLA TAN 

It took a 12-hour mediation session last week to finally bring closure to a five-month saga over whether Tammy the puppy should have been put to sleep.

Both sides - the woman who adopted the seven-month-old mongrel before euthanising it and the animal welfare volunteer who found it a home - agreed that re-homing the animal would have been a better option.

The saga first made waves when the volunteer, Ms Ada Ong, posted Tammy's story on Facebook on Oct 11 last year, four days after the dog was put down at a clinic in Clementi.

The post, shared more than 900 times, detailed how the puppy was euthanised despite Ms Ong's willingness to take it back.

Animal lovers were outraged that a healthy animal was killed. Ms Alison McElwee, the British woman who adopted the animal, said Tammy was aggressive and had bitten her four-year-old daughter and two adults. She came under attack online.

Law Minister K. Shanmugam, who is known for his love of animals, then weighed in though a Facebook post on Oct 23. He wrote how he had suggested to Ms Ong, a 35-year-old assistant project manager, to "get a lawyer to pursue the matter" after meeting her.

Both parties engaged lawyers, and last Friday, met at 9.30am to mediate the issue. The session ended only at 9.30pm.

A joint statement was issued yesterday by their lawyers, with both sides agreeing to disagree over what was said during a telephone conversation in early October to discuss Tammy's fate.

Ms Ong's recollection was that she had told Ms McElwee she was prepared to take the puppy, Tammy, back. But she needed time to find a suitable boarding place with the intention of finding it a new home.

But Ms McElwee said she remembered the likely outcome was "placing Tammy in a long-term boarding place" - something she did not consider humane.

The joint statement also said that Ms McElwee supported the work done by animal welfare groups, and she herself had participated in adoption drives. It was through such an event that she came to adopt Tammy.

"In hindsight, both parties agree that re-homing Tammy through Ada may have been the better option," read the statement. It ended by saying that there will be "no further comments" from either party on the episode.