Review alleged dog abuse case, welfare groups urge

Four of five dogs taken from the Pasir Ris camp that are now under the care of Animal Lovers League. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG 
Four of five dogs taken from the Pasir Ris camp that are now under the care of Animal Lovers League. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG 

Unconvinced by a probe that found no sign of abuse, 10 animal welfare groups have appealed to the authorities to review a case of alleged dog abuse at a Pasir Ris army camp in January.

They have written to the Defence and National Development ministries to ask them to "redefine the parameters" of what constitutes animal abuse. They also asked to be included in future probes of animal abuse, according to the letter which The Straits Times saw last week.

The groups are referring to an incident in January in which a full-time National Serviceman took a video of a dog strung up in a camp bathroom and sent it to the Animal Lovers League to alert the group about possible abuse.

While the authorities led by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) found no signs of injury on the dog or proof of abuse, the welfare groups are unconvinced. They believe the definition of animal abuse has "negated the psychological distress the dog was subjected to".

Under the Animals and Birds Act, any person who subjects an animal to "unnecessary pain or suffering" is guilty of an offence. No explicit mention is made of psychological distress in the Act.

The groups hope the AVA reviews the findings of the Pasir Ris case with them and then readmits the evidence to the army.

AVA director of media and customer relations Elaine Pong has reiterated that there was no evidence of abuse. In such probes, AVA will check for physical signs of abuse or neglect. It also looks for signs of emotional abuse, she said in a response that was also sent to The Straits Times.

"In the case of the dog collected from Pasir Ris camp... it was in good condition, had no injuries and was easily approached," she added.

rachelay@sph.com.sg

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