Breeder fined $180k for not taking good care of dogs

Several dogs, including this bulldog, were found with severe generalised skin disease and poor body condition during a surprise AVA inspection at Top Breed Pet Farm in Pasir Ris on March 9 last year.
Several dogs, including this bulldog, were found with severe generalised skin disease and poor body condition during a surprise AVA inspection at Top Breed Pet Farm in Pasir Ris on March 9 last year.PHOTO: AVA

He is also disqualified from carrying out animal-related businesses for six months

A dog breeder has been hit with a hefty fine for failing to ensure the well-being of eight breeding dogs under his care.

During a surprise inspection by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), several canines were found with severe generalised skin disease and poor body condition.

Edwin Tan Guowei, now 29, who ran Top Breed Pet Farm in Pasir Ris Farmway 2, was fined $180,000 yesterday after pleading guilty last month to six counts of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the dogs were protected from, and diagnosed for, any significant injuries or diseases.

This is the highest fine imposed on an accused person for committing animal cruelty and welfare related offences. Another two counts for similar offences and three other animal-related charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Two of the dogs found during the inspection have since died but it could not be ascertained if their deaths were due to his lack of care.

Tan will be jailed for a year if he is unable to pay the full fine. He was also disqualified from carrying out any animal-related businesses for six months. This is the first time a disqualification order has been issued for animal-related businesses.

Tan still has about 180 dogs in his possession and the court ordered him to either sell or rehome them within two months. He cannot hand over the dogs to the AVA.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Selene Yap said that Top Breed Pet Farm performed activities such as breeding and selling puppies, and Tan had been its licensee since 2015. On March 9 last year, a surprise inspection found that five male and three female breeding dogs were in poor condition.

For instance, according to AVA veterinarian Dr Javan Fan, a male bulldog had right eye corneal swelling and thickened skin with scabs over its head and body.

A male husky had poor body condition with muscle wastage and open wounds on its left hind leg.

DPP Yap told District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan that one of the female shih tzus had a discoloured right eye with alopecia or hair loss.

She said: "The accused was instructed to take the dogs to the vet for treatment immediately and to produce the vet report during the next inspection."

Dr Fan later conducted a follow-up inspection of the dogs on July 13 last year. According to his observation, three of the dogs, including the bulldog, showed some improvement. However, the shih tzu and the husky could not be inspected as they had died.

Before handing out the sentence, Judge Shaiffudin noted that Tan chose to manage their injuries and diseases by himself. "The reports of the veterinarian on the conditions of the dogs showed that this measure was grossly inadequate."

Separately, a 43-year-old man was jailed for 30 weeks yesterday for animal cruelty and smuggling 11 puppies into Singapore.

Ravichandran Muthusamy was driving a Malaysia-registered car at the Woodlands Checkpoint at around 9pm on March 23 when Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officers found puppies hidden in a modified fuel tank.

In a statement yesterday, the AVA said: "Ravichandran had been commissioned to smuggle the puppies to an unknown person in Singapore. There was no food or water provided for the puppies in the modified compartment of the car, which was cramped and had limited space for (them) to move." The 11 puppies are now being cared for and quarantined at AVA's facilities.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2017, with the headline 'Breeder fined $180k for not taking good care of dogs'. Print Edition | Subscribe