SINGAPORE - The Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) is investigating a case of animal abuse at dog training and daycare centre K9 Connection and has suspended the company from its list of accredited dog trainers since March 25.
In response to queries on a viral video that showed a dog being mistreated at the centre, AVS said on Thursday (July 14) that it is aware of the footage and does not condone the mistreatment of animals.
The two-minute clip dated March 20 this year shows a man hitting a brown mongrel with a metal food bowl while the animal cowers in a corner of a kennel with bright green walls.
The video was posted on the Facebook page of animal welfare group Chained Dog Awareness in Singapore on Wednesday and has since been viewed around 39,000 times.
The man is heard telling the dog: "Welcome to hell, my friend. Four weeks of hell, stupid idiot dog. Tonight you make a single noise, see what happens to you."
He then shouts Hokkien profanities at the dog and threatens to shove what looks like a metal rod in its face.
The man also accuses the dog of trying to bite him. "Xiao Hei will tell you how the f*** he suffer."
Xiao Hei is allegedly another dog under the man's care.
He then instructs the dog to sit and makes loud clashing noises before striking the dog three times with a metal bowl.
The dog is seen shrinking back in response and growling at the man.
K9 Connection did not respond to queries from The Straits Times.
The Straits Times could not locate the dog's owner, and AVS did not elaborate on the dog's condition.
Ms Aarthi Sankar, executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), said the organisation received several reports pertaining to this incident and is assisting in investigations.
She said: "We are deeply disturbed by the actions portrayed in the video as they are both abusive towards animals and insensitive towards humans.
"Based on the audio, we are also concerned that the perpetrator may have treated other animals under his care in a similar manner."
She added that SPCA has been alerted to a few instances of rough handling of animals by K9 Connection this year and that these cases have been escalated to the authorities.
Ms Sankar noted that pet guardians should do thorough research before selecting the right trainer.
"Avoid trainers who promise immediate results or who do not provide you with sufficient information about the training and curriculum," she advised.
She also urged pet owners to monitor their pet's well-being and look out for any sign of distress during training.
AVS, which is under the National Parks Board, said it takes all feedback received on animal cruelty seriously and urged members of the public to report suspected cases of abuse promptly via its website or on 1800-476-1600.
It added: "As with all investigations, all forms of evidence are critical to the process and photographic or video evidence provided by the public will help."
The information will be kept confidential, said AVS.
Those caught abusing animals can be charged under the Animals and Birds Act. If convicted, first-time offenders can be fined up to $15,000 and jailed for up to 18 months.