Malaysian jailed for smuggling seven puppies and animal cruelty

SINGAPORE - An assistant manager of a pub was jailed for eight months on Thursday for smuggling seven puppies into Singapore and for animal cruelty.

Malaysian Mohamad Ashwin Nazri, 25, pleaded guilty to importing two Japanese Spitz, two golden retrievers and three poodles in a car from Malaysia without a licence on March 30.

He also admitted to failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that the puppies were not kept in confinement and transported in a manner or position that subjected them to unreasonable or unnecessary pain or suffering.

The puppies were sedated and stacked like "commodities" which restricted their movement, the court heard.

After he was detained at Woodlands checkpoint, one puppy died while the six gradually woke up from their sleep. They were likely sedated to prevent any movement and noise.

Another puppy later died and four others had to be euthanised as they had contracted an infectious disease.

Investigation showed that Ashwin met an unknown male Indian known as "Botak" in Johor on March 25. The man offered him RM600 ($222) to transport puppies from Malaysia to Singapore. He agreed.

On March 30, Ashwin waited in front of Johor Bahru's City Square Mall where the driver of a van approached him and said he needed to "put in the stuff".

Ashwin saw many puppies kept in partitioned cages inside the van. The man took out a small white metal cage containing different breeds of puppies and placed them in the front passenger seat of Ashwin's car.

The puppies were found by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officers when they inspected his car at the checkpoint. No food and water were provided to the puppies.

Arguing for a stiff sentence, Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority prosecutor Yap Teck Chuan highlighted the serious consequences that illegal importation may bring about and the difficulty in detecting such cases.

He said the imposition of stiff sentences is also in line with the recent policy to develop stronger measures against cruelty to animals.

Ashwin could have been fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed for up to 12 months for each offence.