Man's cruelty led to deaths of 2 dogs

Yeo Poh Kwee ran down almost 20 floors of a staircase with his dog tied to him, causing it to be slammed against the walls and steps.
Yeo Poh Kwee ran down almost 20 floors of a staircase with his dog tied to him, causing it to be slammed against the walls and steps.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

He gets 20 months' jail - longest meted out under amended Animal and Birds Act

A man ran down almost 20 floors of an HDB staircase with his leashed dog tied to his body, causing its subsequent death.

Yeo Poh Kwee's wanton abuse of his brown pet poodle, named Yoyi, caused it to be slammed against the walls and steps repeatedly on the way down.

The 46-year-old driver started from the 38th floor and stopped on the 19th floor, when he realised Yoyi was bleeding from the hind legs. He unleashed the dog and abandoned it at the staircase landing between the 18th and 19th floors. He then went home.

Yesterday, Yeo was given the maximum 18 months' jail for animal cruelty, and two months for abandoning Yoyi without reasonable cause or excuse on Dec 21 last year.

As the two sentences are consecutive, Yeo's total sentence is 20 months' jail, the longest meted out under the amended Animal and Birds Act, which came into force in 2015.

He was also given 12 months' jail on another count of animal cruelty when he failed to take a different dog under his care, which had been injured, to a veterinarian for treatment. This resulted in the death of the male toy poodle named Brownie on Nov 22 last year. This sentence is concurrent with the earlier ones.

District Judge Eddy Tham also banned him from owning any animal for 12 months - the maximum - from the date of his release from prison. Yeo had asked for a life ban.

Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority prosecutor Yap Teck Chuan said last week that Yeo had taken Yoyi out on Dec 21 with the intention of abandoning it. He claimed he was stressed from his neighbours' complaints about its incessant barking during his absence.

He came to Block 55, Teban Gardens Road, in a relatively new HDB estate, and decided he would leave Yoyi at the 38th floor - the highest one. Instead, he began running down the stairs at speed by jumping two to three steps at a time with Yoyi still attached to him.

A Bangladeshi sweeper alerted his supervisor after noticing blood stains on the walls and staircase.

In the other case, Mr Yap said Yeo had responded to Ms Dawn Seet Woon Qi's Facebook post to rehome her toy poodle on Nov 18. Three days later, she met Yeo and handed Brownie to him.

That evening, when she contacted Yeo to check on the dog's well-being, he claimed it had turned aggressive and bitten him on his fingers. He also claimed it had got stuck between a pipe and a wall in the toilet and injured the left side of its nose. Ms Seet told him to take the dog to a veterinarian immediately, but he declined, saying he had to shower and clean the dog, which was bleeding and covered in urine and faeces.

The next evening, Yeo told her Brownie had died.

Ms Seet, 28, and her husband reported him to the police as they suspected foul play.

A post-mortem showed the dog had suffered extensive injuries with internal bleeding to the brain, liver and many other parts. "The conclusion is that of a fatal external traumatic incident from blunt force trauma directed at the head, hind limb, shoulder, thoracic and abdominal areas," said Judge Tham.

Yeo, the court heard, had been feeling low since his wife left him last year and he had difficulty seeing his children.

Said the judge: "You were feeling stressed and suffered from insomnia. There is nothing to suggest you were suffering from any psychosis which may have a causal link to the offending behaviour.

"The irresistible conclusion is that you had taken out your frustrations and anger on the two defenceless dogs under your care in a most brutal and inhumane manner."

Anyone found guilty of wantonly or unreasonably causing any unnecessary pain or suffering to any animal can be fined up to $15,000 and/or jailed for up to 18 months.

The maximum penalty for abandoning an animal is a $10,000 fine and 12 months' jail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2017, with the headline 'Man's cruelty led to deaths of 2 dogs'. Print Edition | Subscribe