Woman gets jail, fine for stabbing ex-boyfriend, fatal neglect of pet dog

SINGAPORE - When she moved out of a flat she used to share with a former boyfriend in March 2020, Jeya Jayaram left her pet dog behind in the empty unit, returning only occasionally to feed it.

The chihuahua was left in a state of neglect and died of dehydration two months later.

Over the next two years, Jeya, 38, also ran afoul of the law several times, culminating in her stabbing another former boyfriend with a knife during a fight at a void deck in March 2021.

On Monday, she was sentenced to seven months and four weeks' jail after she pleaded guilty to one count each of voluntarily causing hurt with a knife and behaving in a disorderly manner in a public place.

For admitting to two offences under the Animals and Birds Act, she was also fined $5,800 and banned from owning pets for a year.

These were for keeping a dog without a licence and failing to take reasonable steps to ensure it was provided with adequate food and water.

The court heard that Jeya's then boyfriend adopted the dog for her in December 2018.

She had asked him to apply for a licence but he failed to do so. Despite that, she kept the dog. 

In February 2020, Jeya broke up with her boyfriend and moved out of the HDB flat they had shared.

She did not take the dog with her, and instead took turns with her teenage son to go to the house to feed it.

She last went to the unit on May 22, 2020, and was arrested the next day for unrelated offences.

It was only on May 25, after she had been released on bail the day before, that she instructed her son to go and feed the dog.

In the meantime, the police received information that the chihuahua had been left unattended for some time and had gone on May 24 to check on it.

At the unit, a police officer saw the canine lying in a filthy cage, but reported that the dog had barked.

He also saw dry dog food in the cage, but was not sure if there was any water in the dog's water bowl.

He referred the matter to the National Parks Board, which dispatched officers to the home the next day.

The officers saw the animal through the window lying in the cage without moving.

Later that night, the son went to feed the dog but found it had died.

Court documents showed that the dog was suffering from dental disease, hair loss and flaking skin over multiple areas of its body. An autopsy revealed that it was significantly dehydrated, with overgrown nails.

About a year later, on March 21, 2021, Jeya got into a fight with another former boyfriend.

Bharathan Sundramurthi, 39, had punched her once, and she retaliated by punching him several times.

When the victim fell to the ground and was held down by a male friend, she stabbed him twice in his back.

Bharathan's injuries were stitched up, and he was given seven days' medical leave.

Jeya's pro bono lawyer, Ms Sadhana Rai, said in mitigation that her client had taken a knife with her to meet Bharathan for self-defence.

But District Judge Wong Li Tein said that even so, Jeya had used the knife as an offensive weapon.

For voluntarily causing hurt with a dangerous weapon, Jeya could have been jailed for up to seven years, fined, or a combination of both. Male offenders may also be caned.

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