SINGAPORE - A dog reported missing from the Platinium Dogs Club died while boarded at the facility, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) revealed on Wednesday (Jan 9).
Prince, a shetland sheepdog, was reported missing on facebook by his owner, Ms Elaine Mao, on Dec 30. She appealed for information about him and offered a $2,000 reward to anyone who found him, sparking a hunt among members of the public.
However, the AVA, which raided the Bukit Panjang boarding facility following complaints of mistreatment of pets in its care, said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that preliminary investigations revealed that Prince "had died while boarded there and was cremated by a pet cremation service provider".
Prince's owner Elaine Mao called the news "totally unbearable" in a Facebook post on Wednesday, adding "a part of me has gone with him".
She said she had paid $945 to check Prince into the facility on Dec 16 before she went overseas.
Ms Mao said she had asked the owner - whose name she gave as Charlotte Liew - for video updates about her pet, which did not always arrive. She said that Ms Liew told her on Dec 30 that Prince had run out of the facility during the AVA raid.
Tensions over Prince's whereabouts led to a group of angry dog owners, including Ms Mao, to protest outside Platinium last week. A 40-year-old man in the group was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital for outpatient treatment after being hit by a car in which the operator of the pet boarding facility was travelling in.
On Saturday, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam called for all parties involved to let the authorities carry out their investigations and not take the law into their own hands.
The 30-year-old owner of Platinium Dogs Club was arrested on Sunday.
The AVA, which had taken temporary custody of the 18 dogs and one rabbit found inside the facility, said on Wednesday that 17 of the dogs have been reunited with their owners, while the owner of the remaining one is overseas. It has yet to identify the rabbit's owner.
Investigations are continuing.
Under the Animal and Birds Act, convicted offenders who fail in their duty of care towards animals while conducting an animal-related business can face a fine of up to $40,000, a jail term of two years, or both.
"The public is advised not to speculate and let the investigation take its course," the AVA said. "AVA takes animal welfare seriously and will take enforcement action against any offenders to safeguard animal welfare."