Malaysian lorry driver jailed 6 months for smuggling 43 puppies into Singapore

A Malaysian lorry driver was jailed for six months on Friday for smuggling 43 puppies into Singapore and for cruelty to the animals.

Abdul Aziz Abu Kassen, 44, pleaded guilty to importing the puppies from Malaysia without a licence at the Woodlands checkpoint last Thursday.

He also admitted to permitting the puppies to be confined in two sealed carton boxes, subjecting them to unnecessary pain or suffering. One of the dogs, a Pomeranian, died before it could receive medical help in Singapore.

The court heard that Abdul Aziz was approached by an unknown man named Ah Chai in Johor to transport the puppies from Malaysia to Singapore.

As he was in need of money, he took on the job for RM800 (S$309).

The next day, Abdul Aziz drove to a designated road and waited for Ah Chai who handed him two sealed carton boxes with the puppies. He was told to drive to Singapore and stop along Woodlands Road for someone to collect the two cartons.

The 43 puppies, which had been sedated and found to be hungry and thirsty, were uncovered by Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) officers during an inspection at the Woodlands checkpoint. Bottles of ice had been placed inside the carton boxes. The ice can cause ice burns if it comes into contact with the animals' skin over time.

The puppies would not have been able to move away from the ice because of the confined conditions and also because they were sedated.

The Pomeranian - one of nine - died shortly after arriving at the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority's Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station that day. Other puppies included five pugs, six Japanese Spitz, four golden retrievers and 10 poodles.

AVA prosecutor Yap Teck Chuan had pressed for a stiff sentence on the grounds that Abdul Aziz's acts could inadvertently bring rabies into Singapore; the puppies were also hard to detect and unnecessary suffering had been caused to them.

Abdul Aziz could have been fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed for up to 12 months on each charge.

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