Owner of now defunct Cuddles Cat Cafe sentenced to 2 weeks' jail and fined $3,500

Mr Jonathan Tan was the owner of the now-defunct Cuddles Cat Cafe at *Scape in Orchard Road. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A 33-year-old man, who owned the now-defunct Cuddles Cat Cafe, has been sentenced to a total of two weeks' jail and fined $3,500, for failing to comply with licensing conditions, giving false information to a public servant and attempting to cheat.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said in a press release on Tuesday (Apr 18) that it was alerted to allegations of mismanagement of diseased cats at the cafe in October 2014.

It was also alleged that the cafe owner, Jonathan Tan Wei-De, had provided falsified cat health records in his application for AVA's temporary licence to keep animals for public interaction on the premises.

Investigations by AVA found that the Singaporean had breached its licensing conditions by not keeping the cats in good health, and not ensuring that they tested negative for toxoplasmosis, a disease that can infect animals and humans, before keeping them in the cafe.

Tan was required to cease operations at once and remove all cats from the cafe.

The case was later referred to the police for investigation into the alleged provision of falsified information in the application.

AVA regulates pet cafes that keep cats for public interaction, through licensing and routine unannounced inspections. Those that fail to comply with licensing conditions can be fined up to $5,000.

"Safeguarding animal welfare is a shared responsibility," the authority said. "The public can play an important role by being AVA's eyes and ears, and provide feedback on animal welfare issues."

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