Animal smuggling cases in Singapore turn spotlight on the underground pet trade

Birds that a man tried to smuggle into Singapore on Dec 21. Dogs, cats and birds are the three most common smuggled non-exotic pet animals.
Birds that a man tried to smuggle into Singapore on Dec 21. Dogs, cats and birds are the three most common smuggled non-exotic pet animals. PHOTO: AGRI-FOOD AND VETERINARY AUTHORITY
Birds that a man tried to smuggle into Singapore on Dec 21. Dogs, cats and birds are the three most common smuggled non-exotic pet animals. Facebook posts advertising a toy poodle and a munchkin cat for sale. Importing animals without an AVA permit i
Facebook posts advertising a toy poodle and a munchkin cat for sale. Importing animals without an AVA permit is illegal and carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 and a jail term of up to one year. Buyers who opt for smuggled pets might also end up with sickly and poorly bred animals.PHOTO: SCREENSHOTS FROM FACEBOOK
Birds that a man tried to smuggle into Singapore on Dec 21. Dogs, cats and birds are the three most common smuggled non-exotic pet animals. Facebook posts advertising a toy poodle and a munchkin cat for sale. Importing animals without an AVA permit i
Facebook posts advertising a toy poodle and a munchkin cat for sale. Importing animals without an AVA permit is illegal and carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 and a jail term of up to one year. Buyers who opt for smuggled pets might also end up with sickly and poorly bred animals.PHOTO: SCREENSHOTS FROM FACEBOOK

Three attempts foiled in less than a month; welfare groups fear more may be getting past checkpoints

Crammed into tight spaces and deprived of food and water, they are hidden in vehicles and driven across the Causeway from Malaysia.

Sometimes, they are even drugged as they make the journey in the deep of night or early in the morning to maximise the odds of getting into Singapore illegally.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2019, with the headline 'Smuggling cases turn spotlight on the underground pet trade'. Print Edition | Subscribe