Teens in animal cruelty probe over use of frogs in foosball

Videos of the incident show the teens unboxing the live frogs and playing foosball with a frog on the table.
Videos of the incident show the teens unboxing the live frogs and playing foosball with a frog on the table.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - A group of teens are being investigated after they allegedly played foosball using live frogs.

A video of the incident, which surfaced online over the weekend, shows the unidentified teens unboxing about a dozen live frogs in a Burberry shoe box, with the words "Merry Christmas" splashed across the clip.

It then cuts to a scene of the teens playing at a foosball table, hitting the ball around with a frog on the table trying to avoid being hit.

The words "Thanks for the 100 frogs" are splashed across a second clip.

Another scene shows the teens placing the ball carefully on the table, before punting it straight at one amphibian, which is smacked onto the side of the foosball table before hopping away.

A third clip claimed to feature the group's "last frog".

Though no faces can be seen, the footage indicates three youths, one of whom was filming, and a teenage girl were involved in the incident.

Ms Jessica Kwok, group director for community animal management at the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS), said it was concerned about the incident and is investigating.

"AVS takes all feedback received from the public seriously and will look into the cases reported," she said.

In a media statement, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) executive director Jaipal Singh Gill said that it has received a report on the incident.

The video depicts a clear case of animal cruelty that is punishable under the law, Mr Singh added.

Anyone with information on the case, including the identities of the people involved, can e-mail the SPCA at inspector@spca.org.sg. Any information provided will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

The videos have sparked outrage online, with many netizens slamming the actions of the young people and calling for tough action to be taken against them.

It was also alleged that one of the teenagers in the incident is already under police investigation for trespassing into the white rhino enclosure at the Singapore Zoo.

In that incident on Dec 17, the teen posted a video on TikTok showing him doing a backflip in the enclosure with the rhinos before he leapt over the barricade to return to the visitors' footpaths. At least four rhinos could be seen in the enclosure at the time.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) had issued a statement condemning the youth's actions, calling it a "reckless and mindless act which is socially irresponsible, extremely dangerous and simply disrespectful to wildlife and animals".

WRS urged others not to pull such stunts as lives could be endangered.

In an interview with Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao, the youth said the incident with the frogs occurred on Christmas Eve at a friend's home where they had a small dinner gathering.

He said there were a total of 17 frogs, which were meant to be fed to fishes.

He claimed that all but one of the frogs were released, and they wanted to feed that frog to the fishes but needed to dismember it as it was too big.

"We didn't know how to kill the frog as quickly as possible, and my friend thought that shooting it with the ball might be effective, so we did that," he said.

"After that, we fed the frog to the fishes."

Posting a note on his Instagram account on Sunday (Dec 27), the youth claimed that the group was not playing foosball with the frogs.

"There was no intention of animal cruelty on my part," he wrote.

"I understand it's easy to assume this, especially because of my recent rhino incident, but people just assuming things does nothing but make themselves look dumb when the real story comes out."