SINGAPORE — Disciplinary action will be taken against a staff member of Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council (BTPTC) and a service provider for dumping the carcass of a pet shih tzu into the trash compactor and not following proper procedures, said the BTPTC.
In its response to Yahoo News Singapore, the BTPTC said it will tighten measures to prevent a recurrence of such lapses.
The BTPTC on Monday (6 June) declined to answer questions about the nature of the disciplinary actions being considered over the incident, its procedures regarding such incidents as well as the identity of the service provider.
“Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council is deeply saddened by the misadventure of the deceased pet dog, Cindy. We have visited Cindy's family to express and offer our apologies, sympathy, and assistance," it added.
The incident came to light following a Facebook post on 26 May by the 13-year-old dog's owner, who claimed that the microchipped shih tzu had died due to "misadventure" at the void deck of Block 214 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh a day earlier. The owner did not elaborate in the post.
"We were all out for work so we only knew she was missing after we returned," the owner wrote in the same post, which has been removed.
During the search for the missing shih tzu after 6.30pm on 25 May, the owner discovered the dog's collar, which had its name and licence as well as relevant contact details, at the void deck.
The owner later received a phone call and a photo, timestamped 1.55pm, of the dog's body at the void deck, with the collar beside it.
"We later found out from the (Essential Maintenance Services Unit) that the (BTPTC) was informed earlier about the body and (it) was taken away. But we were not sure where," the owner said.
The owner called the BTPTC the next morning and "learned the horrible news that Cindy was thrown into a trash compactor" as "no one claimed the body".
"With no calls (to the family or authorities), indications, or signs of where to retrieve her, a six-hour window (period) was all it took for a town council officer to decide that a trash compactor was the right place to dispose of our dog," the post added.
"Cindy was family to us. We failed her by not bringing her back home with us to rest. No pet deserves to be treated like road kill."
A complaint was later filed to the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS), a cluster under the National Parks Board (NParks), about the incident. Yahoo News Singapore has reached out to AVS for comment.
Aarthi Sankar, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)'s executive director, said SPCA spoke to the owner on the phone a day after it saw the post.
"Authorities should ascertain whether said animal is a community animal or a pet before disposal. This can be done by scanning microchips or checking any visible details such as a collar," said Sankar.
In this instance, the pet's owner should have been contacted by the authorities and made a report to them, she added.
Under the relevant guidelines issued by authorities, town councils must refer such cases with obvious signs of pet ownership and the discovery of animal carcasses showing signs of exposed wounds or bleeding found within Housing & Development Board (HDB) estates to the NParks for further investigation.
Outside of estates maintained by town councils, the National Environment Agency (NEA) is responsible for the clearing of animal carcasses in public areas. Members of the public can call the NEA hotline at 1800-2255-632 to report any such sightings.
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