At least three dogs were retrieved from the premises of pet boarding facility Platinium Dogs Club to be cremated, according to a worker at a pet cremation company.
When contacted by Yahoo News Singapore on Monday (31 December), the worker at Mobile Pet Cremation Services confirmed that the company took the dogs from Platinium’s premises at 7 Galistan Avenue on 11, 24 and 25 December, in response to requests made by a woman who had phoned his company.
The worker, who declined to be named, said the phone calls were made from a mobile phone number found on Platinium’s website, which has since been taken down.
The dog retrieved on 24 December was mass cremated while another dog taken away on Christmas Day was individually cremated, according to the worker, who could not recall the type of cremation for the dog which was retrieved on 11 December.
It was unclear whether the three dogs belonged to Platinium or that they were cremated with the permission of their owners.
According to the worker, the woman had not specified the breeds but provided the dogs’ names to Mobile Pet.
Raid by the authorities
A number of dog owners had alleged that Platinium had been negligent in caring for their pets, with several dogs returning to their care in an unkempt state and suffering from various ailments. One dog owner said QQ, her 14-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, had died after the female dog was placed under Platinium’s care.
The allegations sparked an investigation by the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and a raid of Platinium’s premises by the authorities.
On Monday, at least 10 dogs and a rabbit were removed from the premises by the AVA and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). By 3pm, all animals had been removed from the premises after a locksmith was engaged to open the door to a locked room where the last batch of animals was housed.
On Monday night, the AVA gave an update of its investigations into Platinium. During inspections of Platinium’s premises, the AVA found 18 dogs and a rabbit. Yahoo News Singapore understands that these animals were found during the raid on Monday and an earlier one on Saturday.
“To safeguard the welfare of the animals, AVA has taken temporary custody of the animals until their owners return. We have been contacting owners of the dogs to claim their pets, and some of the dogs have been reunited with their owners,” the AVA said.
Neighbours whom Yahoo News Singapore spoke to on Monday said they also witnessed “two dogs and a small cage” being removed from the premises by a woman, said to be the operator of Platinium, at 3am and 8am, respectively.
A neighbour, who declined to be named, said that “several” residents have complained to the authorities repeatedly since July to express their concerns about the premises. “I was distraught by the howling of the dogs,” the neighbour added.
Another neighbour, who too declined to be named, said that the semi-detached house was especially noisy this month. “I could hear many dogs whining and barking throughout the day,” he added.
IT team lead Prashanth J, 33, rushed down to collect Frosty, his eight-year-old husky, one of the dogs removed from the premises on Monday afternoon. He had cut short his holiday in Batam by one day after receiving a call from the AVA on Sunday. Frosty was originally slated to be boarded with Platinium from 28 December to 1 January.
“I was shocked when I received the call from the AVA. I am glad he is okay. It’s an experience to learn from, to do due diligence and verify information (next time),” said Prashanth.
Elusive Platinium operator
Yahoo News Singapore had made multiple failed attempts to contact Platinium via the listed mobile phone number on Monday and last Friday. A previous search on Google showed that the number was also listed on the websites of two other businesses: flower delivery service LaFrenchRoses and Raffles Tuition Centre.
Platinium had advertised a variety of services on its website, including overnight board for dogs and grooming. The pet boarding facility was also described as being “fully air-conditioned daily”, “large and spacious” and “cage-free”, with its staff having “more than 20 years of experience in handling dogs”.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) prohibits the provision of commercial pet boarding services in private residential properties. Yahoo News Singapore understands that only farms that board and breed dogs can apply for a licence from the AVA.
“Commercial pet boarding facilities should be located in suitable farm areas or on commercial premises as they may cause dis-amenities to the surrounding residents. They should not be located on private residential premises where they are approved primarily for residential purposes,” said a URA spokesperson on Monday.
Under the Animal & Birds Act, a person who is convicted of failing to care for animals in the course of conducting an animal-related business may be fined up to $40,000, jailed up to two years, or both.
Pet owner’s ‘nightmare’ over missing dog
Elaine Mao, 34, a bid manager, had left Prince, a seven-year-old Shetland sheepdog, with Platinium on 16 December before leaving for Melbourne, Australia.
Mao had originally planned to celebrate Christmas and New Year with family and friends as well as take her pre-wedding photos there before returning to Singapore on 22 January. A close friend was supposed to pick Prince up from Platinium on 11 January.
The Shetland sheepdog, however, was nowhere to be found during the raid by authorities on Saturday, Mao told Yahoo News Singapore.
In a WhatsApp conversation between Mao and a Platinium’s staff member seen by Yahoo News Singapore, the latter had alleged that Prince went missing “when the house was broken in” by the authorities.
The last time Mao saw Prince was in a video sent to her by a staff member at Platinium on 23 December – her birthday – after she insisted on getting an update on her dog’s condition.
“It’s my first time to leave him with a stranger. We inspected the place together, twice. And it was all good – nice, clean and friendly,” she said.
Mao, who is now flying back to Singapore to join efforts to find her missing dog, added, “But now, it has become the biggest nightmare.”