Man fined $3,000 for not leashing dog in public despite receiving warning letters, had claimed dog was 'very well-trained and obedient'

He argued in court that his dog was different and knew how to wait for traffic lights to turn green.

A man in Singapore was fined $3,000 for not keeping his Japanese Spitz on a leash in public despite repeated warnings. (Photo: Getty Images)
A man in Singapore was fined $3,000 for not keeping his Japanese Spitz on a leash in public despite repeated warnings. (Photo: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A 61-year-old man was fined $3,000 in court on Friday (12 April) for not leashing his dog when walking it in public areas. The ruling came after Ng Lai Beng persisted in not following the regulation for dog owners, even after receiving warning letters and reminders, local media outlet CNA reported.

Ng defended his actions by saying that his Japanese spitz was “very well-behaved” and “different from other dogs”.

He was told by district Judge Wong Li Tien that he was not in a position to make that assessment, as “there are other people on the road who would not want to encounter you and your unleashed dog.”

Ng eventually pleaded guilty to two counts under the Animals and Birds (Dog Licensing and Control) Rules for not putting his dog on a leash in public.

Four other similar charges were taken into consideration.

Ng repeatedly let his dogs walk without a leash

CNA reported that the National Parks Board (NParks) first received feedback that Ng was walking his dog without a leash at a rooftop garden in Fernvale Road on 18 August 2022. It was later confirmed that despite strapping on a leash onto his dog’s body harness, Ng was not holding on to it.

Ng then received a letter informing him that he was placed on official notice that public feedback had been received over how he was walking his dog. However, Ng continued to walk his dog without holding onto the leash in parks, playground and rooftop garden on another five occasions.

In court, NParks prosecutors shared that prior to the first letter, enforcement action had been taken against Ng on another six occasions for walking the Japanese spitz and another dog with a leash in public areas.

He also had previous convictions for similar offences, and was also fined for fighting with a man at a lift lobby after refusing to shift his dogs to let a couple exit.

The prosecutor said that despite all these, Ng continued to “flagrantly flout the regulations”, reported CNA.

Although no accidents have occurred while Ng had allowed his dogs to roam unleashed, it was “purely fortuitous” and “the accused must learn that it is not for him to decide whether the regulations should be adhered to”, the prosecutor said.

Defendant says dog 'different from other dogs'

Ng defended himself in a statement to the judge, saying that the dog had been with him since it was two months old and raised like a family member, and was “very different from other dogs”.

He continued that the Japanese spitz would wait for traffic lights to turn green, and that neighbours agreed that his dog was “very well-trained and obedient”.

He said that he did not want to hold onto the leash as he wanted his dog to be “safer”, compared to other leashed dog which still ran away and were killed on the road.

Judge Wong said that it was aggravating that Ng continued to offend despite the multiple warnings, and that there were neighbours living near him “who did not like it and are fearful”.

“It's not up to you whether you think your dog is well-trained. There are other people on the road who would not want to encounter you and your unleashed dog,” she said.

She added that he was “blatantly disregarding the law and safety of other people”, to which Ng shook his head. Judge Wong then told him to obey the law or face penalties.

She allowed Ng to pay his fine in instalments by end-April. If he does not complete the payment, he will have to serve four weeks’ jail in default.

Ng could have been fined up to $5,000 for each count of walking a dog unleashed.

In 2021, a woman was fined $2,800 for failing to keep her dog on a leash despite the dog having twice attacked another dog and its owner.

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