Man fined for bringing 'beautiful puppy' from JB to Singapore in taxi

Wan Ting Koh
Photo of smuggled bulldog puppy from NParks

SINGAPORE — Mohammad Alimon Ismail spotted a “beautiful stray puppy” at an alley while shopping in Johor Bahru last year, and decided to bring it back home with him across the causeway.

The Singaporean then placed the bulldog puppy into a bag, zipped it up and took a taxi back through Woodlands Checkpoint.

The puppy did not make it through the checkpoint, as an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority Officer found it sedated behind the driver’s seat.

Alimon, 52, was fined $10,000 on Wednesday (12 February) after he pleaded guilty to importing the puppy without a licence on 17 April last year. One count of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that the puppy was not subjected to unnecessary suffering in the manner it was conveyed was taken into consideration for his sentencing.

Could make some money by selling puppy

According to Alimon, he had gone to Johor Bahru with his elder brother Mohammed Noor Ismail to shop. After shopping, the two went for lunch, and it was when Alimon noticed the puppy at an alley.

He realised that the bulldog puppy was “not an ordinary puppy” and that he could make some money by selling it later.

He then picked up the puppy and put it into a bag, which he zipped up to prevent it from escaping. He claimed his brother was not aware of the contents of the bag.

A short while later, the brothers got onto a taxi to head back to Singapore. Mohammed Noor sat at the front passenger seat, while Alimon sat in the rear together with the bag containing the puppy.

The driver of the taxi, Malaysian Mohammed Khairul Azwan Mat Arifin, had claimed that he was not aware of the puppy as it did not make a sound and there was no odour. He added that he would not have allowed a puppy on his taxi due to religious sensitivities.

Upon reaching Woodlands Checkpoint, the taxi was stopped for a check and the puppy was discovered.

It was seized and sent to the then Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, where it was found to have been sedated, explaining its quietness. No food or water was placed in the bag.

Conflicting statements from brothers

Mohammed Noor later told investigators that Alimon would occasionally meet up with a Chinese man in Johor Bahru to buy animals, and would use the same bag to contain the animals each time in order to avoid detection at the checkpoint.

Mohammed Noor added that he did not know what Alimon would do with the animals after getting them into Singapore.

Representing himself in court, Alimon said that his brother was a “mental health patient” and that he would accompany his brother into Johor Bahru for his medical treatment.

When the prosecution pointed out Mohammed Noor’s evidence that Alimon would buy animals in Johor Bahru, Alimon repeated that his brother had a mental illness.

According to the prosecution, Mohammed Noor had said that Alimon had asked him to accompany him to Johor Bahru to buy dogs, birds and other pets, on fewer than five occasions. However, Alimon disagreed.

After District Judge pointed out that the matter would have to go to trial, if Alimon qualifies his plea, Alimon decided to plead guilty without qualification.

He also submitted a letter of mitigation to the court asking for a lenient sentence.

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