Man who abused dog in Yishun viral video fined $10,000

Wan Ting Koh
Chen Xin, 38, was filmed by his neighbour mistreating his toy poodle. SCREENCAP: Facebook video/Apollo Chan

SINGAPORE — A man who was caught on video swinging a toy poodle from its leash was fined $10,000 and banned from owning pets for a year on Wednesday (15 January).

On another occasion, Singaporean Chen Xin was caught tugging forcefully at the dog’s leash, causing it to jerk backwards each time. 

The video, taken in Yishun, was widely viewed, with more than 77,000 views on Facebook. Facebook user Apollo Chan, who uploaded the video, said that the resident who filmed the act had witnessed the abuse multiple times. 

“I've contacted AVA (Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore) and would like to take this chance to thank AVA for expediting this case due to the urgency of rescuing this poor furkid. They have noted the importance of taking the furkid away from the owner and they (are) already acting on it,” said Chan in the Facebook post. 

Accused asked court for help in training dog 

Chen, 38, admitted to two counts of wantonly causing unnecessary pain to the brown female toy poodle.

Mitigating for himself in court, Chen asked through a Mandarin interpreter if the court knew of any “system” which conducted pre-training for new pet owners like himself. 

In response, District Judge Ong Luan Tze said that the court was not privy to such information and directed the question at the prosecution, who in turn suggested contacting animal welfare groups or the National Parks Board (NParks). 

Dangled dog and kicked it

On 15 February last year, at about 10pm, Chen was walking the dog at the garden area of Block 115A Yishun Ring Road when he repeatedly pulled the leash hard, causing his dog to move backwards about one to two metres each time. 

Weeks later, on 9 March, Chen was again walking his dog at the same area when he kicked the dog’s chest with his foot. He also lifted the dog by its leash from a seat and dangled it onto the ground, which was 50cm lower. He then swung the dog from its leash back onto the seat. He later pinned the dog by its neck against the seat for about three seconds. 

The dog did not sustain permanent injuries, and has since been re-homed, the court heard.

The video footage of the abuse was escalated to the then-AVA, which subsequently established that Chen was the man in the video.

An NParks prosecutor asked for a $5,000 fine for each charge and a disqualification from owning pets for a year.

Asked to mitigate, Chen said he was deeply remorseful for his actions, saying that he was a first-time pet owner. 

On the first occasion, his dog had been rushing and he had struggled to pull it back, he said. The second time, he had pulled at the canine, which was seated behind him, as he wanted to “let it move a little”. He said that he had pinned the dog down using a “light force” for a short time. 

In response, the NParks prosecutor said that Chen had been using his mobile phone on both occasions and did not give much attention to the dog. The force that he used on the small animal was unreasonable, pointed out the prosecution. 

In closing, Chen said, “The reason why I committed this mistake is because I do not know the boundaries, but it’s my first time owning a pet because I do not know how to train the dog.” He then asked the court for help in pre-training dogs. 

For causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal, Chen could have been jailed up to 18 months and/or fined up to $15,000 on each count. 

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