The dog under the care of a controversial pet boarding facility and reported missing had died during its stay there and was cremated by a pet cremation service provider, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) on Wednesday (9 January).
Prince, a seven-year-old Shetland sheepdog, was left with Platinium Dogs Club at a semi-detached residential property on Galistan Avenue on 16 December last year, before its owner, 34-year-old bid manager Elaine Mao, departed for a vacation in Melbourne, Australia.
Initially set to return to Singapore on 22 January, Mao flew back earlier to find Prince after a Platinium’s staff member informed her that the dog went missing during a raid by the authorities on 29 December.
“Preliminary investigations have revealed that Prince, a Shetland sheepdog reported to be missing from PDC (Platinium Dogs Club), had died while it was boarded there and was cremated by a pet cremation service provider,” said the AVA in a Facebook post.
When contacted, the AVA declined to reveal the name of the pet cremation company involved and the date of Prince’s cremation.
Mao wrote in Facebook group Lost and found pets in Singapore on Wednesday, “The news of my baby Prince is gone is totally unbearable. A part of me has gone with him.”
“Thank you all for your support, especially to those who have helped us (with the) searching,” she said, adding that she has requested for Prince’s ashes and belongings to be returned to her.
Yahoo News Singapore previously reported that a worker at pet cremation company Mobile Pet Cremation Services had handled requests from a woman associated with Platinium in December.
The worker said three dogs were taken from the premises on separate occasions in December for cremation, with at least one mass cremation. According to him, the woman had not specified the dogs’ breeds to Mobile Pet.
Most animals reunited with owners, operator arrested
The 29 December raid, and a subsequent one two days later, were made by authorities following multiple allegations of negligence made by dog owners who left their pets at Platinium. One dog owner told Yahoo News Singapore that her 14-year-old Jack Russell Terrier died after staying at the facility.
Eighteen dogs and one rabbit were found during the raids and taken into temporary custody by the AVA.
One dog and the rabbit have not been reunited with their owners, said the AVA in Wednesday’s Facebook post. The dog’s owner is currently not in Singapore while the AVA is still establishing the ownership of the rabbit.
The operator of Platinium, a 30-year-old woman, was arrested on 6 January and is assisting with investigations on alleged animal welfare-related offences.
Prior to her arrest, the police had on January 2 turned up at Platinium’s premises where a group of people had gathered to demand information on Prince and obstructed the facility’s driveway.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that a 40-year-old man from the group had alleged that he was hit by the vehicle that was reversing out of the compound of the unit. The man was subsequently conveyed to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in a conscious state,” said the police later on the same day.
The 33-year-old driver of the vehicle and the group of people comprising seven women and four men, including the 40-year-old man, are assisting with police investigations.
Platinium number listed on two other businesses
An earlier Google search showed that a number listed on Platinium’s website – now defunct – was listed on the websites of two other businesses: flower delivery service LaFrenchRoses and Raffles Tuition Centre.
Checks by Yahoo News Singapore on the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’s Bizfile+ system showed that LaFrenchRoses was registered by a sole-proprietor, a Singaporean of the same name, on 4 January last year.
Liew’s listed address on the document corresponded with the location of Platinium, while LaFrenchRoses was listed under another address.
Platinium, which was billed on its website as “fully air-conditioned daily”, “cage-free” with staff having “more than 20 years of experience in handling dogs”, was not registered in the system. Separately, Raffles Tuition Centre was not registered under Liew.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority 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.
The AVA on Monday declined to comment when asked by Yahoo News Singapore if Liew was the woman arrested.
An investigation by the AVA into Platinium is still ongoing.
“The public is advised not to speculate and let the investigation take its course. AVA takes animal welfare seriously and will take enforcement action against any offenders to safeguard animal welfare,” the authority added, echoing Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam‘s comments on the saga last Saturday.
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.