National bowler Remy Ong has apologised for hitting a stray dog with his car on Sunday afternoon. But the 33-year-old denied driving off intentionally after the incident, claiming he thought the dog "was going to be alright".
Ong was driving along Changi Coast Road after leaving the National Service Resort and Country Club nearby when his black Porsche Boxster hit a female cross-breed dog at about 1pm.
The dog died 20 minutes after the incident.
Speaking to Yahoo! Singapore over the phone on Monday afternoon, Ong apologised for the incident.
"I just want to say I'm really sorry about the whole incident. At the end of the day, it's a life that is lost and I feel very bad about it," said Ong who owns a female poodle.
Giving his version of the event, Ong added: "The dog came out of nowhere and it felt like it brushed against my car. So I thought she was going to be alright."
He was then on his way to pick up his friend at the Singapore Expo, but had returned to the accident scene as he had "felt uneasy".
Stressing that he did not drive off intentionally, Ong said: "Of course everyone there accused me of hit-and-run but if that's the case, I wouldn't even come back."
He also denied that he returned only to retrieve his car number plate which got dislodged from the impact, saying he did not even realise it came off.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Corinne Fong has confirmed with Yahoo! Singapore that she received a statement from Ong through email on Monday, although she refused to disclose details of his statement.
Asked if a harsh punishment should be meted out to send a strong message against hit-and-run incidents, Fong said she has no say in this as the decision is in the hands of the police.
Photos of the injured female crossbreed dog went viral online after a witness, Danny Ng posted it on Facebook and slammed Ong for his cowardly act.
According to Ng, an 18-year-old Institute of Technical Education (ITE) student, Ong was speeding when he knocked down the dog and he had left the scene immediately after the accident.
He said the dog laid motionless in the middle of the road and was carried to safety by him and a few cyclists who stopped by to help.
Ng added that when he confronted Ong at the scene, the latter claimed the dog was already lying on the road before he ran over it.
Witnesses said that when asked to explain his failure to stop, Ong said he was unaware of what happened and that he was on his way to pick up his friend.
According to a report in The Straits Times, Ong said he was leaving the club after a coaching session when the dog dashed out from behind a tree. He added that he was driving at about 40kmh.
But Ng said the animal's life could have been saved if Ong was more vigilant. "What angered me was that the dog was alive for a good 20 minutes. If he had stopped immediately, he could have brought it to the vet and her life might have been saved."
"But in the end he came back after the dog has died. He just took the number plate and drove off," he added.
Ng went on to express his disappointment at Ong, whom he has bowled with in the past.
He added: "I knew him because I bowled with him before and that is why I could recognise him. He was an idol to many Singapore young bowlers. But now I feel disgusted."
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Corinne Fong confirmed the dog, which was about 3-year-old, was dead when its officer arrived at the scene.
Fong also stressed: "We urge anyone involved in an accident with a person or animal to stop and check the condition of the casualty and if possible, render help."
"If the casualty is an animal, you can send it to the nearest vet or to the SPCA."
Ong said that he was willing to co-operate with the SPCA. He has also lodged a police report.
"All I want to say is I admit it's my mistake and I am willing to help the SPCA and the police in their investigations," said Ong who flew off to Dubai to take part in two bowling tournaments on Monday afternoon.
Under the Road Traffic Act, anyone involved in a hit-and-run accident can be fined up to S$3,000 or jailed up to a year, even when the victim is an animal.