SINGAPORE — A woman was fined $4,000 on Wednesday (17 February) after she admitted to abandoning 16 cats in Punggol.
Nur Hajjar Osman, 35, pleaded guilty to two out of 16 charges of pet abandonment, with the remaining 14 charges taken into consideration for her sentencing.
Hajjar was also disqualified from owning any pets for a year.
The court heard that on 28 February 2019, Hajjar requested a man, Muhammad Haidhar Zulkifli, 33, to help release her 16 cats as she was unable to care for them. Haidhar agreed to help her.
On 1 March 2019, at about 1am, Haidhar arrived at Hajjar’s flat at 326C Sumang Walk in Punggol and brought down the 16 cats in five cages.
He loaded the cats onto a lorry he had borrowed, drove around, then decided to release them in the vicinity of 222A Sumang Lane at around 3am.
The authorities later received feedback from a member of the public that 16 cats had been found abandoned in the area. All 16 cats were eventually rescued.
Haidhar also faces 16 charges for abandoning the cats and is set to plead guilty on 10 March.
Pets are for life: NParks
National Parks prosecutor Packer Mohammad sought the fine that was imposed, stating that Hajjar had shown total disregard as a pet owner and that the abandoned cats were unable to survive on their own. He added that “pets are for life”.
In mitigation, Hajjar pleaded for a light fine and asked for an instalment plan to pay the fine. She said that she was working part-time.
During sentencing, District Judge Teo Guan Kee said he saw no reason to depart from precedent cases that the prosecution had cited. He also noted that nothing Hajjar had said gave justification to a lower sentence.
For abandoning a pet, Hajjar could have been jailed up to a year and/or fined up to $10,000 on a first offence.
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