SINGAPORE — A woman who kept an unlicensed farm for dogs and tried to thwart a group of officers from inspecting the premises was fined $16,000 on Wednesday (12 February).
Jeslin Chian Kai Yu and two others had used Kennel 5 at The Pet Hotel to board, breed and sell dogs, many of which were sick.
Of the 10 unlicensed dogs seized during the then-Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore’s (AVA) first inspection, seven had to be euthanised for health reasons. A total of 21 unlicensed dogs were removed without authorisation.
Of the other two persons involved in the same offences, Tan Miao Hui had been convicted and sentenced, while Lim Kim Soon’s case is still pending.
Chian, 34, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one charge each of maintaining an unlicensed farm and of obstructing AVA officers who were carrying out their duty. Her latter charge involved her refusing to open the door of the kennel to officers and trying to move cages with puppies in them to someone behind the farm during the inspection.
On 31 October last year, Chian was fined $5,000 for pushing an AVA officer’s right hand while the officer was recording a video as evidence at the kennel on 23 March 2017.
Inspection sparked after report of Canine Parvovirus
An inspection at The Pet Hotel, located at Pasir Ris Farmway, was carried out after a member of the public told the AVA that a dog she bought from Kennel 5 was sick with suspected Canine Parvovirus contamination. The contagious virus can attack the intestines or the heart of the dog, possibly causing death.
An inspection carried out by AVA officers on 23 March 2017 revealed that the number of adult dogs and puppies was different from the production list submitted by the licensee of the kennel to AVA. The officers decided to seize the 10 unlicensed dogs that were found at the premises. Chian arrived at the premises at about 6pm.
It was later discovered that the licensee had allowed Chian and two others to use the kennel for boarding, breeding and sale of dogs at a monthly rental fee of $3,000. Chian had been maintaining the farm for the illegal purpose since 1 March 2017.
A day after the seizure of the unlicensed dogs, a team of AVA officers returned to the kennel for another inspection but found the main door locked. The team noticed people inside but received no response when they knocked. Chian was among the people who were at the kennel and she remained silent.
After a few minutes, several officers went to the rear of the kennel and saw a group of people trying to move cages with puppies over the fence to another person in a forested area. When they were confronted, the group of people left three cages with 13 puppies on the floor under the sun.
The puppies were left without food, water or shelter for one-and-a-half hours. They were only retrieved after AVA officers engaged a locksmith to unlock the door.
In calling for a jail term of three weeks for Chian, NParks Prosecutor Ron Goh said that Chian had shown “blatant disregard for the law and AVA officers” who had conducted the inspection.
Chian had also tried to frustrate the AVA officers’ efforts in trying to quarantine the animals and curb the spread of the virus.
The Canine Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that could cause death in dogs, said the prosecutor. Dog owners would be subject to considerable emotional stress if their dogs had been infected, added the prosecutor.
Seeking a fine for Chian, her lawyers Choo Si Sen and Choo Yean Lin said that their client, a full-time homemaker and mother of three, had been pregnant at the time of the offence.
On 23 March 2017, Chian had received a call from the staff at Kennel 5 during her early childhood diploma examination and rushed down to the kennel.
“AVA officers wanted to compound the dogs and naturally, the accused was very anxious to protect the animals,” said the lawyers. She then committed the offences at the spur of the moment.
For maintaining a farm without a license, Chian could have been jailed up to 12 months and/or fined up to $10,000. She faces the same maximum penalty for obstructing an AVA officer, a breach of the Animals and Birds Act.
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