Man involved in smuggling attempt of 23 puppies, about half which died, pleads guilty.
A man involved in an attempt to smuggle 23 puppies into Singapore, 11 of which later died, pleaded guilty on Thursday (Apr 25) to various charges under the Animals and Birds Act as well as drug charges.
Singaporean Cheow Yon Siong, 53, admitted to helping his accomplice, 23-year-old Malaysian Yeun Jian Iun, in the smuggling attempt.
The two men had tried to take the puppies – nine poodles, five shih tzus, four pomeranians, three French bulldogs and two golden retrievers – on Cheow’s yacht into Singapore on Oct 28, 2016.
The Police Coast Guard stopped the Singapore-registered yacht for routine inspection and heard the sound of dogs barking, which came from cargo that was covered with large pieces of cloth.
The puppies were kept in cramped conditions in six cages – with no food or water – and were very young, estimated to be between four to seven weeks old, the court heard.
An Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore officer said they were likely only recently weaned due to their young age and were unlikely to have been vaccinated.
After they were found, some of the puppies began vomiting and having diarrhoea, and could not eat on their own. They were infected with parvovirus, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Theong Li Han and 10 of the youngest died by late November, with another euthanised.
The court heard that Yuen had been promised S$1,000 by a middleman to smuggle the puppies from Malaysia’s Sebana Cove into Singapore.
On top of these offences, Cheow also pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing and consuming methamphetamine.
AVA’s prosecuting officer Yap Teck Chuan said one of the important purposes of the Animals and Birds Act is to prevent the spread of diseases – especially rabies – into Singapore.
He added that Malaysia had an outbreak of rabies in September 2015 and has not been declared free from it to date. Additionally, 10 of the puppies died from parvovirus, a contagious animal disease, and all of the dogs were subjected to emotional and physical suffering.
Cheow will return to court for sentencing next month.
For illegally importing the animals and causing them suffering, he can be jailed for up to a year, fined up to S$10,000 or both.
Yeun had been sentenced to eight months’ jail in December 2016.
Articles and pictures by CNA/ll(mi)