A 76-year-old Singaporean businessman today became the first person in the country to pay the maximum fine of USD 7,750 for failing to take his severely emancipated and chronically starved dog to a vet. Lim Soo Seng, however, escaped the one-year jail term.
This is the first time the maximum fine of SGD 10,000 (USD 7,750) was imposed by a court here on a convicted animal abuser, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said.
The AVA said the man had adopted the female cross-breed seven years ago when the dog was an year old and it had been looked after by the man's domestic help.
His help claimed that she had informed the man about the canine becoming very thin a month before the dog's death. However, the man did not bring the dog to the veterinarian as he was busy.
A photograph of the carcass of the dog released by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was widely shared online.
"AVA would like to remind pet owners to be responsible and committed to caring for their pets for life. We investigate all feedback on animal cruelty and will take action against anyone who has committed an act of animal cruelty," the government organisation said in a statement.
The man was charged after he brought the carcass of the dog to the SPCA on May 17 last year for disposal.
A post-mortem found that the dog may have been severely malnourished, neglected and starved, possibly for months, before its death.
Animal abuse cases have become a major issue in Singapore, a wealthy island where most people live in compact high-rises, prompting authorities to think of increasing penalties.
Within the last five years, the number of animal welfare and cruelty cases handled by AVA has surged by more than 65 per cent.