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Man fined for dog abuse should be jailed, says SPCA

SINGAPORE — The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has called on the authorities to jail a businessman a week after he was fined S$10,000, the maximum given for animal cruelty, for failing to seek timely treatment for his pet.

Lim Soo Seng has been fined the maximum amount of $10,000 for animal cruelty after he failed to get timely treatment for his female cross-breed dog. The emaciated dog, which was found to have multi-organ dysfunction, died before treatment was sought.  Photo: SPCA

Lim Soo Seng has been fined the maximum amount of $10,000 for animal cruelty after he failed to get timely treatment for his female cross-breed dog. The emaciated dog, which was found to have multi-organ dysfunction, died before treatment was sought. Photo: SPCA

Singapore

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SINGAPORE — The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has called on the authorities to jail a businessman a week after he was fined S$10,000, the maximum given for animal cruelty, for failing to seek timely treatment for his pet.

Businessman Lim Soo Seng, 76, was convicted of “unreasonably omitting” to take his female cross-breed dog to the vet for treatment last May and was fined under the Animals and Birds Act.

According to court documents, the dog was “found to be emaciated” and appeared “to have been chronically starved or malnourished, possibly for months”.

In a media statement released yesterday, the SPCA called it “one of the most severe cases of animal neglect and cruelty in recent years”. Said its executive director Corinne Fong: “While the SPCA recognises that this is the first time the maximum fine has been given, we believe that this is insufficient for such an extreme and torturous act of neglect and cruelty against an innocent and defenceless animal. ”

As it was one of the worst cases of animal abuse in recent years, Ms Fong said, a jail term, in addition to the fine, would provide a stronger deterrent, especially for offenders who can afford to pay the maximum fine.

The animal-welfare organisation also urged the authorities to remove from Lim’s care three other toy dogs that he owns.

In an earlier statement, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said its investigations show that Lim had adopted the dog he abused from the SPCA about seven years ago. It was looked after by Lim’s domestic helper after she began working for him about a year ago.

The helper claimed she had told her employer that the dog had become very thin a month before it died. But Lim did not take it to the vet.

For his act of animal cruelty, Lim could have been jailed up to a year, in addition to the fine.

“A message must be sent out that perpetrators of such cruel acts of animal neglect will be severely dealt with,” said Ms Fong.

An AVA spokesperson said the authority will look into the appeal when it is received.

Last week, Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam asked the public in a Facebook post to respect the decision made by the court.

“The judge had the opportunity to go into the facts fully and decided on the facts that the owner should not be sent to jail,” he wrote.

“The rest of us don’t really know all the facts and we should respect the decision made by the court.”

Mr Shanmugam also raised the issue of heavier fines and longer jail terms for cases of animal abuse and said the Ministry of National Development was planning to increase the penalties for animal abuse to a maximum fine of S$50,000 and a jail term of up to three years, or both.

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