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Man who filmed cousin abusing poodle fined for failing to stop the torture

SINGAPORE — A man who filmed his cousin torturing a poodle and did not stop him was fined S$4,500 by a court on Thursday (July 8).

A stock image of a poodle.

A stock image of a poodle.

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SINGAPORE — A man who filmed his cousin torturing a poodle and did not stop him was fined S$4,500 by a court on Thursday (July 8).

Chia Yong-Quan, 38, was also banned from owning any animal for a year.

He pleaded guilty to one count under the Animals and Birds Act of wantonly omitting to stop his cousin from cruelly torturing his dog.

The court heard that Yong-Quan met his cousin and co-accused Clement Chia Tian Xiang regularly over the years.

Clement owned a brown toy poodle known as Leslie, which was about four years old at the time of the offence.

Sometime between October 2016 and November 2016, Yong-Quan was in Clement's flat when Clement began torturing his dog.

Clement bound the dog's mouth shut with white string and beat the dog with a closed fist multiple times. He hit the dog with a hard plastic hanger repeatedly on its right hind leg and right front leg, the court heard.

Clement then held the poodle by one of its legs and lifted it off the ground, suspending it in mid-air, and hit it non-stop with a hanger, while the poodle was struggling and whimpering, court documents stated.

Yong-Quan filmed two videos of this abuse. He not only failed to stop Clement from torturing the dog, but helped to record the process.

The offences came to light only three to four years later in July 2020, when six videos of Clement torturing the poodle — including the two clips by Yong-Quan — were shared by many users on Facebook.

Many people were alarmed to see the videos and alerted the authorities about the abuse.

The prosecutor asked for a fine of between S$4,000 and S$6,000 for Yong-Quan and for a one-year ban from owning any pet, the maximum under the law.

The poodle was vulnerable and defenceless, and the onus was on Yong-Quan as a witness to stop the abuse, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Norine Tan.

By recording the abuse, he was arguably "more than a mere passive bystander — some level of abetment of the abuse or an implicit approval of the acts was shown, even if not intended", she said.

She argued against Yong-Quan's portrayal in his mitigation plea of how it was an omission to stop a single split-second act of abuse.

"The persistent, deliberate and sadistic nature of the abuse is clear to any person who watches the videos, and disturbs and upsets any reasonable person," said Ms Tan.

"It would most certainly have been clear to Chia Yong-Quan who witnessed, recorded, and did nothing to stop it on that day."

She added that it is "ironic" that it was the "sadistic and perverse decision to record the abuse" that now incriminates them.

Yong-Quan could have been jailed up to 18 months, fined up to S$15,000, or both for wantonly omitting to stop a person cruelly torturing an animal.

His cousin faces charges over his role in the incident and is set to plead guilty later this month. CNA

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