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Owner fined for not sending sick dog to vet until it had to be euthanised

SINGAPORE — A district court on Wednesday (March 24) fined a 51-year-old woman S$2,500 for failing to seek veterinary treatment for her dog for two months after she first noticed a growing lump on her pet.

A stock image of a miniature schnauzer.

A stock image of a miniature schnauzer.

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SINGAPORE — A district court on Wednesday (March 24) fined a 51-year-old woman S$2,500 for failing to seek veterinary treatment for her dog for two months after she first noticed a growing lump on her pet.

By the time her husband took the 13-year-old miniature schnauzer to the clinic, its health had deteriorated so badly that the vet gave no other options than to euthanise it.        

Chia Lih Shan, a Singaporean, pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure her pet, named Minnie, was protected from disease and rapidly diagnosed of it.

National Parks Board (NParks) prosecutor Ron Goh said that he will be applying for Chia to be banned from owning other animals for a year. 

The court heard that Chia and her husband, Mr Christopher Chia, decided to take Minnie to the vet only when they noticed that it was unable to stand on its own.  

The vet who attended to Minnie in July 2019 told investigators that he observed a huge mass — measuring 13cm in diameter — on the dog’s belly that was clearly wet with what seemed to be pus and had a strong stench.

It was unable to stand even when supported and appeared to yelp in pain when the mass was touched. 

It had overgrown nails and was unable to open its left eye, which had matted fur and discharge covering it. 

The dog’s ears were crusty and dirty; there were pressure sores on its hips and urine scalding on its hind leg.

Minnie also appeared hungry and thirsty when the vet offered it food and water. The vet also said that Minnie was taken into the clinic in a box that smelled of urine.

The clinic later reported the matter to the Animal and Veterinary Service, which is under NParks.

A post-mortem of the dog revealed that it had suffered a chronic, persistent bacterial infection.

During NParks’ investigation, Chia Lih Shan — who was Minnie’s registered owner —  claimed that she had been bathing Minnie but was unable to explain why she did not take it to a vet for examination or treatment when she noticed the lump growing, Mr Goh said.

The couple have had the dog since it was a puppy. Court documents did not indicate what their occupations were.

On Wednesday, Chia Lih Shan, who did not have a lawyer, told the court that she did not keep any other pet at her home in King Albert Park in Bukit Timah.

She submitted a written plea to the court expressing her remorse for the loss of her dog and apologised for her negligence.

“During that period, I faced many challenges, balancing between family commitment and husband’s health condition,” she wrote, without elaborating on the condition. 

“I am truthfully sorry for what had happened.”

For her offence under the Animals and Birds Act, she could have been jailed up to a year or fined up to S$10,000, or both.

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Dog pet euthanise fine NParks court

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