Pet carriers holding puppies on deck (Source : AVA).

Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) has announced that a Malaysian man, Yeun Jian Iun, 21, and a Singaporean Cheow Yon Siong, 51, were charged for illegally importing 23 puppies today.

Yuen pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment for illegal import and 4 months imprisonment for animal cruelty. The sentences will run concurrently.

While, Cheow informed the court that he intended to appeal. His case will be mentioned again on 18 January 2017.

AVA said that on 28 October 2016, at about 4.17pm, Police Coast Guard (PCG) officers approached a Singapore-registered yacht for routine inspection while patrolling at the sea off Changi General Purposes Anchorage.

It said that during the inspection, PCG officers discovered 23 live puppies on board the yacht belonging to Cheow. The men did not have an AVA import permit or health certificate for the puppies. 23 puppies, comprising of 9 Poodles, 5 Shih Tzus, 4 Pomeranians, 3 French Bulldogs, and 2 golden retrievers were kept in cramped conditions in 6 pet carriers, which were concealed under bath towels.

The two men and the puppies were then referred to the AVA for investigation.

Its investigation found that no food and water were provided during the transportation. Some of the puppies showed clinical signs of lethargy, inappetence and diarrhoea. The puppies’ condition did not improve despite veterinary treatment.

AVA noted that 11 of the puppies’ condition deteriorated, and subsequently, succumbed to illnesses and died. While the case was under investigation, the 12 surviving puppies were cared for and quarantined at AVA’s Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station (SAQS). They were observed for signs of infectious or contagious diseases, especially rabies – a disease which is fatal to animals and humans.

AVA stated that animals that are smuggled into Singapore are of unknown health status. In the case of dogs and cats, the foremost concern is rabies, which can be transmitted to humans by the bite of a rabid animal. Singapore has been free from rabies for over 60 years but we cannot be complacent as the disease is endemic in the region.

Puppies confined in a pet carrier (Source : AVA).
Puppies confined in a pet carrier (Source : AVA).
Puppies confined in a pet carrier (Source : AVA).
Puppies confined in a pet carrier (Source : AVA).
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