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Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said in a forum that the government is preparing to introduce new laws to combat fake news after consulting with stakeholders in the second half of this year.

Netizens retort Minister K. Shanmugam’s call for public to remain calm over the Platinum Dogs Club fiasco

Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam strictly warned all parties involved in the ongoing Platinum Dogs Club saga to not take things in their own hands as they will be dealt with by the law. He also urged the public to allow the authorities to carry out the investigation.

“Both the AVA and police are actively investigating ‘several serious allegations’ and Singaporeans can rest assured: There will be thorough investigations and there will be due process. Anyone who has engaged in illegal acts will face the consequences,” said Mr Shanmugam in a Facebook post.

The pet boarding facility located in Bukit Panjang was raided by the authorities on 29 December and 31 December last year after receiving complaints of animal abuse. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) then took temporary care of 18 dogs and a rabbit found on the sites.

He further said that “there are also allegations that some people, in response, have acted wrongly, and taken the law into their own hands. Those allegations will be investigated”.

On 2 January, a woman in her 30s named Ms Mao, and 10 of her friends gathered outside a semi-detached house at 7 Galistan Avenue, the address of Platinium Dogs Club.

The group went to confront the alleged owner of the boarding house on the whereabouts of Ms Mao’s purebred Shetland sheepdog named Prince, which can’t be located after being left at the centre.

Responding to the event, the joint statement by AVA and the police said, “Despite advice by the police officers to give way for their safety, a 40-year-old man in the group remained in the path of the reversing car as it slowly reversed out of the (Platinium Dogs Club) premises.”

“The man later alleged that there was contact and pain in his knees, and was conveyed to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital for outpatient treatment.”

Along with the 33-year-old driver of the vehicle, seven women and four man, including the injured man, are assisting with police investigations.

Currently, under the Animals and Birds Act, those who fail in their duty of care towards animals in the course of conducting an animal-related business can be fined up to S$40, 000 and jailed for two years. As for individuals, they can be fined up to S$15, 000 or jailed for up to 18 months, or both.

However, this fiasco had led to an online petition on Change.org calling for stricter punishments against animal abusers, which had garnered more than 50, 000 signatures since it was set up last Thursday (3 January).

The petition was started by Roderick Low because he felt that animal abusers should face harsher penalties. He calls for stronger penalties for both individuals and animal-related businesses, and recommends jail time to be increased three to four years, with higher fines and compensation for affected pet owners.

Upon reading Mr Shamugam’s warning, many netizens feel that it is ridiculous to ask the citizens to remain calm when a pet, which is equivalent to a family member, is missing.

However, there are also a group of netizens who support the minister and believe that Singaporeans shouldn’t take law into their own hands.

Apart from that, Elizabeth Tan opines the country’s laws for animal abuse are grossly inadequate. She added, “Only stiffer laws for animal abuse can prevent such tragedies from occurring like an endless drama serial.”