On 24 March, Singapore’s volunteer group for dogs’ welfare, Chained Dog Awareness in Singapore (CDAS), publicised an open letter on Facebook with an intention to seek justice for a senior dog – Angel – that had been euthanised by its owner. The open letter was addressed to the National Council of Churches and Bethany International Church.
According to CDAS, the owner of the euthanised dog is a pastor in Singapore. They have sent the open letter to the Bethany International Church because the pastor was allegedly a member of that church.
Since then, the volunteer group had been waiting for the response from these two parties. On 27 March, Bethany Church Singapore had given a publicised response via their Facebook page, acknowledging the massive amount of queries and comments that flooded their page.
“Over the past 3 days, we have received numerous queries and comments on our Facebook page relating to an incident involving a member of our Church family. We appreciate and understand the comments, some positive and others negative,” wrote the page.
In regards to the demands of response from CDAS and the public, Bethany Church Singapore declared that this case of dog abuse does not relate to the Church and its activities.
“Nonetheless, this matter does not relate to the Church or its activities,” wrote Bethany Church Singapore.
Stating that they will provide the necessary space for the member to deal with this personal matter, the Church also asked the public to do the same. They had also provided an e-mail address for the public to send their queries to while explaining that the “member” will respond to them and clarify the facts with them directly.
“We will provide necessary space for the member to deal with this personal matter. We also ask for your understanding and do the same. We invite those with questions or comments to send them to [email protected] This will allow the member to respond to them and clarify the facts with you directly.”
The Church ended the Facebook post by urging the public to focus on the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“Let us focus on keeping ourselves and our families safe and healthy during these challenging times of COVID-19.”
Here is a screenshot of the publicised response provided by CDAS:
Since this Facebook post was publicised, CDAS immediately took a screenshot and posted it onto their Facebook page to make a response. CDAS stated that this is the only response they had received and it only further angered the animal-loving community. Both the publicised response and the Facebook page of Bethany Church Singapore were taken down.
Since CDAS was still unable to get a legitimate response regarding this matter, they urged the owner of Angel to reach out to them and give them the answers they need.
“If you, the owner of Angel, is reading this post, we urge you to reflect what you have done to this little one and be accountable for your own actions. Reach out to us to give us the answers we need. We deserve to know because, like how you dedicate yourself to serving God and God’s children, we sacrifice our time, health and dig into our own pockets to help the defenceless animals,” wrote CDAS.
Following CDAS’s post on 28 March, the pastor revealed himself and finally given a response under the post yesterday (29 March). Ps Djohan Handojo, the owner of Angel, expressed that the past week had been very difficult for him and his family. He revealed that his dog was named Anno, and the name “Angel” was given by the volunteers at CDAS.
Mr Handojo explained that Anno’s condition “deteriorated” and they had to make a painful decision to put him to sleep.
“Recently, his condition deteriorated and we had to make the very painful decision to let him go to end his suffering. We are only comforted by the fact that he left us peacefully,” wrote Mr Handojo.
In regards to the comment where Anno was “shoved” under a cabinet, Mr Handojo explained that it was one of Anno’s favourite spots in the house for a very long time. He had also claimed that he gave Anno proper food and vitamins.
“In the day, Anno would often lie under the white cabinet in our backyard and this has been one of his favourite spots in the house for a very long time. We made sure to give him proper food and vitamins. Our house is empty now without Anno but we will always cherish the times we shared with him.”
He expressed that many of the comments were negative and accusatory and that these comments hurt him and his family. Mr Handojo said that these comments about “dog abuse” had caused him and his family great distress, as he claimed that many can confirm that he and his family loved Anno deeply.
“Many of the comments were very negative and accusatory. It hurt us very deeply and caused my family great distress to read that some of you are accusing us of dog abuse. This could not be further from the truth and many can confirm that we loved him dearly,” Mr Handojo claimed.
Mr Handojo further stated that Anno’s health deteriorated last week, and they noticed that Anno was experiencing shortness of breath on Monday morning (23 March). This prompted him to bring Anno to the veterinary clinic, and the consultation with the vet had led Mr Handojo to decide that it would be the best decision to euthanise Anno.
“However, since late last week, Anno’s health took a turn for the worst. We were monitoring his condition but when we saw him experiencing shortness of breath on Monday morning, we decided to immediately bring him to see a vet nearby. After consulting with the vet and looking at Anno’s suffering and worsening condition, we felt that the best decision was to let him go.”
He continued to mention that it was difficult to watch their longtime companion suffer and whine in pain, while not being able to do anything to ease the pain. He also stated that he is working with the authorities and he believed that this matter will be investigated thoroughly. Mr Handojo ended his response by requesting the public to give the authorities time as well as understanding during this difficult time.
“You cannot imagine how difficult it was to watch our longtime companion suffer and whine in pain and yet not be able to do anything to ease his pain. We let him go out of love so that he could go in peace.
We are working closely with the authorities and we believe that they will investigate the matter thoroughly and we have faith in the system. We ask that you give the authorities time and in the meantime seek your understanding in this difficult time,” Mr Handojo wrote.
Here is the screenshot of Mr Handojo’s full response: