A dog, Loki, who was seemingly unlawfully put down has been in the headlines lately. According to reports, Loki was a puppy who was adopted from an animal shelter, Exclusively Mongrels (EM). In the adoption contract, the adopter was supposed to have returned Loki to EM if he or she decided that they no longer wanted the dog. For reasons unknown, the adopter did not do this and instead chose to euthanise Loki for purported aggression.
Unsurprisingly, this has caused outrage. It was not as if the adopter had no other avenue open. He or she could have easily contacted EM to take Loki back. The vet who undertook the euthanisation is also under fire for putting the dog down instead of contacting EM.
As emotions run high, Minister for Law and Home Affairs, K Shanmugam has called for restraint and said that the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) needed to be given space to conduct their investigations without public pressure.
While Shanmugam’s call for calm is understandable, it must be noted that no one knows what the AVS’s criteria for investigation is. Is there a standard procedure for investigation? The last thing the animal loving public wants is a situation where the issue gets swept under the carpet. There is fear that if we do not keep Loki’s name alive, justice will not be forthcoming.
Take the incident of Prince, the Shetland Sheepdog that allegedly died under the care of the Platinum Dogs Club in January last year. At that time, the public were understandably concerned about the welfare of Prince and wanted to know what happened.
Shanmugam had similarly called for calm while investigations were pending. It is now over a year since that incident and there has not been any updates on the matter. Surely, investigations do not take over a year?
Given the seeming silence over the Prince incident, the public is understandably worried that Loki’s case will simply go quiet without answers.
It is clear that a significant number of Singaporeans care deeply about animals. With that in mind, it might be worthwhile for the government to enact clearer rules, laws and processes to deal with such unfortunate matters. Clarity goes a long way to combat presumption, assumption and speculation.
In this case, there does seem to be a prima facie case of breach of contract on the part of the adopters. In putting down a puppy when there is a rescue willing to take it back, the vet might also have been negligent. Did the vet know about the arrangement? Did he or she ask? Should he or she have asked? Do we need clearer rules for vets in these situations to avoid future mistakes?