A woman lost her almost one-year-old puppy, moments after it was crushed by a car in the area of Lorong K Telok Kurau on Saturday (23 January).
When the woman, Sulin Lau, went to the police to make a report on the hit and run incident, she was informed that eyewitness accounts were not enough for the Singapore Police Force to open an investigation.
In a Facebook post on Monday (25 January), Ms Lau said that she had two eyewitnesses, a photo of the car license plate as well as a photo of the driver’s face.
However, she was informed that the burden of proof is on her, meaning she has to prove that the man hit her dog twice and that he tried to flee the scene.
“Otherwise, police will log my report but not actively investigate”, she said.
“What I need is irrefutable video—CCTV & dashcams that he HIT and he tried to RUN,” she added.
As such, Ms Lau pleaded on Facebook for anyone with video footage of the incident to come forward.
Based on eyewitness accounts, Ms Lau recounted the incident in hopes that someone might be able to come forward with video footage to confirm three facts gathered from eyewitnesses in order for the police to “formally investigate”.
First, a silver Toyota MPV hit the dog for the first time in front of FIVENINE Condo at Lorong K Telok Kurau.
There was a loud bang and the dog, weighing about 15kg, was flung into the air “10 feet forward on the road”.
Next, the car did not stop or even attempt to break. Instead, it drove forward and hit the dog a second time in front of the next building, Sunshine Residences.
Then the driver drove over the dog, still not stopping until he reached the end of Lorong K toward Telok Kurau Road when he realised his license plate was on the road behind him.
The driver then reversed past the dog, parked at the gate of Veranda Condo, got out to pick up “the evidence” of his license plate.
He spotted an onlooker who was crossing the street towards him. That’s when he got back into the car and tried to reverse away.
The onlooker confronted the man and prevented him from driving away. The onlooker also managed to get the driver out of the car and took down his details and photos.
The incident occurred at approximately 4 pm on Saturday about 300 metres away from a PCF Sparkletots Preschool.
Ms Lau wrote in her post, “I’m pleading for ANY CCTV or dashcam footage to confirm the three actions of the driver, so the police don’t close this case for ‘insufficient evidence’ as they have done so with many pet-related hit and runs despite animal hit and runs being technically a jailable offence under the Road Traffic Act.
She added that she was told by that if she proves that the man was speeding without speed cameras and that the burden of proving that he actually committed this atrocity is on her, despite having eyewitness accounts.
“But if nothing is done—as with so many animal hit and run crimes reported to the police—then this post will simply remind the government agencies and folks I’ve tagged that they did nothing to prevent a future (human) incident,” she warned.
Ms Lau clarified that she’s not seeking compensation or jail time for the driver.
“I just want the police to do their job and enforce the law by investigating, not ignoring it,” she stressed.
She added that a few people have relayed to her their own experiences of how the police close animal cases without investigations even when there is “perfect CCTV”.
Ms Lau continued, “A law consistently unenforced is a useless important law that weakens the overall rule of law.”
About 11 hours after posting her plea on Facebook, Ms Lau updated the post to say that the police have called her to inform her that an investigating officer has begun probing into the incident and has started interviewing the contacts provided.
“All 4 condos responded but no footage yet,” she said. “Want to give police all help I can find — additional witnesses to corroborate first 2, and dashcam is best bet as unobstructed view of street than condo CCTV.”
While it is a relief that the police eventually came around to investigating the hit and run, this incident raises two questions: Why did the police say they would not investigate without video footage of the hit and run, and why did they shift the responsibility of gathering more evidence to the dog’s owner instead?
She had already gone to them with eyewitness accounts and photographs of the culprit as well as his car.
Was that not enough for the police to start investigating the case themselves and gather more evidence? After all, is it not their job to investigate offences under the law?
It is also rather curious that the SPF took several hours to inform Ms Lau that they had opened an investigation—that is, hours after she made a public post about the matter online.