SINGAPORE – A video capturing a male employee caning a puppy in a pet store in Katong has gone viral, sparking outrage among netizens and prompting a swift response from the implicated business.
The footage, shared by a Facebook user to a Facebook group, “Dogs Singapore”, on 21 November, shows the puppy whimpering as the male staff member administers physical punishment.
Onlookers witnessed the incident through the glass of the pet store, leading to an immediate call for action and the closure of the establishment.
Pet store issued public apology for previous incident of pet abuse by ex-employee
The pet store in question, “Whatupdawg,” addressed the incident with a public apology posted on their Instagram and Facebook accounts.
According to the store’s statement in their Instagram story, the incident occurred in November 2022, and the store became aware of it on June 23 of the current year when approached by the National Parks Board (NParks) and the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS).
The store confirmed that the employee involved in the incident, identified as Sim, has been dismissed.
The management expressed deep regret for the incident and assured the public of their commitment to collaborating with authorities to address the matter appropriately.
The public apology also outlined the store’s plan to conduct thorough training and education for both existing and future employees to prevent the recurrence of such distressing incidents.
The store emphasized its dedication to maintaining a safe and compassionate environment for animals under its care.
Additionally, in their next slide, the store requests the public to avoid seeking information about the employee featured in the video to prevent any potential repercussions on his part.
“The authorities had already take actions against him,” the shop said.
Facebook post on pet abuse elicits strong response: shares, comments, and calls for action
As of the time of writing, the Facebook post made on Tuesday (21 Nov) has received 246 “likes” and reactions, 137 comments, and approximately 522 shares.
Numerous netizens have expressed their discontent with the way the dog was treated in the video.
According to the original poster (OP), the video was shared with her by a friend from a family.
In an effort to raise awareness, she shared the video publicly, hoping that the pet store would take appropriate action against the employee seen in the footage.
However, she was unaware that the incident had occurred in the past, and authorities had already addressed the situation.
Several users in the comment section provided information to the OP, pointing out the timeline of events and sharing screenshots of official statements from the pet shop and relevant authorities.
A user who reached out to the pet shop directly shared a screenshot provided by the store, illustrating a previous conversation between NParks and Sim on 23 June 2023.
This aligns with the information presented in the pet shop’s statement on their Instagram story.
The OP has since apologized in her post, acknowledging her lack of awareness regarding the timing of the incident and the fact that authorities had already addressed the issue.
“When I was told of this incident, I am disgusted and furious how the dogs are treated. They are just newly born puppies that are helpless. I still stand by what I said that this is not the way to teach any dogs.
“I am not affiliated to any competitor petshops/ pet industry to slander this Petshop. I only came to know about this incident yesterday which is why I posted it.
“Many people here, like me, is not aware of this incident either till they saw the reply from SPCA ( I believe) or some authorized authority,” she added.
She clarified that she has no intention of removing the post, emphasizing that her original intention was only to raise awareness about the abuse rather than to discredit or harm the reputation of the store.
She asserted that she is not a “malicious keyboard warrior” who fabricates information on the internet.
However, she acknowledged that she would respect the group admin’s decision if they chose to delete her post.
SPCA addresses video of pet abuse and advocates against animal cruelty
In a statement posted on their Facebook page, the Singapore Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) acknowledges the matter, stating that they are aware of a video being re-circulated online.
The video depicts a dog in a pet shop cowering in a corner “while being repeatedly struck with the wand of a vacuum cleaner.”
“This is an old video which was reported to the SPCA in November 2022. Our Inspectorate had escalated the case to the authorities,” SPCA said.
They further mentioned that they have subsequently implemented “enforcement action against the individual for causing unnecessary pain or suffering to the dog.”
SPCA emphasized the importance of not hitting, hurting, or threatening pets, urging people to recognize that animals can experience pain and distress just like humans.
Under the Animals and Birds Act, individuals found guilty of cruelty to animals (including abandonment) can face a jail term of up to 18 months and/or a maximum fine of $15,000.
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