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The Straits Times
January 1, 2023
The owner of a big dog that mauled a smaller dog was fined by the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) in December 2022.
AVS declined to give the fine amount, but under the Animals and Birds Act, an errant dog owner can receive a maximum composition fine of $1,000.
On Sept 19 last year, the 3kg maltipoo – a cross between a maltese and a toy poodle – named Milo was attacked by the Alaskan malamute more than 10 times its weight along Namly Avenue between 7pm and 7.30pm. The dogs were being walked at the time – Milo by a helper, and the malamute by its owner.
Ms Jennifer Fan, Milo’s owner, said the malamute’s owner had signalled for her helper to walk past them. Her helper hesitated at first, given the size of the malamute, but then decided to continue walking. The malamute lunged towards Milo and mauled the small dog as they got closer.
The helper, traumatised by the attack, collapsed on the ground, and neighbours called an ambulance for her. They also alerted Ms Fan, who lives nearby.
Milo was taken to a vet hospital, where it spent more than a week in the intensive care unit. It had a severed kidney and needed two operations, said Ms Fan.
The composition fine was issued to the malamute owner following the AVS’ probe into the incident. Such a fine means that the owner may not face prosecution in court, which may result in a more severe punishment if convicted.
AVS group director Jessica Kwok said last week: “The AVS takes all feedback received from the public on animal health and welfare seriously. Investigations into the case have concluded, and we have taken enforcement action against the owner of the Alaskan malamute.”
She pointed out that the Animals and Birds (Dog Licensing and Control) Rules require a dog to be leashed and kept under proper control when in public places. “This is to ensure a safe environment for members of the public, their pet animals, and one’s own pet when in public places,” she said. A dog owner can be prosecuted in court when the rules are breached.
Ms Kwok added that while pet dogs may be trained and are well-behaved and obedient, they are still susceptible to mood changes and external stimuli. They may also be triggered by unforeseen circumstances.
She said: “There have been many incidents of pet dogs running off unexpectedly. Some of these incidents resulted in the dogs being hit by passing vehicles, or causing injury to people and other animals. Keeping pet dogs leashed and under proper control will help to prevent such incidents.”
It will also reduce unintended disturbances and prevent harm to other people or pets, she added.
Milo’s medical bill has exceeded $21,000, and Ms Fan has engaged law firm BR Law Corporation to seek compensation from the malamute owner through a possible civil lawsuit. “Milo has made a full recovery physically, but is very scared to get close to any other dog or unfamiliar people. It still needs more time for the emotional trauma to heal,” she said.