A 30-year-old woman, allegedly the operator of Platinium Dogs Club, was arrested on Sunday, Jan. 6.
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) revealed the arrest in response to media queries.
Identity figured out
Several postings on Facebook had found that a number listed on the now-defunct PDC website was listed on the websites of two other businesses -- a flower delivery service and a tuition centre.
It also reported that the platiniumdogsclub.com domain name was registered by a Charlotte Liew on April 18, 2018.
This woman's name was also linked to the sites of the other two businesses.
AVA reportedly declined to comment on the identity of the arrested woman.
Commercial pet boarding services not allowed
Yahoo Singapore reported it had checked on the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’s Bizfile+ system and found that Liew’s address was listed as 7 Galistan Avenue on the document.
7 Galistan Avenue, which is the site of a private semi-detached house, is the location of Platinium.
The facility was billed on its now-defunct website as “fully air-conditioned daily” and “cage-free” boarding house for pets with staff having “more than 20 years of experience in handling dogs”.
But it was not officially registered.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority prohibits the provision of commercial pet boarding services in private residential properties.
It is understood that farms can apply for a license from the AVA to provide such services that are usually limited to farms.
Allegations of negligence
The AVA were prompted to step in after several allegations of negligence were made by dog owners who left their pets at Platinium earlier in December 2018.
One dog owner told the media that her her 14-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, QQ, died after a stay at Platinium.
Members of public approached PDC
On Jan. 2, a group of people gathered outside the facility at Galistan Avenue, demanding information on Prince, a seven-year-old shetland sheepdog that went missing under Platinium’s care.
This prompted the police to be called.
A 33-year-old driver of the vehicle reversing out of the compound and the group of people comprising seven women and four men, including a 40-year-old man who was injured outside the unit after supposedly getting hit by the vehicle, are assisting with police investigations.
The dog remains missing as of Monday night.
In a joint statement issued on Jan. 5, the AVA and police advised the public not to take matters into their own hands or engage in any actions that may violate the law or cause harm to themselves and others.
The saga has also sparked a Change.org online petition calling for stiffer penalties against animal abusers.
Close to 58,000 signatures have been collected since it started on Jan. 3.
Under the Animal & Birds Act, a person who is convicted of failing to care for animals in the course of conducting an animal-related business may be fined up to S$40,000, jailed up to two years, or both.
Assisting in investigations
The operator of the controversial pet boarding facility is “assisting with investigations on alleged animal welfare-related offences”, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development Sun Xueling in a Facebook post on Monday, Jan. 7.The MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC added that “several” pet owners have been reunited with their dogs that were being previously boarded with Platinium, said Sun.
But she did not mention how many.
The AVA had previously taken 18 dogs and one rabbit into temporary custody after raiding the facility’s premises on Dec. 29 and 31.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam had urged the public to remain calm in a Jan. 5 post earlier.
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