Volunteers were stunned by the dog's appearance, but the owners of the Shih Tzu named Buddy "calmly surrendered" the dog as though "everything was fine".
"When we looked at Buddy’s picture, it was so gruesome that we took a while to realise it was a dog," wrote the animal welfare group HOPE Dog Rescue Singapore in a Facebook post on Jan. 5.
A serious case of neglect
When the volunteers first met Buddy, he was skin and bones, and "the smell of rotting flesh filled the room".
The staff at the clinic were also shocked to see Buddy, who was in much worse condition than the stray dogs typically brought in by the group.
Though the owners claimed that Buddy is seven years old, the vet estimated that he is twice as old.
Buddy is also not sterilised, and the owners said that Buddy has never been brought to visit a vet.
Multiple health issues
A closer physical examination revealed that Buddy was deaf and blind, and suffered from several serious health issues.
Buddy had high blood pressure, elevated kidney readings, and an open mass under his neck that that could not be removed as it is attached to major blood vessels.
He had pus oozing from his gums, and some of the few teeth he had left were extracted as they were rotten.
Buddy’s testicles were abnormally-sized, which had to be removed under sedation.
The vet also removed countless warts from Buddy's body. They were benign tumours that have spread and multiplied over time due to neglect.
Diagnosed with skin cancer
Buddy had an obvious swollen and infected mass on his right ear which was successfully removed after a two-hour surgery.The huge mass weighed 350g, and had likely been left bleeding and growing for more than a year.
The mass was found to be a cancerous tumour after further testing, and Buddy was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, which has spread to his lungs.
Help with vet bills
Despite all his medical conditions, Buddy is described as loving and the "sweetest little soul ever".
Buddy is currently stable and healing well, and will be discharged to a foster home after a few more days of supervision at the vet's.
The volunteers have since reported this as a case of gross neglect and abuse to the relevant authorities.
To help the animal rescue group with Buddy's vet bills, email [email protected]
Mothership has also reached out to the National Parks Board (NParks) for a statement.
The Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS), a cluster of NParks, is investigating the allegation of failure in duty of care for a pet Shih Tzu.
Jessica Kwok, Group Director of AVS, said that AVS takes all feedback seriously, and does not condone mistreatment of pets.
First-time offenders caught abusing an animal may be charged under the Animals and Birds Act, and could be fined up to $15,000, jailed up to 18 months, or both.
AVS shared their guidelines for pet owners:
Pet owners can refer to the Code of Animal Welfare for Pet Owners to learn about the minimum standards expected of animal housing, management, and care. The Code of Animal Welfare for Pet Owners is also available in the form of a booklet and infographics.
Being a pet owner is a lifelong commitment, and owners must be responsible and provide appropriate care for the animals. Pet owners are reminded to fulfil the standard of care for their pets’ physical and emotional health, ensure the pet’s shelter is safe, and provide suitable food and water regularly. Owners should understand the needs of their pets through observing their behaviours and continue to provide care and appropriate attention to their pets through:
a) Providing adequate exercise through play or short walks;
b) Maintaining a routine such as consistent feeding times. This will reduce the possibility of anxiety caused by the lack of predictability; and
c) Ensuring that your pet is provided with space for rest and time to themselves.
Owners are advised to observe their pets closely to identify signs of distress and contact their veterinarian if they have any concerns. Pets require constant care and attention.
AVS added that they will continue to raise awareness of the community and potential pet owners on responsible pet ownership and reinforce the message on the commitment of owning a pet through events, talks, roving exhibition panels, school plays and resource package for schools.
AVS also works closely with stakeholders, such as animal welfare groups and veterinarians to promote responsible pet ownership and adoption.
Top images by HOPE Dog Rescue.