Halfway through his dinner at Pek Kio Market & Food Centre, a man spotted an elderly woman scolding and brandishing a cane towards her pet dog.
The shocking sight was filmed and uploaded to TikTok on yesterday (Nov 9) by user Aventmetier, who only wanted to be known as Ming.
In the minute-long footage, the elderly woman can first be seen striking the stool the dog is sitting on as the animal flinches away, lifting its paw up from the seat.
While she speaks with another patron, the dog rises from its seated position and spins around to lay on the stool.
The elderly woman then turns her attention back to the dog, scooping it up to sit upright before launching into a tirade against the animal. She lashes the table thrice, also raising the cane at one point as if to hit the dog.
“This felt so wrong and stressful to watch,” wrote the diner. “Can any dog group or community help this dog?”
Ming, 31, told AsiaOne that the video was recorded at 8pm on Nov 9, around 20 seconds after the elderly woman started scolding the dog.
Although the elderly woman did not hit the dog, the diner said that the scene is “still very traumatising”.
Ming explained that he did not confront the woman as he was still having his dinner and felt that a confrontation “would cause a long argument there and nothing would be solved at that situation”, adding that he believed an animal community or the authorities will need to step in to resolve this.
The witness said he also heard that the elderly woman is reportedly infamous in the area.
“I was told some dog community has reached out to her and went to her house. But she refused to open the door,” said Ming, who added that his sister, who is part of a cat community, was the one who told him this.
He also said that his mother alleged that it is “not the first time she (the elderly woman) took out the cane”.
A netizen backed up the claim, exclaiming: “I saw this auntie with her abused pet before. This is definitely not ok!!!”
“Can scold the pet but not advisable to use cane,” wrote another.
However, some thought that the elderly woman was simply disciplining the dog.
“I stay in the area and see this auntie every time with the dog in the trolley. She did not even hit the dog at all in the video,” one netizen pointed out.
“Discipline not abusing, by looking at the surface doesn’t mean the picture is true,” commented another.
Case escalated to authorities, says SPCA
The Singapore Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said in an Instagram post today (Nov 10) that they are aware of the “concerning” TikTok video circulating online and have escalated the case to the authorities.
Staff from the SPCA and volunteers from the Moulmein-Cairnhill Constituency Office had visited the woman’s residence on May 4 and provided her with guidance and counselling to ensure the well-being and proper care of her pets.
A firm warning was also issued then, emphasising that further action would be taken if she did not comply with the advice given.
“This individual had previously been identified by the SPCA regarding similar animal welfare concerns,” said SPCA’s executive director Aarthi Sankar in response to AsiaOne’s queries.
“Regrettably, it seems that she has not followed the recommended guidelines. Thus, we will be taking further action and have concurrently escalated the matter to the authorities.”
The SPCA added that animals can feel pain and distress, and the society “firmly stands for using humane and force-free training methods”.
“We urge pet owners never to hit, hurt, or threaten their pets to make them behave. Such methods may contribute to heightened fear and anxiety in your pets.”
SPCA also urged the public to contact their emergency hotline 6287 5355 ext 9, make a report on their website, or email firstname.lastname@example.org if they witness any cases of suspected animal abuse, cruelty, or neglect.
Under the Animals and Birds Act, any person who cruelly beats, kicks, ill-treats ,over-rides, over-drives, over-loads, tortures, infuriates or terrifies any animal shall be guilty of an offence.
For the first offence, those found guilty may face a fine of up to $15,000, or a jail term of up to 18 months, or both.
Those found guilty of a second or subsequent offence may face a fine of up to $30,000, or a jail term of up to three years, or to both.
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