Dog trainer fails in appeal against pet trade ban after dogs she left in car boot die

SINGAPORE: A dog trainer who was disqualified from running any animal-related business for six months because two French bulldogs died in his care has failed in his appeal against the disqualification order.

Sabrina Sim Xin Huey, 30, was fined S$8,000 in June for leaving the dogs in the trunk of her car for an hour and a half while she was distracted by a social media post .

The dogs, Chocoby and Hunniby, later died of heat stress. Their owners had imported them from Australia to Singapore and hired Sim to train them.

Sim parked her vehicle in an unsheltered spot in an open car park in August 2020 and left the dogs in the trunk after turning off the engine and air conditioning while she was distracted by a social media post.

As part of the court sentence, Sim was also banned from running any animal-related business for six months.

However, Sim appealed the disqualification order, and it was stayed pending the hearing of the appeal.

In a judgment delivered on Tuesday, September 27, Judge Vincent Hoong dismissed Sim’s appeal.

Sim had argued that a court should only impose such disqualification orders “in the most serious cases of animal abuse”, when an offender intentionally inflicts harm on an animal.

Justice Hoong rejected this argument. He pointed to wording in the Animals and Birds Act to say he didn’t support Sim’s argument.

“The court is empowered to impose a disqualification order if a person is found guilty of an offense under (various sections) of the Animals and Birds Act, which offenses are not limited to intentional acts,” he said. said the judge.

He cited an example of how a person who fails to make a reasonable effort to find a missing animal is an offence.

The judge also rejected the argument that the disqualification order against Sim was wrongful because the offense was rooted in his negligence.

“The disqualification order is also intended to punish the appellant for her negligence, to protect other animals and their owners by preventing her from being a person responsible for an animal in the course of her employment in a related business. animals for a period of time and sternly warn others that such negligent conduct will result in a long period of disqualification,” the judge said.

He rejected the argument that the length of the order was “grossly excessive” and said the length of the order “gave sufficient weight to the fact that the appellant’s negligence resulted in the deaths of two dogs “.

Sim had requested that the disqualification order be backdated “to treat the period of disqualification as ‘past,'” but the judge again denied that request.

“It would render the disqualification order entirely void and undermine the purposes of a disqualification order…especially since the Appellant continued to take on clients and provide dog training services after the material incident” , Judge Hoong said.

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