SINGAPORE — A man who illegally sold a Jack Russell Terrier from his home and lost two Maltese dogs he was adopting was fined $3,300 on Wednesday (6 October).
Steven Seah Shao Yi, a sales manager, had adopted the Jack Russell terrier for free but placed it for adoption for a fee of $1,000 a few days later.
When asked by District Judge Marvin Bay why he had done so, Seah, 42, told the court that he suffered from “very severe” obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and that the dog had caused him a lot of anxiety due to its “destructive behaviour”.
After he sold the Jack Russel Terrier, Seah adopted two Maltese dogs. One of the dogs, called Uno, escaped when Seah was on his way home and he failed to find it.
He pleaded guilty to failing to keep Uno on a leash and under his control while near his home at Punggol on 8 October last year, and to using his residence to keep the Jack Russell for sale without a license. A charge of allowing the other Maltese dog Snuggles to go missing on 10 October last year was considered for his sentencing.
The original owner of the Jack Russell offered the dog for adoption for free on Facebook. After seeing the post, Seah arranged for a visit and later adopted the Jack Russell.
The dog was handed to Seah on 26 June last year and its license transferred to him. He was supposed to bring the Jack Russell to a vet for an appointment the next day with a friend of the original owner. But Seah failed to show up. When contacted by the original owner, Seah claimed that he felt unwell.
On 28 June last year, the original owner’s wife found that Seah had placed the Jack Russell for adoption on Facebook for a fee of $1,000. Seah said that the Jack Russell had been barking at his mother non-stop and had scratched his sofa.
The original owner then visited Seah’s residence to ask for the dog to be returned. Seah, however, said he could do whatever he wanted with the dog. The original owner then lodged a report with the Animal and Veterinary Service. Someone else adopted the dog for $1,000.
According to National Parks Board (NParks) prosecutor Wendy Tan, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’s (SPCA) standard adoption rate was between $25 and $350, and Seah had “grossly inflated” the sum, which he disguised as an adoption fee.
Lost two Maltese dogs within days
On 6 October, Seah came across a person’s rehoming notice on SPCA’s board offering two Maltese dogs for free. The original owner said that the dogs did not get along with her cat.
Seah adopted the dogs on 8 October and was given two dog leashes. Seah booked GrabPet transport to bring them home, but Uno broke free. Seah managed to recover Uno and placed it in the car. He claimed that he had leashed the dog while he was in the car.
Uno dashed off when the man arrived in Punggol as it was not leashed. The dog was later found by a deliveryman, who contacted a friend for help to look for its owner. Uno was brought to a nearby vet clinic where its microchip number was retrieved.
When Uno’s photos were posted online, Seah reached out to claim ownership of it. Even though he made arrangements to retrieve Uno, he later declined to collect the dog, which was then placed for adoption again.
Accused wanted to keep dog despite OCD
Asked to mitigate, Seah told the court that Uno’s collar had broken before he entered the GrabPet car and he was unable to leash Uno.
Seah said he was carrying a “big bag of paraphernalia” on one hand and holding on to Snuggle’s leash on the other, and as such, he could not handle Uno. He claimed to have tried locating Uno for over an hour.
On the Jack Russell, he said, “I was not told it had a biting habit or destructive behaviour. It scratched my sofa and damaged my mobile phone and wallet…The fee I asked for was to cover the loses.” The damages were causing Seah anxiety due to his OCD.
Asked by DJ Bay how bad his OCD was, Seah said he spent hours a day ruminating and checking on things. Despite his condition, Seah kept a dog for companionship.
When DJ Bay raised the possibility of a dog shedding fur, Seah said that he was willing to put in extra effort to care for a dog.
Asked how he ended up with three dogs, Seah said, “After (the Jack Russell was) handed over to the next owner, I was thinking the Maltese may be compliant and less aggressive. That’s the reason why I adopted them. Cause they were in a pair I did not want to separate them.”
DJ Bay then pointed out that a Maltese has more fur as it is a long-haired dog. Seah replied that since such a dog is smaller, he could deal with its shedded fur.
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