On 8th February 2018, Chong Choom Kiat, 40, was sentenced to 12 months of mandatory treatment order (MTO) and barred from owning animals for a year.
The MTO, a community sentencing option for offenders suffering from mental conditions, compels Chong to undergo treatment in lieu of jail time. The Institute of Mental Health had diagnosed him with what is known as an “adjustment disorder with depressed mood”.
The part-time chef was in a heated argument with his 23-year-old girlfriend on 30th October 2016 and later commented that Chong’s female Maltese dog, Sweet Sweet, was making a lot of noise.
Chong then went on to use a shirt to cover the dog’s head and attempted to suffocate it. Realising that the dog was still kicking and alive, he used a leash to further tighten the shirt that was wrapped around its head.
If that’s not violent and inhumane enough, Chong continued to stab the dog at its thorax region numerous time with a fishing knife, while holding the helpless dog down.
Sensing the bloodied dog’s death, Chong threw the dog, together with the shirt and dog leash into the common rubbish chute of his block at Hougang Avenue 6’s void deck.
Shortly after the incident, his girlfriend lodged a police report at Hougang Neighbourhood Police Centre against him that same day. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority’s officers then arrived at the block and recovered the dog’s carcass, the shirt and the leash.
Chong, who is represented by pro bono lawyer Diana Ngiam under the Enhanced Guidance for Plea Scheme, had admitted to ill-treating the Maltese between 4 and 5pm that day.
For animal cruelty, Chong could have been fined up to $15,000 and/or jailed for up to 18 months under the Animal and Birds Act.