This article was updated on Tuesday, October 5, at 5:17 pm.
A viral Facebook video of a Singaporean man who allegedly set his pet dog on fire has caught the attention of the SPCA.
SPCA said on Sunday (Nov 3) night that the man is currently not residing in Singapore.
The viral video has sparked outrage among netizens who are calling for SPCA to rescue the dog from his “devil hands”.
On Tuesday (Nov 5), SPCA reported that the man has since gone to the police in Thailand to own up for what he did.
Treat animals right, or the long arm of the law (or social media) will catch up with you.
A Singaporean man who allegedly set his pet dog on fire has voluntarily gone to the police in Thailand to identify himself, Singapore’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said on Tuesday (Nov 5) afternoon.
“Yesterday, the suspect in this case reached out to the SPCA and offered to fully cooperate with the authorities in Thailand to take responsibility for his actions, as well as to have the dog assessed,” SPCA said in a Facebook post.
“He has since visited the Thai police to own up to what he did. Thai authorities are currently investigating the case,” the nonprofit added.
SPCA had first appealed for information on the perpetrator via its Facebook page a week ago, after the video went viral, by posting screenshots from the video and photographs from the man’s own social media account.
“We are urgently seeking information on the man pictured here to assist with investigations. Additionally, we are looking for information relating to the address of where the dog is located,” the organisation wrote.
“The safety of the dog is of utmost importance at the moment and we will do everything we can to protect the animal from further harm,” it added.
SPCA said it also lodged a police report against the man who is “apparently based in Singapore and Thailand”.
The original video, which shows a dog’s fur being set on fire three times, has since been taken down, but some copies may still be circulating online.
On Monday (Nov 4) morning, SPCA said that it had visited a flat in Tampines together with the Singapore Police Force as part of its ongoing investigations into the video.
However, preliminary investigations “suggest that the dog is not residing in Singapore,” it wrote.
The SPCA added that it would be following up on other leads, and will provide all evidence gathered to “the relevant authorities where the cruelty occurred”.
“A clear message is being sent that animal cruelty will not be tolerated,” it said.
Some netizens then left comments informing SPCA that the alleged abuser had written that he was residing in Bangkok, and that he had many other dogs.
Internet praises decision not to share video
The non-profit’s quick response has earned it praise from netizens in Singapore.
One netizen said that SPCA’s decision to not republish the video was “most appreciated”, adding that the organisation had “amazing speed in action”.
Many others also praised SPCA for their prompt action.
Under Singapore law, any person found guilty of animal cruelty faces a fine of up to S$15,000 and imprisonment for up to 18 months, or both.
Repeat offenders can be fined up to S$30,000 and jailed for up to three years, or both.
In 2017, another man was convicted of causing his pet poodle’s death after he ran down 19 flights of stairs with the dog attached to him on a leash, The Straits Times (ST) reported.
According to ST, 46-year-old driver Yeo Poh Kwee then abandoned the dog at the staircase landing. He was eventually sentenced to the maximum imprisonment term of 18 months for one count of animal cruelty, and an additional two months for abandonment.
Yeo was also handed a concurrent 12-month jail term for failing to take another dog under his care, to a veterinarian for treatment. The toy poodle also died as a result.
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