Platinium Dogs Club scandal (2018)
Pet boarding house Platinium Dogs Club, located at 7 Galistan Avenue, found itself in hot water as a number of animal abuse allegations against the company surfaced in December 2018. Many pet owners who had engaged in their services reported that their dogs were returned with unexplained injuries.
Details of incident
Claims of negligence and mistreatment
Allegations first surfaced on 20 December 2018 when a Facebook user by the name of Elaine Yong published a post (original Facebook post) about the unsatisfactory pet boarding experience she had with Platinium Dogs Club. Her Shih Tzu, Pika, had been returned to her on 12 December 2018 in a sorry state. After a 5 day stay at Platinium Dogs Club, Pika was found to have suffered injuries to his genitalia and had dirty and matted fur. The user then confronted the owner of Platinium Dogs Club, Charlotte Liew, who goes by ‘Rachel’ when dealing with customers, regarding Pika’s miserable state. Charlotte Liew denied all allegations made against her. When Pika’s owner attempted to probe further, Charlotte Liew did not respond.
Following that incident, another individual took to Facebook (original Facebook post) on 25 December 2018 to voice her dissatisfaction regarding Platinium Dogs Club’s services. Priscilla Loo stated in her post that her friend's Chow Chow was healthy when he was checked in to Platinum Dogs Club. However, he was returned to his owner with wet and tangled fur. Upon a visit to a veterinarian soon after the incident, it was discovered that he had rashes and sores on his body. The veterinarian cited prolonged exposure to urine and fecal matter as the reason for the dog’s poor condition.
Many other allegations emerged within the month, with some dog owners blaming Platinium Dogs Club’s negligent and irresponsible services for the subsequent death of their beloved dogs, who all passed shortly after their stay with Platinium Dogs Club.
Investigation and raids
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) investigated the matter after receiving formal complaints regarding Platinium Dogs Club’s alleged mistreatment of animals. On 29 and 31 December 2018, two raids were conducted at the establishment by the AVA, Singapore Police Force and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) officials. A total of 18 dogs and a rabbit were rescued during the raids. The animals were kept in temporary custody of the AVA, as some of the owners were still overseas. They were eventually returned to their rightful owners.
Escalation of incident (Prince the Shetland Sheepdog)
On 30 December 2018, dog owner Elaine Mao was informed by Platinium Dogs Club staff that during the raid by AVA, her Shetland Sheepdog who was boarded at the facility, Prince, had gone missing. Elaine Mao was overseas when notified about her Prince’s disappearance. She rushed back to Singapore upon hearing the news. In a Facebook post update (original Facebook post), she explained that she had contacted AVA, who clarified and confirmed that they did not encounter any Shetland Sheepdogs during the raid on 29 December 2018.
On 2 January 2019, a video (original Facebook video) emerged online of Elaine Mao kneeling on the ground to plead for information about Prince. However, she was blatantly ignored by the other woman in the video, allegedly Charlotte Liew. The AVA later confirmed on 9 January 2019 that Prince had passed away while he was at Platinium Dogs Club, and was not missing as believed. He had been sent for cremation without the consent and acknowledgement of his owner. Elaine Mao had requested for Prince’s ashes. Her fiance, Matt Rowe took to popular forum page Reddit to post a eulogy for Prince. He also urged the public to have faith in the police and AVA’s investigation, and not to engage in any activities that would compromise the ongoing investigations.
A minor accident also occurred at the premises of Platinium Dogs Club on the same day. A group of roughly 10 people crowded the driveway of the establishment to obstruct Charlotte Liew, who was allegedly trying to leave the scene. The police arrived at the site after they were alerted of the situation, and advised the group stay clear of the driveway to ensure their personal safety. The caller was allegedly Charlotte Liew. The group did not leave, which resulted in a 40-year-old man from the group being hit by the reversing car. The man was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
Charlotte Liew was arrested by authorities on 6 January 2019, and would be investigated for the multiple allegations of animal abuse.
On 5 January 2019, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam addressed the issue via a Facebook post (original Facebook post). He reassured the public of his commitment to ensure that all allegations made with regards to the incident would be thoroughly investigated and carried out, and any parties who have committed crimes would be duly prosecuted.
On 7 January 2019, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development Sun Xueling confirmed on Facebook (original Facebook post) that the AVA would continue to investigate Platinium Dogs Club, and urged members of the public to let the authorities handle the case.
On 3 January 2019, a petition to impose stiffer punishment against animal abuse in Singapore was launched online. As of 17 January 2019, close to 72,000 signatures have been collected.
References / Citations
- Accessed on 18 January 2019. Retrieved from Elaine Yong’s Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/elaine.yong.391/posts/10161097908660304?hc_location=ufi
- Danao, Monique. “3 More Platinium Dogs Club Cases Uncovered By Netizens’ CSI Efforts”. MustshareNews. December 28, 2018. Accessed on 18 January 2019. Retrieved from: https://mustsharenews.com/platinium-dogs-club-cases/
- “AVA investigates pet boarding service Platinium Dogs Club for alleged mistreatment”. Channel NewsAsia. December 31, 2018. Accessed on 18 January 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/ava-investigates-platinium-dogs-club-alleged-mistreatment-11074824?cid=h3_referral_inarticlelinks_24082018_cna
- Goh, Yan Han. “AVA takes temporary custody of animals found at Platinium Dogs Club”. The Straits Times. January 2, 2019. Accessed on 18 January 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/ava-takes-temporary-custody-of-animals-found-at-platinium-dogs-club
- Accessed on 18 January 2019. Retrieved from Lost and Found Pet’s Facebook Page, Post by Elaine Mao Yanlan: https://www.facebook.com/groups/232319896968264/permalink/1283080475225529/
- Lo, Jun An. “Missing Platinium Dogs Club Dog Confirmed Dead; Ominous Signs There All Along”. MustshareNews. January 9, 2019. Accessed on 18 January 2019. Retrieved from: https://mustsharenews.com/platinium-dogs-club-dead/
- Accessed on 18 January 2019. Retrieved from Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority’s Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/avasg/posts/2031460956930421
- Reddit. Accessed on 18 January 2019. Retrieved from: https://old.reddit.com/r/singapore/comments/ae2zgq/ava_preliminary_investigations_have_revealed_that/edm80p1/
- Goh, Timothy. “Platinium Dogs Club saga: Anyone who has engaged in illegal acts will face the consequences, says Shanmugam”. The Straits Times. January 8, 2019. Accessed on 18 January 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/platinium-dogs-club-saga-anyone-who-has-engaged-in-illegal-acts-will-face-the-consequences
- “Man taken to hospital after car accident outside Platinium Dogs Club”. Channel NewsAsia. January 3, 2019. Accessed on 18 January 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/man-taken-to-hospital-after-car-accident-outside-platinium-dogs-11080788
- Choo, Yun Ting. “Operator of pet facility arrested amid AVA probe”. The Straits Times. January 8, 2019. Accessed on 18 January 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/operator-of-pet-facility-arrested-amid-ava-probe
- Accessed on 18 January 2019. Retrieved from K Shanmugan Sc’s Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/k.shanmugam.page/posts/2035907416455778
- Accessed on 18 January 2019. Retrieved from Sun Xueling’s Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/helloxueling/posts/2383284601745851
- Change.org. Accessed on 17 January 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.change.org/p/stiffer-punishment-against-animals-abuse-in-singapore