SINGAPORE — A man was fined $4,000 on Wednesday (10 March) after helping a woman abandon 16 cats in Punggol.
Muhammad Haidhar Zulkifli, 33, pleaded guilty to two charges of pet abandonment. Another 14 charges of the same offence were taken into consideration for his sentencing.
The woman he helped, 35-year-old Nur Hajjar Osman, was earlier fined $4,000 over similar charges. He is not related to Hajjar, according to court proceedings.
Separately, Haidhar was sentenced to a jail term of two months and one week for offences involving duty unpaid cigarettes. He pleaded guilty to one out of two counts under the Customs Act for dealing with uncustomed goods.
The court heard that on 28 February 2019, Hajjar requested Haidhar to help release her 16 cats as she was unable to care for them. Haidhar agreed to help her.
At about 1am on 1 March 2019, Haidhar arrived at Hajjar’s flat in Punggol and brought down the cats in five cages.
He loaded the cats onto a lorry he had borrowed and drove around before finally deciding to release them in the vicinity of 222A Sumang Lane at around 3am.
The authorities later received feedback from a member of the public that the cats had been found abandoned in the area. All the cats were eventually rescued.
Separately, Haidhar was arrested on 12 January this year after he was found by Customs Officers to be behaving suspiciously at a void deck in Jurong West.
Haidhar had earlier bought duty unpaid cigarettes to resell to others for a profit and had advertised his wares on Telegram. At the time of his arrest he had been waiting to meet a potential buyer.
Haidhar was found in possession of 10 cartons of Gudang Garam Surya duty unpaid cigarettes for which he had failed to pay excise duty amounting to $1,366.40.
'Pets are for life': prosecutor
National Parks prosecutor Packer Mohammad sought the same fine that was imposed on Hajjar, along with a 12-month disqualification from owning pets for Haidhar.
As a person in charge of the pets, Haidhar had shown a "totally unacceptable disregard of his duty" and he should have known that abandoned pets are often unable to survive on their own, said the prosecutor. He added that “pets are for life”.
In mitigation, Haidhar, who currently has no pets, pleaded for a light fine and said his wife was pregnant and "in a depressed state". Unrepresented in court, he added that his father was diabetic and unemployed.
Haidhar said that he would not be paying his fine, which means that he will have to serve the in-default jail term of 10 days.
For abandoning a pet, Haidhar could have been jailed up to a year, fined up to $10,000, or both, on a first offence.
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