The loss of a pet is never easy.
It is a difficult time and handling the smallest of arrangements can be distressing for any owner.
As Singapore does not have a pet cemetery, the best way to honour a furry friend would be through cremation.
However, as decisions are time-sensitive, people experiencing grief may not be equipped to lay out their options and make the right call during critical moments.
For Miss Lee Yihan that is, unfortunately, the case.
Express Pet Cremation
After the passing of her pet dog, the owner, Miss Lee, engaged a pet cremation company, Express Pet Cremation (EPC), to carry out the euthanisation and cremation of the body.
As per the process laid out on their website, the owner of EPC, Mr Lim, euthanised the dog and proceeded to transport the body for cremation.
This process will take three hours after which, the urn the owner chose will be returned to them, carrying their pet’s ashes.
Due to COVID-19 precautions, the owner’s family were not allowed to view the cremation process.
However, reviews prior to COVID-19 have revealed that some pet owners were not allowed to view the cremation, with reasons citing that the landowner disallows it.
Thereafter, Miss Lee’s family followed Mr Lim’s vehicle to the Jurong industrial estate around 10.30 pm but according to her, “[we] were not able to sight EPC’s furnace operations or the company premises in the vicinity.”
Quoting uneasiness about the cremation proceedings, Miss Lee researched on the previous owners who have engaged EPC. This led to a number of largely negative reviews that warned against seeking the company’s services.
A Straits Times article has also covered EPC in 2017 for complaints claiming that the ashes contained substances similar to sand and cement.
But it’s not all bad reviews, however.
Another Alleged Victim
Another owner, Ranger Redhusky, also experienced the same incident in 2019 and posted his story on Facebook.
This prompted another user to comment that she has spoken to the neighbours of the company’s previous location in Pasir Ris who witnessed the disposal of pets into bins. The claim, however, has yet to be confirmed.
Miss Lim has since attempted to clarify with EPC’s owner on the cremation location, but have yet to receive an answer.
She proceeded to send the ashes for an independent forensics test. The results revealed that it contained hydroxyapatite, a major component of bone and teeth available commercially and used for, among others, making bone china.
The powder was fine and homogenous, a result the forensic experts have deemed unlikely to be the remains of a pet.
Unfortunately, this is not viewed as a criminal case according to the police.
In addition, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) does not regulate pet cremation operators and no license is needed for such activities.