On Tue (Sep 15), Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) has reached the verdict that the couple who euthanized their dog did not fail in their duty of care or commit animal cruelty, while the veterinarians involved did not breach the Code of Ethics.
The investigation surrounded a case that sparked outrage in May. Exclusively Mongrels, a dog welfare group, filed a complaint against a couple.
The couple adopted a pet dog Loki from the institution in December 2017 but euthanised it on Apr 20.
Euthanisation is basically the act of putting a human or animal to sleep painlessly, usually due to a painful, incurable condition.
The group felt that the euthanasia was unjustified, as the pet was reportedly healthy and young.
Netizens shared the consensus and criticized Mount Pleasant Veterinary Group that performed the euthanasia.
Here’s why AVS reached the verdict they’ve announced.
Owner Sought Other Options Before Euthanasia
Loki suffered from panic attacks with no identified triggers.
AVS found 12 instances between 2018 and 2020 when Loki had bitten or attacked other dogs, the owners, as well as their friends and family.
In January 2019, Loki was given medications to manage potential separation anxiety, which could be inciting the aggression, after a blood test ruled out hormonal causes.
The owners regularly visited the vets to monitor Loki’s health and committed their pet to training in November 2019.
The trainer diagnosed Loki with medium to high levels of anxiety and reactivity. Its behaviour, unfortunately, remained the same throughout the training.
As the training sessions came to an end in February this year, the couple considered euthanasia.
The trainer convinced them to try other options, including behaviour modification, mood-altering medication and rehoming.
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He was also open to rehabilitating Loki while it was taking behavioural modification drugs by Mount Pleasant vets.
However, the process would take at least six months.
Rehome Option Hindered by MCO in Malaysia
Subsequently, the vets and owners attempted to rehome Loki. The couple reached out to acquaintances to no avail.
The vets and trainer, who volunteered to help look for rehoming options, similarly ended their search without success.
“In the end, it was only (an) animal shelter in Malaysia that came back as an option, and unfortunately that couldn’t be put into action because of the COVID-19 situation,” an AVS spokesperson said.
Malaysia’s Movement Control Order hindered the move, and the owners decided to keep the pet in the meantime.
In early April, the couple had a newborn. An attack on the husband later that month, where Loki inflicted a bite on the lip that required stitches, heightened the couple’s concern over their child’s safety.
After consulting with the vets at Mount Pleasant and obtaining permission from AVS, Loki was put to sleep.
Verdict “Disappointing” to the Public
Exclusively Mongrels detected a breach of the adoption agreement, as the couple did not seek their assistance while rehoming Loki.
A seemingly devastated Nee Soon MP Louis Ng Kok Kwang wrote on his Facebook: “Why wasn’t Loki returned to Exclusively Mongrels Limited???”
[ No breach? ]There really is no breach because Loki’s euthanasia was investigated under the current code of ethics…
Nonetheless, an AVS spokesperson clarified: “That’s a decision by the owners. It wasn’t part of our investigation, in the sense of why the owners chose certain methods of rehoming and not others.”
“The adoption agreement is a private agreement between Exclusively Mongrels and the owner, so it was not part of our investigation.”
AVS to Review Pet Sector
If it’s any comfort, AVS has been conducting a review of the pet sector since August last year by inviting vets, trainers and Institutes of Higher Learning that conduct veterinary training to weigh in on related matters.
Furthermore, NParks will implement measures to enhance standards in first the breeding and boarding industry, then the veterinary field.
Lastly, a workgroup is studying guidelines regarding the rehoming and adoption of animals.
Hopefully, feedbacks on Loki’s case could prompt a reassessment of euthanasia protocols. If you have any ideas, share it with MP Louis Ng – he’s promised to take it up with the Parliament.
May Loki rest in peace.
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