While being a dog trainer might be a dream job for the dog lovers among us, there’s no doubt that it’s a job that comes with its own set of intense responsibilities.
And failing to fulfil these responsibilities will clearly result in dire consequences, and this former dog trainer experienced that first-hand.
Just today (27 September), Sabrina Sim Xin Huey lost her appeal after being disqualified from carrying any animal-related services for six months.
The 30-year-old was also fined $8,000 in June this year.
Two Bulldogs Died Under Her Care Due to Heat Stress
And the case that caused Sim to was one concerning two French bulldogs named Chocoby and Hunniby, who had been imported into Singapore from Australia by their owners.
Sim had been hired to train the two dogs by the owners in 2020, and took them for a session in August 2020.
However, after she parked her car in an open-air car park, she apparently forgot to take the dogs out even after she switched off the car’s engine and air-conditioning.
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She was “distracted by a social media post”, which is fine if you forget to turn off the tap, but clearly not when it concerns other lives.
Unfortunately, both dogs ended up dying due to heat stress since the car was parked in an open-air car park and was situated in an unsheltered area.
After being fined $8,000, Sim was also issued a six-month-long ban that prevented her from providing any animal-related services, and she chose to appeal against the ban.
Dismissal of Ban: Judge’s Comments
Today (27 September), Justice Vincent Hoong dismissed Sim’s appeal during the judgement.
And here’s why.
Although Sim pointed out that disqualification orders should only be issued “in the most serious cases of animal abuse”, such as when someone causes harm to an animal on purpose, Justice Hoong rejected her statement and quoted the Animals and Birds Act in response to her argument.
“The court is empowered to impose a disqualification order if a person is convicted of an offence under (various sections) of the Animals and Birds Act, which offences are not limited to intentional acts,” he said.
He then said that an individual’s failure to “make a reasonable effort to recover a missing animal” is considered as an offence under the Act.
Thereafter, he also noted that Sim’s offence was a result of her negligence, hence proving that the disqualification order was justified.
“The disqualification order also seeks to punish the appellant for her negligence, protect other animals and their owners by disqualifying her from being a person in charge of any animal in the course of her employment with any animal-related business for a period of time and sound a stern warning to other persons that such negligent conduct will attract a significant period of disqualification,” he added.
As for the argument that Sim’s disqualification order was “manifestly excessive”, Justice Hoong responded by stating that the duration “gave adequate weight to the fact that the appellant’s negligence led to the death of two dogs”.
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The judge also rejected another request (yes, more rejection) from Sim when she asked if the disqualification order could be backdated “to treat the disqualification period as ‘spent'”.
This meant that Sim was asking for the order to be effective from an earlier date, allowing it to end earlier.
With regards to this request, Justice Hoong rejected it and said, “This would render the disqualification order wholly nugatory and undermine the objectives of a disqualification order … particularly as the appellant continued taking on customers and providing dog training services after the material incident.”
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