If you’re among the canine aficionados in Singapore, chances are you either own a dog or, at the very least, adore these furry companions.
Here’s a question to ponder: How do you encourage your dog to sit?
Common sense, coupled with a kind and compassionate approach, typically guides responsible dog owners – you use treats.
Unfortunately, not everyone adheres to this ethos.
Enter the disgruntled ex-employees of the dog-training firm Xavian and Pack, who, rather than coaxing dogs into a seated position with treats, resorted to forceful tactics.
You: *just got really angry*
Abusive Photo-Taking Session Went Viral
The individuals responsible for this disturbing conduct, ostensibly two men affiliated with Xavian and Pack, were caught on camera during what was meant to be a lighthearted “photo-taking session.”
The video, captured by an Instagram user who happens to be a cat owner, has since garnered over 333,000 views.
This disconcerting display has been shared multiple times on Instagram by fellow pet-lovers.
On a morning in Telok Blangah Rise near Blocks 39, 40, and 41, the trainers were orchestrating a photoshoot for six dogs of various breeds.
The objective was simple: the pups had to sit down for a group photo.
However, the means employed were far from what one would expect from skilled and compassionate trainers, working for a dog-training company.
They Drag, Press, Hit The Dogs
The video unfolds with a taller trainer, sporting dyed hair, attempting to untangle the leash on a dog before resorting to pressing the dog’s hindquarters forcefully to achieve a seated position.
The pup initially resists but eventually succumbs to the pressure after a persistent 2 to 3 seconds of pushing.
Undeterred, the trainer repeats the process when the dog stands up again.
Frustrated by the lack of success, he resorts to using two hands to press the dog’s abdomen, which could have forcefully immobilised the hind legs.
Shockingly, the trainer exhibits no concern for the potential harm inflicted.
Poor Shiba Inu Was Already Behaving
More distressingly, the other trainer, holding a camera, is equally culpable.
While the taller trainer is engrossed in his forceful tactics, the shorter trainer attempts to integrate a black Shiba Inu into the lineup.
Poor Shiba Inu was already sitting down, well-behaved.
Instead of handling the dog delicately, he picks it up by its skin, shoves it towards the line of dogs, and even delivers aggressive hits to its hindquarters.
One hit was not enough, and he had hit the Shiba Inu one more time on its head.
The poor Shiba Inu appears visibly terrified.
Xavian and Pack: Xavian Was Not Present in The Video
In response to the viral footage, Xavian, the founder of Xavian and Pack, expressed his disapproval of the ex-trainers’ behaviour, deeming it “disgustingly inappropriate.”
He affectionately referred to the dogs as “fur kids” and clarified that the trainers did not represent Xavian and Pack.
Immediate suspension was enforced upon identification of the trainers involved. Xavian, a dog owner himself and a qualified dog behaviorist with a diploma in Veterinary Technology, distanced himself from the inappropriate actions displayed in the video.
According to Xavian and Pack’s official website, the organisation is driven by the goal of correcting negative dog behaviors and educating owners about their pets.
It appears that the two ex-trainers could benefit from this education themselves.
Authorities Have Responded
In the wake of the video, the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS), a division of the National Parks Board (NParks), responded to CNA, stating their intent to investigate the matter.
AVS emphasised their zero-tolerance policy for the mistreatment of pets.
Under the Animals and Birds Act, individuals found guilty of animal abuse may face fines up to S$15,000, imprisonment up to 18 months, or both.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) also voiced their concerns, urging pet owners to adopt “humane, science-based, and force-free” training methods.
SPCA emphasised the importance of empathy towards pets, highlighting that animals experience pain and distress akin to humans.
They underscored the potential consequences of abusive behavior, and fearful reaction from the pets could lead to long-term health and behavioral issues.
SPCA encouraged individuals with negative experiences related to the training provider in the video to contact them, facilitating a comprehensive investigation into the matter.
In a society that values the well-being of its furry friends, it is imperative to address such incidents promptly and ensure the humane treatment of animals.
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