No breach in case of dog that was put down: AVS

The owners of a dog that was put down in April and the veterinarians involved in the case were found to have not breached the law and code of ethics after investigations by the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS).

The euthanasia of Loki drew widespread public attention earlier this year, with some netizens alleging its owners and the vet put down the dog unnecessarily.

In its four-month-long investigation, AVS said it found that there was “no failure in duty of care or cruelty” by the owners – a married couple – as they had provided Loki with its “basic needs such as food, water, shelter and veterinary attention”.

Three vets from two clinics in the case were found to have complied with the code of ethics for veterinarians and other regulations. In addition, there was no breach of the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act by all parties as “veterinary acts that uphold public safety” were considered an essential service during the circuit breaker period.

No further action will be taken against those involved, said AVS in a statement yesterday.

The case surfaced on May 6 when a volunteer at animal welfare group Exclusively Mongrels (EM) alleged in a now-deleted Facebook post that Loki’s owners had euthanised their healthy dog.

AVS began investigations the next day.

The couple adopted Loki from EM in December 2017 when it was around five to six months old.

Over the next two years, it grew to be about 25kg, and was assessed by vets to be more “confident and confrontational”. It also had “panic attacks with no known trigger”. During this time, it had attacked both humans and dogs on about 10 occasions.

AVS said the owners had sought options – such as medication, training and exploring rehoming alternatives – over a period of more than a year.

These were not successful and Loki continued to bite people.

The last straw came on April 19, when Loki bit one of the owners on the lip without warning.

They had also noticed that it was uncomfortable and nervous around their newborn child.

The owners assessed that Loki was a risk to the family and requested to euthanise it. The veterinarian agreed, said AVS.

On April 20, Loki was put down in the presence of its owners.

EM’s director Kevin Neo told The Straits Times the group is “extremely disappointed” with the outcome.

AVS said a work group, chaired by Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office and for National Development Tan Kiat How, has been formed to study the standards and guidelines related to the rehoming and adoption of animals here.