Trainer loses appeal against disqualification order after death of 2 dogs in car boot
The dog trainer who left two dogs in the boot of her car unattended resulting in their deaths has lost her appeal against a disqualification order.
In June, Sabrina Sim Xin Huey, 30, was fined $8,000 and sentenced to six months' disqualification from carrying out any animal-related business.
She had pleaded guilty to an offence under the Animals and Birds Act with another charge taken into consideration during sentencing.
Sim later appealed against the disqualification order, which was stayed pending the appeal.
Dismissing Sim's appeal on Tuesday, High Court judge Vincent Hoong said that although her offence was marked by negligence, her conduct led to the grave outcome of the dogs' deaths.
Justice Hoong said: "The disqualification order also seeks to... protect other animals and their owners... and sound a stern warning to other persons that such negligent conduct will attract a significant period of disqualification."
On Aug 25, 2020, Sim drove the two French bulldogs she was entrusted with for a training session.
After the session, she put both dogs back in the car boot and drove home. After parking her car in an unsheltered spot in the open-air carpark, Sim was distracted by a social media post involving a former customer's second dog getting bitten by another dog.
As a result, she forgot to remove the bulldogs from the boot when she exited her car. The dogs later died of heat stress.
In her appeal, Sim contended that the disqualification order was manifestly excessive because she had not acted intentionally.
Justice Hoong rejected her argument, noting that the court is empowered to impose a disqualification order if someone is convicted of offences under of the Animals and Birds Act with the offences not limited to intentional acts.
He also said that in his view, the length of the order gave adequate weight to the fact that Sim's negligence had led to the death of two dogs.
Sim had also asked for the disqualification period to be backdated on the basis of her having been fully rehabilitated and that her reputation had been damaged by media coverage.
However, Justice Hoong said backdating her disqualification would undermine the objectives of a disqualification order as she had continued taking on customers and providing dog training services after the incident.