IN FOCUS: How pet shops in Johor offer to smuggle animals into Singapore

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It's illegal and puts the welfare of animals at risk, but some sellers in Johor Bahru say they're willing to smuggle pets into Singapore.

SINGAPORE: For any aspiring pet owner in Singapore put off by the cost of buying a new puppy or kitten, there is a potential money-saving solution.

But importing wildlife, such as snakes, hedgehogs and sugar gliders, into Singapore without a permit is a crime. Most explained that they engaged external parties for the illegal delivery, from picking up the pet to sneaking it across the border in vehicles and dropping it off at its new home in Singapore.AGENTS"WILL TAKE ALL THE BLAME"

"There's no choice, the agents gamble with their lives. If you want to import it the proper way, it will cost a few thousand. There's the injections, the reports and quarantine. If you want we can arrange for this but it will be very expensive. Smuggling is definitely cheaper," he said. If the smuggler is apprehended, they would have to produce documentation to prove to the store and the customer that it happened; if not, they are cheating you, he advised."If he has one dog, he will be fined S$10,000. If he has 10 dogs, I will have to pay a fine of S$100,000. And my worker will be banned from entering Singapore," he added, referring to the penalties for smuggling pets into Singapore.

"This is a risk. Because we sell and you want to buy, so we find a person to send the pet over. But of course the courier does not want to be caught right? But if an accident happens then nothing can be done. It's an accident. There's no guarantee," the woman said. Besides having the required vaccinations, the animals must be certified healthy, have no signs of infectious diseases and be fit for travel, NParks and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority said in a joint statement.

Quarantine spaces at the Animal Quarantine Centre must be reserved in advance, and costs S$16.80 a day for a non-air-conditioned space for a dog or cat, and S$26.25 for an air-conditioned space. With clear reasons for why pets being imported into Singapore must go through the official process, including protecting the health of the animal, why would prospective owners want to take the illicit option?

 

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