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Monday November 4, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday November 4, 2013 MYT 6:47:47 AM
A BRITISH woman who adopted Tammy the mongrel and then had it put down for being “aggressive” is facing legal action from the animal welfare volunteer who handed the puppy to her.
Assistant project manager Ada Ong, 35, wants S$1,000 (RM2,540) in damages and S$200 (RM508) in legal costs from Alison McElwee for breach of contract.
She said she is pursuing the matter to raise public awareness of animal welfare. If McElwee complies, the S$1,200 (RM3,048) will go to a charity of Ong’s choice.
A letter of demand from her lawyers from Allen and Gledhill says that putting down the seven-month-old dog on Oct 7 was “clearly in breach” of McElwee’s obligations under an agreement signed between her and Ong on June 1.
Ong also wants a written acknowledgement from McElwee that “it was inappropriate and in breach of (her) obligations under the pet adoption agreement to put Tammy down”.
McElwee has up to Friday to respond, after which legal proceedings will commence. Ong’s legal team is led by Edwin Tong, an MP for Moulmein-Kallang GRC.
She was advised by Law Minister K. Shanmugam to take legal action after she showed him the contract and records of SMSes between her and McElwee.
The minister also helped her to get a lawyer to represent her.
McElwee and her lawyer did not answer queries. She has previously said she put down the dog after it bit her four-year-old daughter and others.
The incident sparked fury online and shed light on adoption agreements being used by pet rescuers and animal welfare groups.
While terms vary, these contracts include clauses to protect animals’ welfare, such as requiring adopters to provide food, water and veterinary care.
Lawyers said parties are legally bound by them and “there is no need for a lawyer’s involvement for such a contract to be legally valid”.
While lawyers agree a detailed contract can “enhance the welfare and protection of the animal”, it does not ensure a problem-free adoption.
“I fear the contract may result in fewer dogs being adopted because prospective adopters may not welcome the (rescuer) still having residual rights,” said Singapore Management University law associate professor Eugene Tan. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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