Elaine Mao feels dejected, but she has hope. The 34-year-old lost her pet Shetland sheepdog after leaving it in a pet boarding facility at Galistan Avenue called Platinium Dogs Club when she went on vacation last month.
Mao’s vacation was cut short after she found out that her dog, Prince, was allegedly not being treated well at all as promised. Despite having paid S$945 to board the dog at Platinium, she claimed that the caretakers did not provide frequent updates about its wellbeing. Soon enough, Prince apparently escaped the premises when the authorities came to raid the place.
The raid itself was carried out by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), the police and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) last Saturday in response to multiple complaints from Platinium customers about their pets being mistreated at the facility. Eighteen dogs and a rabbit were found during the raid — all of which have been taken into temporary custody by the AVA until their owners return.
Prince, however, was nowhere to be found during the raid. The proprietor of the pet boarding facility — identified as Charlotte Liew — had claimed that the dog ran away when the authorities breached into the premises. AVA, however, informed Mao that her dog wasn’t even there when its officers entered the facility at 7 Galistan Avenue.
Yesterday, Mao and a group of volunteers came to Platinium to confront Liew and get answers about what really happened to Prince. As documented in videos shared online, Liew totally ignored Mao. A man had to be taken to hospital after getting injured during the confrontation.
In a post on a Facebook page dedicated to Prince, Mao recounted the sequence of events that lead to the incident. The exact dates are unclear, but it has been approximately more than 20 days since she left her dog at the pet hotel. This was what happened, according to Mao’s post. The Facebook page called Prince Mao has been taken down for unknown reasons.
- Prior to her vacation, she had gone to Platinium Dogs Club to inspect the premises. The place was found to be adequate enough, and she was promised a private room for her dog. Mao paid up the full fee of $945.
- Prince was checked into the facility two days later. In the days that followed, she only received sporadic updates about her dog.
- About two weeks since the dog was checked in, AVA raided the premises. Liew informed Mao the next day that AVA left her gate open, resulting in Prince running out. Liew advised her to file a complaint against AVA.
- Liew admitted that nobody was in the house when the raid took place, even though it was promised that there would be caretakers on duty around the clock.
- When Mao managed to get hold of AVA, she was told that her dog wasn’t even at the facility.
- She cut her holiday short and flew back to Singapore the next day. A police report was immediately filed at Changi Airport. She then rushed to Platinium Dogs Club from the airport, but Liew apparently fled before Mao arrived.
- Attempts to contact Liew were unsuccessful, even with police assistance. As it was not considered a criminal case, the authorities could not compel Liew to respond to Mao. Since the complaints and the raid, the landlord of 7 Galistan Avenue has since terminated Liew’s lease.
With Liew allegedly being no help at all, Mao has since pushed on to find Prince, which has been spotted roaming about in the vicinity of Bukit Batok and Bukit Gombak. Missing posters have been spread around, and volunteers have been deployed to search the places where the dog has been spotted.
“I had a few (moments) of breakdown but with the great support from the search group and everyone, I stay strong. I have to be strong to get my Prince back; he is frightened and he is waiting for me to bring him home,” Mao wrote.