Vet Writes In To Minister Shanmugam, Concerned Over Cyber-Bullying Of Vet Who Put Down Dog

Recently, the owners of a dog named Loki put him down, partly due to concerns over his biting tendencies. You can read more about that incident here.

In essence, Loki’s rescuers expressed regret that his owners decided to euthanise a healthy, young dog without returning him to them first.

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While Loki’s owners have received a lot of flak, the veterinary clinic responsible for putting the dog down has also received backlash, though it hasn’t released its side of the story yet.

Minister weighs in on issue

The issue has prompted concern from Member of Parliament Louis Ng, and now Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam has weighed in.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday (13 May), Mr Shanmugam shared a letter from a vet, who sought to offer a perspective from her point of view.

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In the post, Mr Shanmugam also said the vet was concerned that the professionalism of Loki’s vet was questioned without a chance for defence.

Dealing with putting down an animal compounded by doxxing fears

The vet who wrote to Mr Shanmugam works at a small animal practice, and claimed to have received harassment from previous clients.

The vet clinic that put down Loki, which we won’t name here to prevent more abuse being directed at them, is facing attacks and criticism, she said.

She referenced a similar incident in 2013 of another euthanised dog named Tammy, where some members of the veterinary community apparently received death threats.

She said that euthanising any animal isn’t easy, and isn’t something any vet takes lightly.

But that decision can be compounded by the fear of being doxxed, and urged for Singapore to tamp down on cyber-bullying.

She closed off by calling on the Government to take the Singapore Veterinary Association’s views into consideration.

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Shanmugam urges netizens to be rational

Giving his own thoughts on the matter, Mr Shanmugam said he understands that people are upset and want justice for Loki.

However, as the vet’s professionalism had been questioned without all the facts being known, this might cause distress, he added.

He also urged netizens to establish the facts behind any matter before attacking the people involved, adding,

Most of us don’t go out and hit people, when we are angry. The same applies, on the net. We can’t go and hit out at people, whenever we feel that some injustice has been done, we can’t just react and hit out, with our emotions, when other people are involved.

He wishes for a society where people gather their facts, then express their feelings without causing violence.

Mr Shanmugam ended by pointing out that the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) is investigating the matter, so the public should not try to influence these investigations.

Netizens ask if it’s necessary to put dog down

The message of rationality seems clear from Mr Shanmugam’s post.

Netizens, however, wanted to know the reasoning behind putting Loki down.

Several comments called into question the ethics of putting Loki down when he was apparently healthy, and said the vet should clear the air on the matter.

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Others suggested that vets could communicate with animal shelters when they receive requests to euthanise pets.

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Can’t make a judgment without vets’ side of the story

As we don’t have the vets’ side of the story, nobody can definitively say that putting Loki down was unjustified.

Until that happens, we’ll just have to hold our judgment and wait for AVS to complete its investigations.

Meanwhile, Loki’s rescuer, who raised the issue in the first place, was forced to take down his original post after a police report was made over possible doxxing — in a reminder that actions like posting people’s personal information online can easily put their lives in danger.

There are people who might take things too far and cause vets, and those in other practices to fear for their lives, and we need to prevent that as much as possible.

While we share animal lovers’ concerns on the treatment of animals, we should keep our humanity too.

Also read:

S’pore Owners Allegedly Put Dog Down After Biting Incidents, Rescuer Mourns Loss

MP Louis Ng Calls For Stricter Euthanasia Criteria, Vows To End “Needless Killings” Of Animals

Featured image adapted from NUS Law Society and Facebook.