SINGAPORE - An attempt to smuggle 12 puppies was foiled by an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer on Tuesday (Dec 11).
At about 3.45am, a Singapore-registered car driven by a 25-year-old Singaporean man was stopped for car boot checks when it arrived at the Tuas Checkpoint.
During the inspection, an ICA officer noticed some things were amiss with the car boot and conducted further checks, said a joint statement by the ICA and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) on Thursday.
After removing the spare tyre and the cover of the spare tyre compartment, the ICA officer found the puppies sedated and crammed in the compartment.
Some were weak and three of them eventually died.
The driver was referred to the AVA for investigation, as he did not have valid health certificate and import permits.
The surviving puppies are being cared for and quarantined at the AVA's facilities.
The authorities said that the health status of animals smuggled into Singapore are unknown and they may introduce exotic diseases, such as rabies, into the country.
So, the AVA strictly regulates the import of animals to prevent the introduction of such diseases into Singapore and to safeguard the health and welfare of animals.
Importing any animals without an AVA permit is illegal and carries a maximum penalty of $10,000, jail of up to one year, or both.
The statement said: "Our borders are our first line of defence in safeguarding Singapore's security. The security checks are critical to our nation's security.
"The ICA will continue to conduct security checks on passengers and vehicles at the checkpoints to prevent attempts to smuggle in undesirable persons, drugs, weapons, explosives and other contraband."
The authorities also reminded travellers against bringing live animals, birds and insects into Singapore without a proper permit.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.