In a distressing incident that highlights the consequences of a long-standing neighborly dispute, a woman has been fined for wantonly causing unnecessary pain and suffering to her neighbor’s pet bird. The incident, which took place in November 2021, resulted in the bird experiencing breathing difficulties and, sadly, eventually succumbing to its ailments six months later.
According to CNA, Chee Huiru, aged 41, received a fine of S$8,000 (equivalent to US$6,000) from the court on Tuesday, June 13. She was found guilty of a violation under the Animals and Birds Act, specifically for intentionally inflicting unwarranted pain and suffering upon a Jambul bird.
The Dispute and Disturbing Act:
The dispute between Chee Huiru, 41, and her neighbors, who lived directly above her on the third floor of Block 133, Edgedale Plains, had been ongoing for quite some time. The cause of the dispute revolved around the neighbors’ pet birds and the noise they allegedly generated. Chee and her husband had lodged numerous complaints with various authorities, including the Housing Board, the National Parks Board (NParks), their Member of Parliament, and their Town Council.
On November 11, 2021, an unfortunate turn of events occurred when a passer-by, Mr. Rahmat Ismail, witnessed Chee deliberately spraying insecticide towards two birds in cages that were hung outside the flat above her. With a fan strategically placed on the window ledge to disperse the mist upwards, the birds were directly exposed to the harmful chemicals. Mr. Rahmat recorded videos of the incident, promptly informed the bird owners, and lodged a complaint with NParks.
The bird affected was a Jambul bird named RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major), known for its loud voice. RSM, a Jambul bird, was positioned by the window to bask in the sun due to its persistent cough. However, after being exposed to the spray, RSM developed respiratory problems. Despite receiving veterinary care, the bird’s condition did not improve, and tragically, it passed away six months later, according to the report.
Aggravating Factors and Legal Proceedings:
Chee initially denied the allegations and contested the charges, but later changed her plea to guilty after securing legal representation. During the court hearing, it was acknowledged that there was no direct evidence linking the bird’s death to the spraying incident.
Nevertheless, the prosecution highlighted several aggravating factors, including Chee’s deliberate choice to use a potent insecticide known as Baygon. The prosecution argued that this choice clearly indicated at least an intent to harm the birds, CNA reported.
Remorseful Defendant Pleads Guilty with Legal Representation
During the court proceedings, Chee’s legal representatives, Mr. Josephus Tan and Mr. Cory Wong, requested a fine not exceeding S$5,000 on her behalf. Mr. Wong argued that Chee did not intend to cause the bird’s death and expressed her remorse. He emphasized that Chee had pleaded guilty after receiving legal counsel.
In response, the judge acknowledged the importance of safeguarding the well-being of pets and agreed with the prosecution’s contention that Chee’s actions exhibited a high level of premeditation and clear intent.
Recognizing the underlying cause of the dispute, which was Chee’s dissatisfaction with the noise generated by her neighbor’s birds, the judge emphasized that such matters should be resolved peacefully rather than resorting to personal acts of retribution.
The judge concluded that taking matters into one’s own hands, as Chee had done, would not resolve the situation and would only exacerbate matters. Expressing the hope that Chee had learned a valuable lesson from the incident, he underscored the importance of adhering to the law and seeking peaceful means of conflict resolution.
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