Customer Sued for Defamation by Pet Arena for Exposing that they Sold him Sick Puppy

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    A pet owner who bought a sick puppy who subsequently died, was sent a legal letter from the pet house he bought his puppy from, to sue him for defamation.

    TRS reported on Jimmy’s story yesterday. Pets Arena charged that Jimmy “has made various defamatory statements against” the pet shop.

    On October 1, Jimmy, 30, bought a toy poodle for his girlfriend from Pets Arena because she had been wanting a toy poodle.

    However, five days later, Jimmy brought the dog to a vet after it fell sick where it was diagnosed with canine parvovirus.

    Canine parvovirus is a serious and highly contagious viral illness that affects dogs and can be life-threatening. Dogs and puppies that are not vaccinated are the most susceptible to the virus. There is currently no cure for the virus but treatment is required immediately to boost the dog’s immune system. Not all dogs survive, even with treatment.

    The incubation for the disease is a few days but it can last up to five months in poor conditions. The vet who saw Jimmy’s puppy suspected that the dog could have been placed in "crowded areas with poor hygiene".

    Jimmy was advised to bring the dog to a hospital facility which could offer the intensive care required for the treatment, as the clinic did not have the facilities required.

    Jimmy told TRS that he then sought treatment from other pet clinics but when they found out that the dog was diagnosed with canine parvovirus, they did not allow him to enter their premises.

    Jimmy’s dog died on October 10.

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    Jimmy has have pets for six years now. He has taken a month of leave off his job because of what happened to his puppy.

    He said that he is still grieving from the loss of his dog and felt that Pets Arena has been irresponsible in its handling of the situation.

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    He shared that he bought the puppy from Pets Arena because he “felt a connection” with the poodle, even though Pets Arena was charging $1,600, which according to him, was higher than the $1,380 to $1,500 that the other pet shops were charging.

    He said that he had previously “gone past” the pet farm twice and did not “suspect them to be bad”.

    When the puppy fell sick, Jimmy did call up Pets Arena. He overheard the staff saying in the background that they would only give it charcoal pills and felt that the pet shop would not be “capable of taking care of the puppy”, and thus brought the dog to a vet.

    Jimmy also took to his Facebook to share on his experience.

    He posted that when he bought the puppy, it looked “healthy” and they were “no signs o(r) symptoms”.

    He later managed to find a pet hospital for the dog to seek medical treatment and informed Pets Arena. According to him, Pets Arena told him to “stop the treatment and bring the puppy back to them if (he wanted) to get a refund.”

    Jimmy countered on his Facebook, “it's inhuman to stop the puppy (from receiving) medical treatment especially when (the) mortality rate of this virus is extremely high.” He also said, “I cannot believe that the pet farm owners dare to have the cheek to ask us (to) bring (the puppy) down to the pet farm, … when it’s in critical condition!”

    He told “pet lovers” to “be caution(ed) when you purchase a pet” from Pets Arena.

    He also said, “Do share and post this with your friends and boycott this pet farm as the owners are cruel to the animals and irresponsible to the animals.”

    Jimmy updated later that Pets Arena refunded him the purchase of the dog but not medical fees, which came up to $2,600.

    Not all customers had bad experiences with Pets Arena, however. On their Facebook page reviews, many customers praised the service of the staff.

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    The letter to sue Jimmy for defamation was delivered to him yesterday at 4pm. Pets Arena’s lawyers wanted Jimmy to sign a letter of undertaking to “remove and retract all defamatory statement against Pets Arena” and to stop making similar comments. Pets Arena is being represented by Lawrence Chua & Partners.

    They also wanted him to apologise unconditionally in writing.

    Jimmy shared with TRS that prior to receiving the letter, at about 3.01pm, he received an anonymous call. In it, a person called “Sam”, who claimed to be calling from Pets Arena, told Jimmy that the pet shop had decided to pay for the medical bills for the puppy. However, Jimmy said that he would be seeking legal advice on the matter.

    “Sam” then offered another $500. When Jimmy asked why the caller wanted to offer him additional money, he was told, “because your brain has something wrong and you should take the money to see the doctor”.

    Jimmy was unable to verify the caller’s identity.

    He was sent the lawyer’s letter an hour later.

    Jimmy felt “bullied” that he was sent the legal letter to demand that he remove all his Facebook postings pertaining to the incident by 9am today. He said that his lawyer felt that this was “funny” as he was not being given “sufficient time”.

    To Jimmy, giving him less than 12 to 24 hours to consider the warnings given is tantamount to a “bullying act”.

    Jimmy’s lawyers have responded to Pets Arena. Jimmy declined to share the contents of his legal letter, except to say that he has “evidence” of the ill-treatment of the dog.

    TRS understands that he refers to the medical documentation that the dog had received.

    Asked what he hoped to achieve via informing people of this incident via his Facebook and in the legal action, Jimmy said, “I hope more people will know about the issue.”

    He believed that the government should be stricter with pet shops on the management of pets and felt that Pets Arena should be “penalised” and wants to “seek justice for (his) puppy”.

    Jimmy also claimed that the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has not been responsive to his complaints of Pets Arena.

    He felt that AVA is “rul(ing) in the favour” of Pets Arena.

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    When the puppy died on October 10, Jimmy called AVA to investigate. According to him, AVA said that it would “follow up” but he did not hear from them thereafter.

    He called AVA two days ago to check. AVA said that there was “nothing they could do” because they had followed the regulations.

    However, Jimmy asked, “since the virus is spread easily, shouldn’t AVA take more precautions”?

    Jimmy believed that stricter rules and regulations should be imposed on the pet farm, and they should show that “they really care” for the pets.

    He also said that he would “stand firmly” because he “did not defame them”.

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    [photo credit: AsiaOne]

    In August, Pets Arena also created a storm when animal activists criticised it for giving out vouchers on the sales of dogs for 0 percent installment.

    The voucher was part of the National Day Discount Booklet, given out in the National Day Parade funpack.

    Jimmy will await the response from Pets Arena before taking his next steps.

    Related:

    Dear TRS, Pet Arena Sold Me A Sick Puppy and Told Me Not to Take It to A Vet

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