MAXIMUM FINE OF RM2,000: Woman escapes jail after victim's family forgives her for being negligent
PETALING JAYA: THE owner of the dog which killed an elderly jogger last month escaped custodial sentence after the court heard that the victim's family had forgiven her for being negligent in the incident.
Elaine Soon Sien Ling, 28, an accountant, heaved a sigh of relief as she could have been sentenced to a maximum of six months' jail under Section 289 of the Penal Code for being negligent with her pet.
Magistrate Mohd Nazri Omran, however, imposed the maximum fine of RM2,000.
In sentencing her, Nazri said he took into account that the victim's family had forgiven her and had retracted the police report on the incident.
Soon pleaded guilty when the charge was read to her yesterday.
According to the facts of the case, the victim, Yip Sun Wah, 74 was jogging in SS19 Subang Jaya on May 8 when the dog, a cross between a miniature bull terrier and an American Staffordshire terrier, escaped from Soon's house and pounced on Yip.
The dog, which answers to the name, "Beacon", only let go of the the victim when neighbours hit it with an umbrella and a cane.
A neighbour, who identified himself as a doctor at the scene of the incident, said Yip died at the scene.
In mitigating for a light sentence, Soon, who was unrepresented, told the court that she had gotten the dog as security measure for her retired mother who was alone at home. She said that their home had been burgled before and that when she got her dog, she had taken it to the veterinarian and it was certified as healthy.
Soon added that on the morning of the incident, she had let her dog loose in the compound but locked the gate and had shut the garbage disposal gate.
She also tendered a letter from the victim's family, who stated they had forgiven her over the incident and that they had also retracted the police report.
Deputy public prosecutor, Siti Fatimah Yahya pressed for a sentence that would serve as a lesson to the public.
Soon's father and fiancee were present in court. The accused paid the fine.
Meanwhile, the fate of Beacon, lies in the decision of the court.
State Veterinary Services Department deputy director Dr Fadzilah A'ini Abd Kadir said the dog was still in their care.
"We have not received any instructions regarding the dog," she said, adding that Beacon was healthy and free of rabies.
Dr Fadzilah said said normally, in such cases, there are three options -- put the dog to sleep, send it to the police for training, or return it to the owner.