It's never easy dealing with a pet's death. But one dog owner in Singapore has been left "completely devastated" after discovering that their beloved pet's urn could have been filled with fake remains.
The owner of Ranger, a two-year-old husky who had died after a fall on Nov 10, took to Facebook on Nov 30 to accuse Pets Cremation Center of giving them fake ashes, claiming that the urn that they had received was filled with a "white substance" that resembled flour.
They then reportedly called the company to enquire if the cremains were genuine but the staff had "immediately started yelling and screaming" and claimed that the remains had been "ground into powder".
Ranger's owner had paid $550 for the cremation and urn, according to a second Facebook post that included the invoice for the transaction.
According to Cremation Resource, cremains are typically pale white and have a coarse texture due to bone fragments.
Commenters on the dog owner's post agreed that the substance in the photo did not resemble cremains and speculated that Pets Cremation Center could have been trying to cut corners.
Speaking to AsiaOne on Dec 2, Patrick Lim, the owner of Pets Cremation Center, denied the allegations that his company had given fake cremains to pet owners.
According to Lim, the cremation process at Pets Cremation Center involves "high combustion temperatures" which are "twice as high" as other local pet crematoriums.
This results in cremains that "come out clean,'' he said, explaining the appearance of the cremains that Ranger's owner had received.
Lim also denied netizens' claims that Pets Cremation Center was previously Express Pet Cremation (EPC), which had been involved in several "fake ashes" complaints in 2016 and was also reportedly owned by a man named Patrick Lim.
"We don't operate under EPC. EPC is an entity by itself. Both are two different companies," said Lim. "From day one until today, we have never changed our name."
Hitting back at the netizens that had accused the company of giving "fake ashes" to pet owners, Lim said, "These people are out to destroy our image."
A police report has been made regarding the incident, Ranger's owner said in a Facebook comment.
They will also arrange for their dog's remains to be tested as the police require a report from an approved laboratory to proceed with the investigation, they added.
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) had previously told CNA in January that pet crematoriums do not require an AVA license to operate.
However, if AVA-licensed premises such as pet shops or veterinary clinics wish to conduct ancillary activities such as animal cremation in their premises, approval from the authority is required.
AsiaOne has reached out to Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS), which took over AVA's role as the main touch-point for animal-related issues in April 2019, for comment.