Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre in Bedok, Singapore, where the dog was taken for a veterinary examination. Photos: Google Maps, Facebook / Kiyo 婷婷

Two Singaporean entertainers got into a dispute with their neighbors after their two-year-old pet Maltese dog bit a three-year-old girl late last month.

In the evening of September 29, a domestic helper employed by celebrities Melvin Tan and Zhang Tingting walked the couple’s dog named Yoyo near the swimming pool downstairs, Zhang, a 31-year-old singer, noted on her Facebook page. Tan and Zhang are performers of getai, a traditional form of stage entertainment popular in the city-state.

A neighbor’s toddler who was being attended by another domestic helper was curious about the little dog and approached it, hoping to play with it. The celebrities’ maid told Shin Min Daily News that she asked the little girl to keep away from the dog in case it bit her.

Security-camera footage obtained from the residential management showed the girl moving away from the area, but her maid brought her back shortly afterward.

According to Zhang, the little girl touched the dog from behind, startling it, and it nipped the toddler’s forearm. Tan said the injury was minor and that a doctor reported that the girl was fine.

Zhang said her helper had also informed the little girl’s maid a few days before that Yoyo disliked children, particularly if they touched it from behind.

The little girl’s parents, of Filipino origin according to Zhang, contacted her and Tan through the residential management on October 2, demanding medical reports on the animal, as they were afraid the dog carried diseases. They wanted to make sure it was certified harmless.

Yoyo was duly examined by a veterinary clinic and given a clean bill of health.

Last Wednesday, the celebrity couple suggested providing compensation for the child’s injury, but her parents refused and allegedly threatened to report the case to relevant government authorities.

The residential management told the newspaper that it was stepping up efforts to settle the dispute between the two families.

It was not until last Thursday, after the dispute occurred, that the couple applied for a license for Yoyo. Tan said that when they bought the then-two-month-old dog from a pet shop, they had been unaware that a license was required even if the animal had been microchipped.

The newspaper did not obtain any comments from the little girl’s family.