BANGKOK - A 30-year-old woman at the heart of cat torture allegations had adopted at least eight cats from separate animal shelters, a vet from Watchdog Thailand said on Monday (Oct 22).
Representatives of eight private animal shelters came forward to name her as the adopter of their cats, said Dr Pattaranun Sajjarom, after the story went viral on social network platforms that the woman, identified only as Wararat, may have tortured and killed a kitten.
The woman reportedly works as a disc jockey at some entertainment venues.
The doctor was referring to an allegation that Wararat had adopted a four-month-old kitten from a shelter last week, before cutting all communication channels with the shelter's owner, who was trying to get an update on the status of the cat.
The owner managed to reach her in a telephone conversation, during which Wararat allegedly claimed she was allergic to cats and had therefore given it to a friend.
Wararat, however, agreed to meet the shelter owner at Phetkasem district police station, whose jurisdiction covers a clinic that had handed the cat over to her.
In full view of the officers there, she handed the shelter owner the carcass of the kitten, claimed it had been bitten by a dog - and left.
The shelter owner told police she suspected that the animal had been tortured before being killed, which would likely be in violation of the Cruelty Prevention and Welfare of Animals Act.
With the permission of animal welfare officers, police then searched Wararat's condominium and her parents' house but found nothing incriminating.
Police did, however, seek a meeting with Wararat but, according to the vet, nobody has since been able to contact her.
Pattaranun on Monday revealed that her agency was collecting evidence to have Wararat indicted.
She said she was checking a report alleging that Wararat may have recorded video clips of the torture before posting them to the dark Web to attract viewers in exchange for cryptocurrency.
Pattaranun referred to an examination of the cat's carcass conducted by Watchdog Thailand, which she indicated that the cat did not die by dog but by torture.
Police, however, have requested to get a second examination of the body in the form of an official post-mortem.
Pattaranun's group has already handed over the cat's remains to police for further examination, the vet said.
Watchdog Thailand said Wararat has worked at entertainment venues and that she participated in some politics-related gatherings and in campaigns against violence and unfairness in society.
The group has also published several photos of her on its Facebook page, some of them taken during her visit to the police station.