A shopkeeper is on a mission to find the culprit, or culprits, behind the serial abuse of cats in Beach Road.
Since 2011, there have been at least 50 cases of abuse in and around the Housing Board estate across from the Golden Mile Complex, according to animal lover Anthony Hong. He launched www.savebeachroadcats.com on Sept 14 to raise awareness and appeal for information.
Just yesterday afternoon, a cat was found in the area with a stab wound to its neck.
"Most of the cat carcasses showed signs of abuse - such as slingshot wounds, knife wounds and punctures in their body," said the 35-year-old, who did not want his picture taken as he was worried about vandalism at his shop.
His site details where and when several of the dead cats were found, along with grisly photos. Mr Hong, whose sundry shop is in the area, found out about the deaths after meeting elderly people who feed and care for Beach Road's strays. One such "auntie" lodged a police report in August 2011 complaining about an elderly man seen shooting stones at cats with a catapult.
In September 2011, Mr Hong paid $2,000 to hire a private detective for a week to check on this suspect but this did not unearth any evidence. A month later, a black cat was flung from "a high level" at Block 5, Beach Road. The police and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) were called. "But the police told us they could not arrest him as there was no concrete photo or video evidence," Mr Hong said.
The abuse is seemingly still going on. Earlier this year, a few cats were found dead with stab wounds. On Aug 1, the carcass of a grey cat, with blood coming from its mouth, was found at Block 9, North Bridge Road. It was taken to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority, which is looking into the case. It said it has received feedback about the suspected cruelty cases.
Mr Hong decided to set up the website after years of appealing to the authorities yielded no results. "They kept asking us for evidence, but the elderly feeders are not tech-savvy," he said.
Last month, the SPCA and Cat Welfare Society (CWS) jointly produced posters appealing for more information. These were pasted at the notice boards of blocks in the area. Ms Joanne Ng, chief executive of CWS, urged residents there to keep their eyes open. Ms Corinne Fong, SPCA executive director, said information collected so far has been sketchy at best, and that "real credible evidence" is needed.
Madam S. K. Koh, who has been feeding strays in the area for the past 19 years, admits she has never seen the suspect harm a cat. The 74-year-old retiree said: "But when he walks by while I'm feeding the cats, all of them will run and hide."
Mr Hong, who is single, also runs a separate Facebook page to raise funds for food and veterinary bills for Beach Road's cats. His passion for cats grew in 2010, after he adopted a sickly stray which had the feline version of AIDS. He said: "I cannot understand why anyone would want to kill cats."
This article was first published on Sep 28, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.