7 cats found dead in 12 days in Yishun

Louis Ng, executive director of animal welfare group Acres.
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - A spate of Yishun cat deaths so alarmed Nee Soon Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng that he has vowed to ensure that the people behind these "barbaric acts" are caught.

In a Facebook post last Friday, Mr Ng, who is also the executive director of the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (Acres), wrote: "In the past month, seven cats have been found dead and one wounded, in suspicious circumstances...

"Many of you have contacted me and I share your concerns about this and want to ensure that the person (or persons) committing these barbaric acts is/are caught."

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Mr Ng 37, said: "I'm very disturbed. That's why I did the Facebook post. The AVA (Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority) and police are investigating, but they can only put out so many eyes.

"But if everyone is out there (watching), we might get somewhere."

The most recent incident, on Oct 5, involved Bushy, a community cat that was found dead near Yishun Polyclinic. It was the seventh cat to die in 12 days.

A Cat Welfare Society (CWS) volunteer who patrols the Yishun area said Bushy was found bloodied under a tree. "The night before it was found dead, it was well. My husband fed it and it was running about," said the volunteer, who declined to be named.

Late last month, a seriously injured cat was found at Northland Primary School. It had suffered blunt trauma on its back and it eventually succumbed to its injuries, added the volunteer.

Aside from the seven dead cats in the Yishun area, another feline called Greyie was also found injured at Northland Primary. It survived, but its hind legs are now paralysed.


Uphill task

The CWS volunteer believes that the abuse cases have been caused by the same few people due to the pattern of injuries found on the cats - blunt trauma on the spine or lower back.

Mr Ng declined to comment further on the deaths, citing ongoing police investigations.

He acknowledged that nabbing the culprits is an uphill task.

"People can say they are looking, say, for a Chinese man in his 40s, but that's very vague. It's pretty difficult to find a person like that. "There is an increased volume of patrolling because of the cat killings, but it's difficult because the area is big and we never know when these people strike," he said.

As the cats were found near open-air carparks, the MP is hopeful that the culprits may have been caught in action on in-car cameras. He said: "The footage is crucial and provides concrete evidence.

"Some people may leave their in-car cameras on all the time, but nobody reviews the footage regularly, so I'm hoping if I give the dates and locations of the cat deaths, people can check and hopefully find something."

"The (Facebook) post also sends out a message that we are watching," Mr Ng said.

Cases of animal abuse and deaths are not new and the animal rights activist hopes to put an end to these incidents through awareness of animal welfare.

There has been some progress, he said.

For instance, an angler who was caught on video trying to nab an otter pup was identified soon after the video was uploaded online.

Although alternative options such as legislation exist, Mr Ng feels that caring for animals should be intrinsic, rather than be motivated by fear.

"If we don't do something only because we might get caught, I don't think we can progress further as a society," he said, adding that animal welfare issues will be one of the causes he will champion in Parliament.

The recent Yishun cat deaths are just a subset of the rising number of cat abuse cases in Singapore, said CWS chief executive Joanne Ng. She said the CWS responds to an average of 50 cat-related cases daily.

"And that's on the low end. About 10 per cent of these cases are about cats being abandoned or injured and they are often linked to neglect.

"To me, that's not a good reflection of our society or the mental health of people. It tells me that people are highly stressed and they are taking it out on helpless animals," she said.


This article was first published on Oct 26, 2015.
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