How to sell flat with that cat stench?

How to sell flat with that cat stench?
PHOTO: Cat Welfare Society

She might finally be able to sell her flat.

For years now, the housewife, who wanted to be known only as Madam Seow, 63, had wanted to sell her three-room unit at Block 207, Yishun Street 21, to move into a bigger one with her three-tier family.

But every time potential buyers and their real estate agents went to view the fourth-storey HDB flat, they were turned off "almost immediately''.

"They emerged from the lift into the bad smell coming from the flat just in front of the lift," said the grandmother.

"No one wants to live in that kind of environment," she added.

BAD SMELL

Madam Seow and her family have been living with the stench from the neighbour's flat for the last few years.

"It is extremely bad. I could smell it even from my bedroom and the kitchen," she told The New Paper.

She said that all the neighbours kept their doors and windows shut throughout the day and night.

Residents of the block have been complaining to both the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and the Housing Development Board (HDB).

Yesterday morning, officers from both agencies raided the flat after seeing its condition the night before. (See report right.)

The flat owner, Mr Roslani Ahmad, 63, is unemployed and has been keeping cats in cages inside the flat since 2000.

Nearly 40 cats, in cages caked in faeces and with cockroaches crawling around them, were removed by the authorities yesterday.

A 56-year-old neighbour, who lived at the end of the corridor, said he could smell the stink from his flat more than 100m away.

UNBEARABLE

The stench was so strong that even residents on the first storey could smell the cats' excrement.

Mrs Chong, who lives on the first storey, said the stench permeated to the back, where the playground is.

Mr Roslani, who was present during the raid, told Channel NewsAsia (CNA) earlier in the day that the cats were brought home by his daughter, now 33, and that he has had cats in his flat since 2000.

Even at 1pm, after the cleaners from the Town Council had cleaned the flat and its surroundings with disinfectant, there was still a lingering smell of cat pee and poo.

When the TNP team knocked on the door of Mr Roslani's unit at 3pm, some cockroaches fell on the ground and skittered across the floor.

Still, no one came to the door.

Owner could not be contacted: AVA

In a statement to the media, AVA said it received public feedback on "smell nuisance from a unit at Block 207, Yishun Street 21, in September 2015".

"We tried on numerous occasions to establish contact with the unit owner but we were unsuccessful.

"We finally established contact on the night of Feb 24, and we were granted access to the unit," its spokesman said.

The 39 cats found in the unit were surrendered to AVA during a follow-up visit yesterday and they were found to be in poor condition.

The cats are under AVA's care and being assessed by its veterinarians.

"We are currently investigating the case for failure in duty of care and possible animal cruelty. Once our investigations have concluded, we will work with our re-homing partners such as Cat Welfare Society (CWS) to find homes for the cats that are assessed to be suitable for rehoming," he said.

A spokesman for CWS said they believe this is a case of hoarding and not one of abuse, although some of the cats are sick.

In a statement on its Facebook wall, CWS said that its volunteer assisted to sterilise some cats in the unit in 2010, but the situation was nowhere near what was discovered yesterday.

"When the case resurfaced recently to authorities due to neighbours' feedback on odours, we tried to make contact with the family, together with AVA and HDB, to no avail," CWS said.

"The sudden evacuation (yesterday) means plans will need to be made ASAP (as soon as possible) to find placements for these cats who are flu-stricken and require recovery," it added.

juditht@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on February 26, 2016.
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