Shock, then horror.
Fruit stall assistant Grace Tan, 53, will never be able to forget the gruesome sight that greeted her around 7pm on Tuesday.
The stray cat she had been feeding for over a year, which she affectionately calls Ling Ling, lay motionless on the grass patch beside Block 47 in Marine Crescent.
Ling Ling's body was covered with a pile of leaves. Ms Tan recoiled when she swept away the leaves. The body was separated in two at its mid-section, with Ling Ling's internal organs about a metre away.
Ms Tan was so stunned, she squatted and started sobbing uncontrollably.
"I was shocked at how someone could be that heartless to do this to an innocent cat," she said.
She was so shaken by the incident she could hardly sleep that night. Images of Ling Ling's body disturbed her.
Ms Tan tearfully recounted the incident to The New Paper yesterday, saying: "It feels as if a part of me is gone."
The name Ling Ling is short for "darling". Ms Tan said the cat was obedient and shy.
"Now I fear that other cats might end up just like Ling Ling," she said.
The Singapore Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) picked up the cat's carcass on Tuesday, and said in a Facebook post yesterday that its vets have examined the remains.
It added: "We have arrived at the finding that the cat's state has been wrought by the action of dogs from the community, and are ruling out the cat's condition being caused by sole human agency."
SPCA has sent the carcass to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority for an independent post-mortem.
Many netizens who commented on the post were sceptical that it was caused by dogs.
Facebook user Jovial Gwee wrote: "If (it was done by) dogs, the cat would have loads of puncture marks, scratches, even maybe torn limbs, right?"
Similarly, Ms Tan did not agree with SPCA.
"It's unnatural for two parts of the body to be placed so neatly if it's done by other animals," she said.
She said she has been feeding stray cats in the area for about six years and she has never seen any stray dogs.
According to another resident, Mr Chan, 50, there was a mongrel in the estate last week. But it did not look fierce or threatening.
"Other than that, the last time I saw a stray dog in this area was about a year ago," he said.
NOWHERE TO BE SEEN
Ms Tan, who feeds over 100 cats, fed Ling Ling daily at around 5.45pm. On Tuesday when she reached Ling Ling's regular spot, it was nowhere in sight.
"I was a bit worried, but I brushed the feeling aside as I thought she might be wandering around the estate," she said.
She decided to feed the cats at the neighbouring blocks first while calling out for Ling Ling repeatedly.
She returned to the same spot about an hour later, and shouted Ling Ling's name a few more times. When the cat still did not appear, she decided to walk across a grass patch to feed other cats.
It was there that she discovered Ling Ling's dismembered body.
"There were even tufts of fur on the grass," Ms Tan said.
Although she was badly shaken and crying, she managed to take out her phone to call Madam Law Mui Eng, a volunteer mediator from the Cat Welfare Society (CWS).
Madam Law, a 56-year-old market helper, immediately alerted the CWS and SPCA.
She said: "I was shocked to hear her crying so badly over the phone."
CWS chief executive Joanne Ng said another horrific incident happened in the vicinity last week. A resident reported to a CWS volunteer mediator that a cat had fallen from height at Block 53.
But it is uncertain if the cat fell on its own or was thrown down.
She said that future cat abuse incidents can be prevented if members of the public are vigilant.
"Residents must step forward to stop persons trying to cause harm to animals and call the police," she said. "(They can also) try to chase off an attacking animal, bearing in mind that their own safety is also important."
Residents could try to scare off the other animals by making loud banging or clapping sounds, Ms Ng said.
OTHER ATTACKS ON CATS
A teenager threw a cat down 10 storeys from a Nee Soon HDB block in April. A resident reported the incident to the police. The cat survived.
Two kittens were found dismembered in Yishun in December, while their owners were overseas. One kitten's head, leg and tail were left outside their flat and the other kitten's remains were found in a flowerpot nearby.
Two cats were found dead in Marine Parade in a period of less than two months. One cat was found in front of Block 32 in Marine Crescent on Dec 28.
The other was believed to have been thrown from the same block on Nov 9.
There were seven attacks on cats in Pasir Ris in May. Two cats were found dead at Block 253, Pasir Ris Street 21 on May 2. They were believed to have been dunked in thinner.
A third cat, which had also been dunked in thinner, had to be put down.
The seven attacks prompted animal lovers to offer a $10,000 reward for information and to start patrols around the neighbourhood.
There were two reported cases of stray dogs killing cats in Jurong and Bishan.
In Jurong, cat lovers claimed that more than 10 cats, both strays and pets, had been killed in the past three years by dogs. Bishan residents also said packs of dogs were killing cats.
In April, a resident saw six dogs attacking a stray cat.
She took it to an animal hospital, but it died from its injuries.
ABUSERS USE ANIMALS AS ANGER OUTLET
Animal abusers may derive pleasure from hurting animals as they get a sense of control over them, says Dr Brian Yeo.
The consultant psychiatrist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre said such abusers could even escalate to other acts of violence, such as hurting young children or the elderly, if they become bolder.
"There are some people who abuse animals out of self-defence or fear. However, that is very unlikely in the case of smaller animals, especially when the abuse is done deliberately," Dr Yeo added.
There are various reasons people abuse animals. It may be due to frustration or anger, and they take it out on helpless animals as the animals cannot retaliate.
Animal abusers may have difficulties controlling their anger. They might display signs of aggression, violence and provocation.
It is also likely that a percentage of these abusers have anti-social tendencies, and abusing helpless animals is an outlet for them to release their anger.
This article was first published on October 30, 2014.
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