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Woman jailed for failing to care for her 39 cats

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) had inspected her home at Block 207, Yishun Street 21 in February and found the cats housed in cages, many of which were caked with faeces.

SINGAPORE: A woman was sentenced to two weeks jail on Monday (Nov 7), for her failure to care for her 39 pet cats.

Together with other drug related charges, Roslina Roslan, 34, was sentenced to a total of five years, six months and four weeks' jail.

The case came to light after the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) inspected her home at Block 207, Yishun Street 21 on Feb 25, following public feedback about animal faecal odour coming from her unit. 

The cats were housed in cages, many of which were caked with faeces. (Photo: AVA) 

AVA found the cats housed in cages, many of which were caked with faeces. All the felines were in poor health and physical condition. Four died shortly after due to underlying medical conditions and another had to be euthanised. The remaining 34 cats were released to the Cat Welfare Society (CWS) for rehoming.

Members of the public complained about animal faecal odour coming from the flat. (Photo: AVA)  

CWS helped to care for the cats before they found new homes. It spent nearly S$40,000 on their medical and boarding fees, according to committee member Veron Lau. 

"We can really attest to the suffering and trauma of the cats that were rescued from this hoarder," she said.

For those which survived, the transformation over the past few months has been "tremendous", although many of the cats had various medical issues that took a while to clear up, Ms Lau added. 

Nine of the cats are currently living with fosterers who are likely to adopt them and 18 will be up for adoption as part of the Fur Friends Fiesta carnival at the HomeTeamNS Sembawang Clubhouse on Nov 26. 

In the case against Roslani, Ms Lau felt that a deterrent penalty would send a "strong message" that pet neglect was a serious offence.

"We urge cat owners who are breeding and have not sterilised their cats to do so to avoid a situation when cat keeping spirals out of control to the detriment of everyone - cats, owner and community," she said. 

AVA added that it condemns acts of animal cruelty, and that animals from hoarding cases are often in bad physical and health conditions. "Hoarding of pets may also cause public safety, nuisance and hygiene issues to the community, such as pests. AVA urges pet owners not to hoard animals, and be responsible and considerate pet owners so as not to cause inconvenience to the community."

If convicted of animal cruelty, first-time offenders are liable to a maximum fine of S$15,000 and up to 18 months in jail.