SINGAPORE: Preliminary investigations have shown that some of the 26 cats found dead in the Yishun neighbourhood since September last year did not die due to animal cruelty, the Singapore Police Force and Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) saidin a joint media briefing on Friday (Jan 29).
Eighteen cat carcasses had been sent to AVA's laboratory for post-mortems, but another eight had been buried or disposed of before the authorities were alerted to the cases, the authority added.
While investigations are still ongoing, the authorities said seven of the cat deaths have been attributed to non-abuse causes such as natural causes, traffic accidents, and falls from heights. Nineteen out of the 28 cases remain open, including two reported cases which involved injured cats.
"Stray cats are constantly exposed to the elements and face various risks such as starvation, disease, cruelty or even getting knocked down by vehicles," said Mr Joshua Teoh, Deputy Director of the Animal Management Department at AVA.
"The risks can be fatal, and hence they should not be left outside in the environment, but should be rehomed and properly cared for by their owners."
AVA representatives also mentioned they had not established any significant difference in the number of cases in Yishun compared to other areas in Singapore, and said it was possible that the apparent trend of cat deaths in the neighbourhood could be due to various factors, such as media coverage or even the number of cats in the area.
INVESTIGATIONS CONTINUE FOR 19 OPEN CASES
AVA added that their laboratory post-mortems of the Yishun cases had found no evidence of poisoning or cats found with their tongues slit, despite claims to the contrary by some community groups.
The 19 remaining cases may not show abuse, but without eye-witnesses or conclusive proof, AVA is not writing them off, a SPF spokesperson said.
“That’s how thorough AVA is right now,” he said.
AVA said post-mortem investigations could take up to five weeks, and it would need verifiable evidence such as photographs, videos or CCTV footage to conclude the cause of death.
On Jan 19, suspected cat abuser Lee Wai Leong, 40, was granted bail of S$10,000, after being charged with throwing a male cat from the 13th floor of Block 115B at Yishun Ring Road on Oct 30.
In response to media queries, AVA said 91 alleged cat cruelty cases across the island were reported to AVA in 2015.
AVA urged members of the public with information about the cases to contact its hotline at 1800-476-1600.