SINGAPORE: A man pleaded guilty to one count of animal abuse on Tuesday (May 10). Lee Wai Leong, 41, threw a male cat 13 storeys to its death in October last year because the cat “had been very noisy”, the court heard.
Lee, who suffers from moderate intellectual disability and has never been employed, picked the stray cat up from a staircase landing on the ground floor of Block 115B Yishun Ring road on Oct 30 last year.
He took the lift up to the 13th floor, where he threw the cat over the parapet before taking the lift back down to see whether the cat had survived. It had not. A report later concluded the cat died from traumatic injuries and multiple fractures as well as organ failures.
In court on Tuesday, Lee’s lawyer Mr Josephus Tan said Lee is “simple minded” and has the IQ of a 10-year-old child. According to Mr Tan, Lee is unable to handle money or use public transport, and spends his days wandering around the neighbourhood unable to venture far.
He added Lee is not the "Yishun cat killer", and that the public’s perception of Lee is wrong. Mr Tan cited recent arrests of other suspects in relation to the numerous cat deaths in the Yishun vicinity since last year.
In addition, since his release on bail in January this year, Lee has not left the house unaccompanied and is locked in when he is home, Mr Tan said, adding the family had changed the locks and kept the keys from Lee "for his own safety".
He urged the court to call for a probation suitability report, so Lee could potentially receive professional help. Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao did not object to this, saying though an imprisonment term is the norm for animal abuse, Lee’s case is unique.
“The accused suffers from moderate intellectual disability and is obviously simple minded … (he) did not appear to have committed the offence with cruel intent," the DPP said.
District Judge Mathew Joseph agreed to call for the report to assess Lee’s suitability for probation, agreeing that Lee had not killed the cat out of "perverse cruelty". Lee is expected to be sentenced on Jun 7.
Under the Animals and Birds Act, Lee could have faced up to 18 months in jail, a fine of up to S$15,000 for animal cruelty, or both.