Thursday, March 12, 2009

cat abuse at choa chu kang

The 'worst case of cat mutilation' was discovered at Blk 550 Choa Chu Kang on Street 52 on 21 Feb 2009.

Last Sunday, a group of us went door to door in the vicinity to see what information we could find about the case as well as to ask the residents to participate in a petition for more security measures to be put in place in the area.

Most of the residents were not aware of what had happened in their neighbourhood, although a few had seen the SPCA reward posters on the notice boards or read the TNP article. But after being told what happened to the cat, many were noticeably shaken and eager to ask for something to be done.

This was not a case of a misguided hot-headed or frightened individual protecting themselves or their territory from an errant cat. Appalling as those cases are, many might shake their heads but ultimately, find no real bearing on their own safety. This crime on their doorstep is a grotesquely meticulous, pre-meditated act with a highly lethal weapon, very much the work of a troubled individual seeking release in the worst possible way. Enough studies have shown the correlation of such violence against animals to violence against humans and that message has made more than a few residents sit up and take notice.

And this was not an isolated case in Choa Chu Kang. Equally gruesome was the pregnant tri-colour cat found on 29 Nov 2008 at Blk 130 Choa Chu Kang Ave 1 with her stomach slit open and guts hanging out. That makes two cases in Choa Chu Kang where mutilation with a knife or sharp object is evident. Over the years in that estate, the caregiver has found and cared for countless more injured or dead cats, bashed in, run over by bicycles, thrown from high floors.

Statistics on animal abuse in Singapore number in the hundreds every year – 800 on average. Most of these are pet-related, outcomes of irresponsibility, negligence and plain old stupidity. These perpetrators are usually ordinary people with some vital deficiency and we know there are too many of them littering the earth. If education, threat of fines and public humiliation cannot get through to them, well, let’s hope there are enough busybodies in this world to call them out on their shortcomings.

Just as importantly, we need to take a magnifying glass to the actual number of violent crimes committed against animals every year and the mode of abuse. We’d like to think the individuals who would take these actions are few but they are also gallingly hard to apprehend. Better profiling and records can make all the difference. Perhaps SPCA or the police are monitoring these cases but as a lay person, the woman was not able to get much more information than the yearly reported statistics.

Hand in hand with that, we would like to remind people to report all abuse cases to SPCA or to the police, if only so that a comprehensive database of abuse can be built that might force authorities to take closer notice of this insidious underlying threat to society. It might one day even help build a case against a perpetrator.

As the woman was assigned the block directly next to Blk 550, she and another volunteer encountered quite a few households who heard distressed cat cries several nights in a row around the time the body of the kitten was found. Their hearts sank when they heard this. One young girl who told them about the cries was also visibly cut up. Let’s hope she never hears those cries again in her neighbourhood.

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