Cat thrown down 10 storeys; suspect is a teen

A cat survived a 10-storey fall from a Nee Soon Housing Board block on Sunday.

The animal is currently in a stable condition at Mount Pleasant Animal Hospital, but may have to undergo surgery for a fractured front paw, said the Cat Welfare Society (CWS) which is monitoring the case.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority said it is investigating the case. The Straits Times understands that the suspected culprit is a 14-year-old student studying in the area.

This is the first publicised case of animal abuse since the National Development Ministry accepted an expert panel's recommendations to strengthen animal welfare last Friday. Among the recommendations are harsher penalties where convicted animal abusers face a fine of up to $50,000 and/or a three-year jail term.

The CWS wants the teen to face criminal charges, and to undergo counselling and community service. "So many animal abuse cases fall through the cracks. If there's no action taken here, it sends the wrong message," said CWS president Veron Lau.

Cases of cruelty to animals have risen in recent years, with a total of 1,426 reported cases in 2011, up from 1,162 in 2007.

This incident was reported to the police by a resident who saw the cat fall from a block of flats opposite his home. He found the animal bleeding and motionless on the ground.

A teen, who was looking down from the second storey, later confessed to the resident that he had thrown the cat down.

CWS volunteer Janet Sum, 50, said she had informed the teenager's school principal about the incident. "I am not doing this to be vindictive. This boy needs help," she said. The school did not respond to queries by press time.