26 reported cat deaths in Yishun, not all linked to abuse: AVA

Police and residents at the foot of a block in Yishun, where a cat was found dead, on Oct 30, 2015.
Police and residents at the foot of a block in Yishun, where a cat was found dead, on Oct 30, 2015.PHOTO: SHIN MIN

SINGAPORE - The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has received a total of 26 reported cat deaths in Yishun since September last year, but not all are linked to animal cruelty, it said at a press briefing Friday.

Based on eyewitness and owners' accounts, three were due to road traffic accidents, three died from falls from height, and one of natural causes.

Two cat deaths were probably because of abuse, and the remaining 17 are still open cases requiring more evidence before AVA can conclude they are linked to animal cruelty, it said.

The latest cat death in Yishun occurred on Wednesday when a black and white feline was found dead in a grass patch at the foot of Block 162, Yishun Street 11.

Mr Joshua Teoh, deputy director of the animal management department at AVA, said: "As for the recent case that happened on Wednesday evening, the accounts of the owner and our preliminary investigations suggest that there is a likelihood the cat could have fallen from height. We are waiting for the report to be out."

AVA's post-mortem investigations revealed that 12 cats had suffered an External Traumatic Incident (ETI), which refers to death caused by an injury due to a blunt force.

Dr Teo Xuan Hui, veterinarian at the animal health laboratory department at AVA said evidence of ETI includes haematoma, a cracked skull and broken spine.

"ETI can be linked to actual abuse, falling from height, or road traffic accidents... as to what caused it, it can be any of these possibilities. We don't know until we can get more evidence (like eyewitnesses or information from public)," said Dr Choo Li Nah, director of AVA's communications and corporate relations department.

Two suspects have been arrested for alleged involvement in the cat abuse.

The first man was charged with animal cruelty on Dec 29, and was remanded at the Institute of Mental Health on Jan 12. He was granted bail of $10,000 on Jan 19.

The second man, aged 51, was arrested last Saturday.

xueqiang@sph.com.sg