Second man arrested over cat abuse in Yishun

A 51-year-old man was arrested yesterday for his suspected involvement in a case of cat abuse in Yishun. He is the second man to be arrested following a spate of 20 cat deaths in the neighbourhood since September last year.

In a statement released yesterday, the police and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said police were alerted to a cat carcass found next to Block 116, Yishun Ring Road, at 5.55pm last Friday. The suspect was arrested yesterday morning at about 2am, along Yishun Ring Road.

The man is from the household which owned the dead cat, and is assisting the authorities with their investigations. "Investigations are also ongoing to establish if the man is involved in other Yishun cat death cases," it said.

The other alleged cat abuser, Lee Wai Leong, 40, was on Dec 29 charged with animal cruelty for allegedly throwing a cat from the 13th floor of a Housing Board block in Yishun.

But at least three cats have been found dead since, fuelling speculations that there could be more than one killer.

The police and AVA said that investigations into all reported cases are ongoing, although they noted that in some cases, preliminary investigations have shown that the cause of death may not be due to animal cruelty.

A cat death last Thursday night, for instance, could be caused by a possible road accident.

Mr Louis Ng, an MP for the Nee Soon GRC, where the cat deaths have occurred, called on residents to remain vigilant, saying: "Investigations are ongoing but the latest arrest is a positive step."

When The Sunday Times visited the neighbourhood last Thursday, posters appealing for witnesses were spotted at a number of blocks.

Yishun resident of 20 years, Mr Raihan Yunos, a retail supervisor, said his sister installed mesh grilles on the windows and doors of their flat after the spate of attacks. "She put them up after the attacks to keep her cats indoors," said the 44-year-old.

Housewife Lee Siok Gek, 47, said that while she is not "really interested in cats", the killer should be found soon and brought to justice. "Such people must be punished for animal cruelty," she said.

Mr Ng said: "Residents are worried. Some of them have expressed concern that going by the number of cat deaths, they are worried that the killer may progressively harm other living things."

Such worries are not unfounded, experts told The Sunday Times.

Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist from the Gleneagles Hospital Singapore, said: "We often see children with conduct disorder who are cruel to animals progress to become anti-social and individuals who are violent towards others. The act of cruelty demonstrates a lack of empathy for animals and humans alike and this will make it more likely that he goes on to attack humans."

Student and Yishun resident Lionel Sen, 20, said it was "devastating" that people were killing cats.

"It's good to hear that people are working together to catch the culprit. We won't know how many of them are out there doing this, but there are fewer cats getting killed around here now, so I'm thinking that it's getting better."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 24, 2016, with the headline 'Second man arrested over cat abuse in Yishun'. Print Edition | Subscribe