Grassroots fast response team set up to tackle Yishun cat deaths

A person feeding stray cats at a void deck in Yishun.
A person feeding stray cats at a void deck in Yishun.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - A new grassroots fast response team has been set up to gather evidence and conduct patrols in Nee Soon, after a spate of cat deaths around the estate in the last three months.

Member of Parliament Louis Ng said on Tuesday (Dec 15) that additional high resolution cameras have also been installed around the neighbourhood.

He said this will complement efforts by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and Singapore Police Force in nabbing the serial cat killers, who have struck 17 times since September. Only one of the 17 cats survived the attacks.

Mr Ng also said on Facebook that a cat named Annie has gone missing. Annie "made friends" with Mr Ng when he was introduced as a People's Action Party candidate in August this year.

"I sincerely hope Annie has not been killed," Mr Ng wrote.

The latest case on Dec 12 involved a cat found dead at a multi-storey carpark along Yishun Ring Road. It is believed that the cat, which had suffered extensive bleeding, was thrown from height.

The fast response team currently consists of 20 to 30 grassroots volunteers, cat feeders and concerned residents.

Once they have been alerted to a case, a small team of volunteers will arrive at the location promptly and go from door-to -door to speak to residents.

They will also leave notices on vehicles in the vicinity to appeal for the owners of private in-car cameras to review their CCTV footage for evidence.

Mr Ng stressed that to prosecute any offender, AVA would need direct verifiable evidence such as videos and photographs.

The AVA, which is leading the investigation, has reviewed the existing CCTV footage from cameras at HDB lift lobbies and in the lifts but found no leads so far.

Ms Janet Sum, a volunteer and founder of Facebook group Yishun 326 Tabby Cat, has called for more volunteers to join the fast response team.

She noted that the current group of volunteers have been "overwhelmed and overstretched".

About six volunteers patrol the neighbourhood between 1am to 4am almost every night, but they are unable to cover all the key areas, she said.

She added that recent cat deaths have become "more cruel" and "more bold", a sign that the suspects remain undeterred.

Members of the public with any information about the deaths of the cats may call the AVA at 1800-476-1600 or e-mail ava_cawc@ava.gov.sg.