New fast-response team to probe Yishun cat deaths

The Yishun fast-response team comprises about 30 grassroots volunteers, cat feeders such as the one in this photo, and residents. Once the team has been alerted to a cat attack, some members will go to the location quickly and speak to residents.
The Yishun fast-response team comprises about 30 grassroots volunteers, cat feeders such as the one in this photo, and residents. Once the team has been alerted to a cat attack, some members will go to the location quickly and speak to residents.TNP FILE PHOTO

More high-resolution cameras also installed in estate after spate of attacks on felines

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

Mr Louis Ng, an MP for Nee Soon GRC, said on Tuesday 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 the police to catch the serial cat killers, who have struck 17 times since September. Only one of the 17 cats survived the attacks.

The latest case happened on Saturday - a cat was found dead in a multi-storey carpark at Block 115B along Yishun Ring Road.

It is believed that the cat, which had suffered extensive bleeding, was thrown from a height.

There were 17 cat abuse cases in Yishun since September. Most of the cats were found dead and only one cat survived its injuries. Here are the locations of where each of the cats were found.

Since September, other cats have been found with severe trauma to the head and back, injuries to the intestinal organs, gouged eyes and chopped limbs. One was strangled.

 

The fast-response team comprises about 30 grassroots volunteers, cat feeders and residents.

Once the team has been alerted to a case, some members will go to the location quickly and speak to residents there. They will also leave notices on nearby vehicles to ask motorists to review their in-car camera footage for evidence.

Mr Ng, who is the founder and executive director of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, said that there are a few suspects at this point.

"We are following up on every single lead. Some suspects have been identified and interviewed as well, but so far, CCTV reviews have been inconclusive," he said.

He stressed that to prosecute any offender, the AVA - which is leading the investigation - would need direct verifiable evidence such as videos and photographs.

Ms Janet Sum, 53, a volunteer and founder of Facebook group Yishun 326 Tabby cat, called for more volunteers to join the response team.

The private tutor noted that the current group of volunteers is "overwhelmed and overstretched", with six regular volunteers patrolling a few HDB blocks between 1am to 4am almost every night.

"Even then, we are unable to cover all the areas that we hope to target," she said.

"We've observed the suspects and they move out between 2am and 4am. We need to get close enough to get a picture or video but that is difficult."

She said 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 on the deaths of the cats can call the AVA on 1800-476-1600 or e-mail ava_cawc@ava.gov.sg.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2015, with the headline 'New fast-response team to probe Yishun cat deaths'. Print Edition | Subscribe