THE number of reports of animal cruelty rose by a fifth last year, new figures reveal, and cases are continuing to rise.
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) received 480 complaints last year, up from 400 in 2011.
In addition, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has seen an increase of up to 5 per cent in animal abuse incidents reported so far this year, compared to last year. It received 1,017 such reports from July 2011 to June last year.
A string of horrific cases have already been reported this month. Seven stray dogs were found killed, poisoned or injured in Punggol on April 3. Over the next two days, several stray cats were slashed and a mini bull terrier in Changi Village had a leg cut off. On April 7, two cats, suspected of being beaten to death, were found in Tanglin Halt. A day later, a cat was found with glue on its fur.
Cat Welfare Society president Veron Lau said: "We are not sure that the cases can be traced to the same abuser as abusers normally have a single modus operandi and these cats were all injured by different means. But these cases are still highly suspicious as they all took place around the same area, at around the same time."
Three animal welfare groups - Save Our Street Dogs, Mutts And Mittens and the Cat Welfare Society - have posted photos of abuse incidents online, in an effort to raise awareness. One picture of an injured dog has been shared more than 300 times.
A panel looking into animal abuse, chaired by Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Yeo Guat Kwang, has called for stiffer fines and longer jail terms for repeat offenders.
SPCA executive director Corinne Fong said awareness of animal abuse is growing. "There may be more reports now due to the power of social media," she said. "In the past, stray feeders just took the abused animals into their care. Now there's a lot of third-party reporting."
Executive Daphne Xiao, 23, an animal lover, has shared some pictures of abused animals online. She said: "The abusers' actions are really inhumane and I feel the cases should be brought to light."
Welfare groups said many suspected animal abuse incidents cannot be verified due to a lack of credible witnesses.
Said Ms Fong: "We need to educate people on what to do when they see animal abuse. Photos and videos are not enough. We need vet reports."