AVA looking into video of children allegedly abusing cat in Hougang

In the video, the three children appear to chase after the cat and throw an object at it. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK / ROADS.SG

SINGAPORE - The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said on Saturday night (Nov 24) that it is looking into a video of children allegedly throwing stones at a cat in Hougang.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is investigating the case as well.

Footage of the incident, which lasts about 10 seconds, was uploaded on Facebook group Roads.sg on Saturday. It begins with two boys and a girl in a carpark peering under a stationary taxi, while a cat's meowing can be heard in the background.

When one of the children spots the cat, they exclaim loudly before rushing towards it. As the animal flees beneath a parked car, a young boy throws an object at it but misses. A girl is seen going to retrieve the object before the clip cuts.

The video's caption claimed that the incident happened at the carpark of Block 653 Hougang Avenue 8 on Friday.

The caption also stated: "These three kids were caught chasing and stoning this community cat. The video caught them in the act and (the video uploader) shouted at them after this to stop and behave themselves.

"Parents of these kids must take them to task and tell them that it is an offence to abuse any animal in Singapore. The stone was of fist size and would have been very damaging if it hit the cat.

"Moreover, the rocks thrown could have also damaged parked cars."

The AVA told The Straits Times that it had received feedback on the case and was looking into it.

SPCA executive director Jaipal Singh Gill said: "The cat is not currently in SPCA's care and we are yet to ascertain if it suffered any physical injuries. Based on the video, the cat was clearly in distress."

He added that the society's inspectorate receives about 50 cases every month, but cases of abuse by children are rare. The majority involve the neglect of pets, while around 10 to 20 per cent are cases involving allegations of animal abuse.

The SPCA counsels children involved in animal cruelty cases to explain why it is wrong to harm an animal, said Dr Gill. An interaction session with an animal to help the child develop empathy for animals and to demonstrate appropriate handling techniques is also carried out.

Members of the public with any information on the case can call AVA's 24-hour hotline on 1800-476-1600.

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