SINGAPORE, May 22 — A total of 10 cats have been slashed by a mystery attacker or attackers in an Ang Mo Kio neighbourhood in recent weeks, prompting people who care for stray cats to place them in boarding facilities out of harm’s way. The injuries are all linear deep incisions.
In response to TODAY’s queries, the National Parks Board (NParks) said yesterday that the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) has been alerted to the attacks and is looking into them. Members of the public are urged to report suspected animal abuse via the AVS website.
Homemaker Nicole Chan, 32, one of those who looks after stray cats in the area, told TODAY yesterday that nine cats have been placed in boarding facilities in Lim Chu Kang and at The Animal Lodge since the abuse started in late April.
Two of the cats have already been attacked while the others are “friendly cats” that could be targeted, she said. Some people are alramed and are regularly patrolling the area to try to prevent more abuse, she added.
Both the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the Cat Welfare Society are leading efforts to track down the perpetrators by distributing flyers and putting up posters in the neighbourhood.
The first five cases happened between April 25 and May 4, when each cat was found to have a “consistent deep slash mark”, Chan said.
“The slashes look like they were made by a very sharp object and looked to be human-inflicted. There was a bit of a lull period after May 4. Then on May 19 and 20, another five cats were found with similar wounds,” she said.
The attacks took place in an area bounded by Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 and Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1.
Chan and her husband, James Wong, 38, have been taking care of community cats in the area for the last eight years but have never seen such abuse before.
However, in March this year, an Instagram user documented the abuse of several cats in another Ang Mo Kio neighbourhood.
Chan does not think that the perpetrators in those cases are the same as in the latest attacks.
Wong said: “It’s really terrible that it’s happening and I don’t know why someone is going around and hurting such innocent and helpless cats.”
The attacker had initially hurt the most friendly cats but was now apparently seeking more timid ones, he added.
“It’s like he just seems to be compelled to or (has) some kind of compulsion on it.”
Another resident, Raymond Tan, who is in his 40s and has been caring for the cats since 2010, told TODAY that he made two reports to SPCA and AVS after the first five cases.
Chan has made a police report about the first five cases and has also brought it up in a Meet-the-People session with a Member of Parliament, where she received help in drafting letters to the Ang Mo Kio Town Council and the police.
She also sought help from NParks.
The Ang Mo Kio Town Council replied that she should report such incidents to AVS. ”(We have) alerted our cleaners to keep a look out and will report this to AVS if we witness such acts of animal cruelty,” the council said.
When contacted, the police told TODAY that such cases fall under the purview of NParks.
The Cat Welfare Society’s president Thenuga Vijakumar said that it was planning to give out flyers “to increase the level of awareness” in the area.
SPCA’s executive director, Dr Jaipal Singh Gill, said that the organisation would use posters and flyers to appeal for information.
He added that the case had been reported to the authorities and they have been investigating.
“The SPCA is appealing for the community in Ang Mo Kio, especially around the vicinity of the blocks involved, to assist where possible. The blocks are 302, 316B, 335, 337, 343, and 346. They can do so by keeping a lookout for suspicious persons and helping to watch over the community cats,” he said.
He added that one cat has been treated at SPCA and has recovered well, while most of the other injured cats have been treated in private clinics.
“The caregivers have been arranging for the trapping of a couple of injured cats and SPCA will provide veterinary treatment if required. We are also exploring other options to keep the cats safe,” he said.
Another cat caregiver and feeder, who wanted to be known only as Calista, 25, told TODAY that the first cat that was found with a slash wound on April 25, Dino, was under her care.
“Being the first time I encountered something like that, I thought it was a wound he got while fighting other cats or he accidentally hurt himself. But seeing how straight and clean the wound was, we also suspected that it might be inflicted by a human,” she said.
Then Calista found another injured cat and was told of a third with a “huge raw wound on its back”. “That was when we got alarmed,” she said.
The most recent injured cat under her care, Milo, was discovered suffering from a linear wound across his left flank. It was taken to Animal World Veterinary Clinic for surgery.
“It’s been hospitalised there temporarily, and we will be finding ways to board it indoors for about a month, to ensure smooth recovery.
“It has definitely been an alarming experience for us caretakers. We are constantly worried that the cats might run into harm’s way while we are asleep, so we have been checking on the cats sometimes up to 10 times a day, even at odd hours,” Calista said.
Tan said: “There’s only so much we can do... more patrolling of the area. We have been doing that every weekend but now the attacks are happening during the weekdays. We will probably try to do some patrolling over the weekdays from now on.”
Anyone with information in relation to these incidents may call SPCA’s 24/7 hotline at 6287 5355 (extension 9) or email [email protected]. Information provided will be treated in the strictest of confidence, SPCA said.
“If urgent assistance is required on the scene, call the police at 999.” — TODAY