Tag Archives: News

NewPaper 20090327: Seletar Hill residents get catty over strays

The ghosts of the 45 dead cats of Seletar case are still haunting the estate it seems, and have exposed a long open can of worms. Us-vs-them doesn’t work, but obviously these folks aren’t willing to sit down and talk. It doesn’t help that

Mr Madhavan Kannan, head of AVA’s Centre for Animal Welfare and Control, said those troubled by strays are informed about AVA’s free loan of cat traps and free collection of trapped cats.

Hello, vacuum effect? Is this conveyed to the aspiring trapper? Are aspiring trappers also told the cats are killed once they reach AVA? And who is paying for the costs of such trapping and killing? How about actually suggesting effective options like the Scarecrow for a change? Options that happily, also happen to be humane?

‘The borrower is informed to ensure that the trapped cat is not subjected to ill-treatment or injury and that it is an offence to subject an animal to cruelty,’ he said.

Yes, public service announcement. Well and good. But who ensures the trapped cat really wasn’t ill-treated? What action is taken if such ill-treatment is discovered? Who checks the trapped cats for signs of ill-treatment or injury before they are sent into the kitty murder room in AVA grounds?

For complaints on a large number of cats in a house, an AVA officer will visit to check on the number of cats and their welfare, and advise the owner to confine them within the premises, sterilise them and also to reduce the number by re-homing them.

At last, some recognition that sterilisation and keeping kitties indoors is the way to go. But why are such simple pre-emptive measures not suggested and promoted BEFORE such a case happens? And once again neighbours should be told about the impact of vacuum effect rather than offered the free traps upfront. It doesn’t take much to convey the message, especially if it’s men-in-uniforms doing the conveying.

Re-homing them… what is the likelihood of successful rehoming? What aid is given to ensure the re-homing is done properly and the cats’ new homes are genuine refuge for them where the risk of abandonment or neglect is minimal? Otherwise, what is the point of ‘advising’ the owner to re-home? Lip service? I hope not.

Here’s the article for your vigorous exercise in logic

Seletar Hill residents get catty over strays
Cat lovers & trappers divided over hygiene & stench problems
By Teh Jen Lee
March 27, 2009

SELETAR Hills Estate residents are getting increasingly divided over stray cats.

np_images_jlfightr2t
TNP ILLUSTRATION: FADZIL HAMZAH

On one side are animal activists who insist that it’s fine to keep cats in large numbers. They feed strays and take them home when they are sick.

On the other are neighbours aggrieved by problems such as the stench when too many cats are kept in one place.

Since the start of this year, three of them have resorted to trapping strays and sending them to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to be put down.

When 45 cats were found buried in the area, accusations started flying between the two camps.

The New Paper received an e-mail from a resident who accused her neighbours of animal cruelty because they were unhappy with her keeping stray cats. Two of her cats were found with their tails injured.

Another resident was fingered as the culprit for the cat burials because he is known as an avid cat trapper.

Netizens posted his address online and threatened to harm him.

We’re not naming those involved because we do not want to aggravate the situation.

Other residents who are neither cat lovers nor trappers feel caught in the fracas.

Humane

One resident told The New Paper: ‘Cats are okay but it’s more of a cleanliness and hygiene issue when there are many cats in one house.

‘I was told that NEA (National Environment Agency) officers almost puked when they entered (one such) house, so you can imagine how bad it was. The person must be an ardent cat lover to be able to withstand the smell.’

The woman, who requested anonymity, said Jalan Rengas in the estate is famous for its cat stench.

Mr Lim Kuan Zhong, 24, a marketing executive who raises money for stray cat caregivers in Seletar, said: ‘I’m not a resident but I do know there is a conflict. However, I’m for the keeping of community cats.

‘Some problems are due to residents’ intolerance or lack of understanding of what caregivers are doing. They spend money to neuter. I see this as a practical benefit, controlling stray numbers in a humane way.’

Sterilisation also decreases the likelihood of caterwauling, he said.

Caregivers also medicate strays so that disease doesn’t spread to other cats, including domestic cats, added Mr Lim.

He said when strays are adequately fed, they don’t go into people’s houses or rummage through rubbish bins. They help keep the population of rats and pests down.

But what if they are so well-fed that they don’t go after rats? ‘It’s not necessarily true. It’s in their nature to catch lizards, cockroaches, rats and moles, unless they are so overfed and obese that they are sedentary.’

What about cats that defecate indiscriminately?

Mr Lim said: ‘Actually, by natural instinct, they will dig the soil and cover up after defecating. They do this even when they have diarrhoea. However, they may not cover it that well.’

He felt that dog owners who don’t pick up after their pets cause a bigger problem.

What about too many cats in one house?

Mr Lim admitted that more than 30 cats was excessive, but said: ‘There are limited shelters and houses to keep cats in Singapore. The Housing Board should repeal the ban on keeping cats.’

Another Seletar resident, who declined to be named, said a neighbour who lives near a house at Jalan Rengas with 80 to 90 cats told him that four neighbours sold their homes and moved away.

‘The matter has gone all the way to our Member of Parliament but there’s just no solution. It has been a problem for the past five years,’ he said.

The MP, Dr Balaji Sadasivan, told The New Paper: ‘Whenever complaints about cats are received, the complaints are referred to AVA.

‘Cat lovers have also voiced their concern about the need to treat cats humanely and this has also been relayed to AVA.’

When The New Paper visited Jalan Rengas, only one resident was around and willing to speak with us.

Renovation work was going on around the house with many cats and the contractors working next door were acutely aware of the smell.

Mr Xu Shu Long, 46, said in Mandarin: ‘I’ve been working here for almost a week, it’s very bad. This is the smelliest site I’ve worked at since I came to Singapore four years ago. Even in China, such a stench is very rare.’

Mr Percy Jeyapal, chairman of the Seletar Hills Estate Residents Association, takes the position that ‘we must live and let live’.

‘Obviously, we don’t encourage stray cats all over the place as it does propagate disease and can be a nuisance.

‘We must also ensure that cats are not abandoned. Having a large number of cats is a problem but we can’t interfere with people’s lives. Those living close by need to suffer certain inconveniences.’

House visit

Mr Madhavan Kannan, head of AVA’s Centre for Animal Welfare and Control, said those troubled by strays are informed about AVA’s free loan of cat traps and free collection of trapped cats.

‘The borrower is informed to ensure that the trapped cat is not subjected to ill-treatment or injury and that it is an offence to subject an animal to cruelty,’ he said.

For complaints on a large number of cats in a house, an AVA officer will visit to check on the number of cats and their welfare, and advise the owner to confine them within the premises, sterilise them and also to reduce the number by re-homing them.

Mr Jeyapal said owners must show some responsibility on hygiene and smell issues.

He said: ‘If they can’t manage… then they have to keep cats in moderation.

‘Those with more than 30 cats, we acknowledge their love for cats, but there must be some places such as farms where cats can have a better life.’

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BaltimoreSun 20090311: Federal Hill house auction to benefit animal shelter

No one lives forever. In facing our mortality, this is something that should bother any responsible pet parent: What happens to your animals after you die?

Friday, March 13, 2009

What happens to your animals after you die?

Here is an interesting story about a man stated in his will that he wanted his house sold after his death. The money raised is to go to a charity to look after dogs whose owners have died. That’s one of the issues facing older pet owners – they may want to have dogs or cats with them but worry what happens if they should die before the animals.

www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_city/bal-md.ci.dog11mar11,0,2836709.story

baltimoresun.com

Federal Hill house auction to benefit animal shelter

Man leaves property to help care for dogs whose owners have died

By Jacques Kelly

March 11, 2009

Only a few Federal Hill neighbors knew Kenneth Munzert’s idiosyncrasies. He owned a silver-blue Bentley but preferred to walk in Baltimore. He sailed on the Queen Mary 2 but collected soap from hotels he visited. He lived in a $1 million house but wrote numerous letters on old fliers.

Munzert, who died last year at age 88, had no close family and left his principal asset, his home overlooking the harbor, to an animal charity pledged to protect his German shepherd, Beauregard, a former stray with whom he sometimes slept on the floor.

“He was an eccentric person, and he did what he considered was right,” said the Rev. Holger Roggelin, the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, where Munzert attended services twice weekly. “He also loved to pick a fight on any issue, politics, religion, anything. I think he actually enjoyed doing this. It was hard to gain Mr. Munzert’s confidence. He had a dry sense of humor. You never knew what he was going to say next.”

Although Munzert had worried about Beauregard’s care if his beloved dog outlived him, the animal died shortly before Munzert, who then directed that his 19th-century home be sold to protect other dogs whose owners had died. The house at 405 Warren Ave., whose facade appears in the Al Pacino film And Justice for All, will go to auction March 31 to benefit the SPCA of Richmond, Va.

“I had not made a practice of accepting responsibility for people’s pets after their death, but, after I spoke with Ken, I agreed to do so for Beau,” said Robin R. Starr, head of the Richmond SPCA. “When I heard Ken talk about his love for his dog and his fear that Beau would not be cared for were he to die first, I realized that Ken was just the sort of pet owner that we wished everyone would be.”

This year, Maryland legislators are wrestling with a proposed mechanism for owners to leave a reasonable bequest to their pets. State law is hazy on the issue.

Munzert was raised on Baltimore Street on the west side. His father, a druggist, sent him to Staunton Military Academy after he and his wife separated. He studied diligently and went on to earn an engineering degree at Harvard University. After graduation, Munzert joined the Harvard Club and regularly rented one of its rooms.

Munzert assiduously read the Wall Street Journal until his death. He also studied German at the Zion church school in downtown Baltimore. Friends described him as a “Southern gentleman.”

Over the years, Munzert held jobs with the Regional Planning Council, the city, the old John C. Legg & Co. and Johns Hopkins Hospital, his attorney said.

According to interviews with friends, Munzert was a proud and private man. He regularly sailed to Europe, and left Beauregard – who could be obstreperous – in the care of others. He also made visits to Toronto, where he had a dentist, and to Richmond.

According to a will filed in Baltimore last month, Munzert left an estimated $990,228 – three-quarters of which is directed to animal protection groups in the U.S. and elsewhere. That amount doesn’t include his Warren Avenue house, which he told friends he bought for $25,000 about 40 years ago.

Munzert had owned properties in several Baltimore historic districts – Dickeyville, Seton Hill and Federal Hill, where he once owned several Warren Avenue houses.

Munzert’s home, one of a pair of houses built by South Charles Street department store owner Henry Wessel, is one of the largest residences in South Baltimore at nearly 4,400 square feet.

“That house is a treasure waiting to be touched,” said a neighbor, Mary Della, who lives in the other home constructed by the department store owner. “He loved it. And I can see him fixing the roof, attired in a summer seersucker suit.”

Restaurateur Wayne Brokke rented an apartment from Munzert in the 1970s.

“As sloppy as he was in that house, he was careful with his finances,” Brokke said. “He also loved making apartments nice for his tenants.”

Starr, the SPCA director to whom Munzert left his personal effects, walked through the house recently and found Beauregard’s ceramic food bowl, inscribed: “To Man’s Best Friend – His Dog.”

It now rests on her desk.

New Paper 20090306: I buried those cats, woman tells SPCA

So it seems that the case of the 45 dead cats in Seletar is not the work of a serial cat killer after all. While I am glad, I do not much care for the how the case got airtime for thoroughly undeserving individuals. Still, while I lament the state of journalism in Singapore, I am definitely appreciative of the opportunity to get the situation and plight of Singapore’s homeless cats some light. Let’s hope for positive after effects.

The Electric New Paper

DEAD CATS DUG UP ALONG SELETAR ROAD

I buried those cats, woman tells SPCA

By Teh Jen Lee

March 06, 2009

SHE was simply dressed and brought two injured kittens to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

Click to see larger image
GRUESOME DISCOVERY: Black trash bags containing cat carcasses were dug up along Seletar Road. TNP PICTURES: CHOO CHWEE HUA

But what she had to say that afternoon, on 16Feb, took Mr Ng Wee Kwang by surprise.

She told the SPCA’s animal handling officer: ‘I am the woman who buried most of the cats in Seletar.’

She was referring to TheNew Paper front page report on 2 Feb about the mystery burial of 45 cats along Seletar Road.

Investigations by both the police and the National Environment Agency (NEA) have been inconclusive.

But now, things may be clearer.

Said Mr Ng, 38: ‘When I heard her, I thought she was very good-hearted. Two of the cats had died from sterilisation operations and she bothered to bury them.

‘Not many people would bother themselves with dead animals.’

The Mandarin-speaking woman in her 50s, dressed in a simple blouse and pants, gave a detailed breakdown of 28 cats she said she had buried.

According to her, besides the two who died on the operating table, nine were accident victims, another eight died of food poisoning and nine had died of general sickness.

However, it’s not known how she came to that conclusion. The cats were picked up from all over the island.

The woman claimed that some of the other carcasses which were found could have been buried by her son, who is currently doing National Service.

They have been doing this for the past eight years.

Only recently when she suffered back problems did she ask her maid to help bury the carcasses, she claimed.

Too heavy

Mr Ng said: ‘She said the doctor told her to stop carrying heavy things so she got her maid to carry the carcasses instead. They can be quite heavy.’

She told Mr Ng that the maid didn’t do a good job because she didn’t dig deep enough.

This could be the reason why the bags started to smell, and the police were alerted to the buried bodies.

The woman said she had made a report to the police and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

The police said they have completed their investigations and submitted the findings to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

A spokesman for AVA said: ‘The lady had informed our officer that she had buried the dead cats over some period of time.

‘As and when she found the cats had died of natural causes such as sickness or accidents, she had buried them or got her maid to bury them at the site.’

The woman claimed she goes around Singapore to feed stray cats and will pick up any dead cat she comes across, even as far as Jurong.

She would bury them at the spots where she found them, but recently because of her back problem, she started burying them closer to home, said Mr Ng.

When asked, the woman could not confirm whether any of the rest of the 45 carcasses were cruelty cases.

What she could say was that she had packed the black bags herself and buried them.

Taped up

They were taped tightly to prevent the smell from escaping, said Mr Ng.

The two kittens which she took to the SPCA were later examined by the SPCA consultant vet, who did not find sufficient evidence to suggest abuse.

Mr Ng added that the woman would sometimes get emotional and angry when talking about the burial.

‘I think it’s because she feels so much for cats. Cats are often the victims of accidents and abuse,’ he said.

SPCA executive officer Deirdre Moss said: ‘This is the first case we know of someone going out of their way to pick up dead cats and bury them while going around feeding and caring for strays.

‘Obviously she’s a compassionate person who may be wants to give them a proper burial.’


Illegal to bury animals in public places

DEAD pets should be put in a strong opaque plastic bag and tied up securely. They should be taken to and put into the bins at a nearby bin centre.

Alternatively, pet owners can look up the Yellow Pages and approach private animal crematoria thatoffer disposal services, according to the National Environment Agency website. (Learn more athttp://app2.nea.gov.sg/topics_waste_dispose.aspx)

A spokesman for NEA said that it is an offence under regulation 19(2) of Environmental Public Health (Public Cleansing) Regulations to bury the animal in a public place.

Those who do so may be asked to take action to remedy what they have done.

New Paper 20090206: Speculation and Sensationalism on the Seletar Cats

This is the first follow-up to the 45 dead cats in body bags found in Seletar (click on it for full chronology). I agree with Dawn’s views, which is why I am not using the article title the new paper used in the blog post title.

I reiterate that “Cat Aids”, or more correctly, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), is no more transmittable to people, nor cats for that matter, than “Human Aids”. Aids, whether human or feline, has been proven to be, and remains, a disease of stigma and fear.

While clues seem to be emerging that this case may not be that of animal cruelty, it still does not warrant wild guesses on what caused the 45 cats’ deaths. I am especially perturbed that the article had quotes from a vet (who requested anonymity) painting “Cat Aids” as the likely nightmare, even though FIV does not work in the way that the vet and the people who want to believe as the cause, are contorting it to “work”. Whatever happened to responsible journalism?

Incidentally, during this period I had also received a sms from someone who put forth her “theory” on the case, and again “Cat Aids” was fingered. It was clear to me, her message was just going to stoke the frenzy to even greater heights. As a minion to past and present FIV/FELV positive cats, I cannot condone the stigmatisation the sms promoted. So I chose not to respond to the originator and I certainly did not waste my time or sms quota to help her spread her message of confuzzlement. Whatever happened to personal and social responsibility?

Here’s Dawn’s words on it:

Friday, February 6, 2009

More speculation on the Seletar Cats

When I saw the headline to this article, I groaned – unfortunately there are already people in this article talking about how the cats’ remains must be disposed of in the same manner in which birds culled after avian flu are taken care of. Of course, the fact that these cats are highly unlikely to have anything that is contagious to people was not mentioned. Neither is the fact that FIV, or as it is colourfully referred to in the paper, “Cat Aids”, is not in transmissible to people.

Posted by Dawn at 6:16 AM

Click on the blog post title to read the discussion, which I find interesting. Below is the article itself


The Electric New Paper :

LATEST: What killed cats found buried at Seletar? Autopsy result is inconclusive.
But could they have died from…

A cat version of Aids?

THE autopsy on the cats found buried in Seletar Estate has shed no light on how they died.

By Teh Jen Lee

06 February 2009

THE autopsy on the cats found buried in Seletar Estate has shed no light on how they died.

The Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) had sent 10 carcasses to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority’s (AVA) plant and animal health lab last Friday.

These were part of the 45 that were found buried in various holes along Seletar Road.

The SPCA was told that the carcasses were too decomposed for the lab to run toxicology tests to establish if the cats were poisoned.

On Tuesday, the final post-mortem report was released by AVA to say that the cause of death is inconclusive.

When contacted about the post-mortem, the police said investigations will still go on.

However, a veterinary surgeon told The New Paper that there are many feline viral diseases that can suddenly kill large numbers of cats.

The most common is cat viral flu. Another illness that reduces a cat’s immunity, although not as common, is feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), the cat version of the Aids virus.

While cats can be vaccinated against viral flu and feline panleucopenia, there is no vaccine against FIV.

‘It is spread among cats only through cat bites, when an infected cat bites deep into one who does not have it and the saliva goes into a moving blood supply,’ said the vet, who has been practising for over 20 years.

A blood test can determine whether a cat has FIV.

However their immune system will be low, so healing takes longer.

Cats with FIV will have to be given good food to keep their low immune system working as well as possible.

They also need to be kept away from sick cats, as it takes the FIV-positive cat much longer to get rid of cat colds and other illnesses.

Cat flu

The vet, who did not want to be named, also said that for the stray population, the most obvious disease is cat flu. The symptoms are runny nose, fever, and loss of appetite.

It is not usually fatal in previously healthy adult cats, but it can be fatal in kittens and older cats whose immune system is compromised.

It spreads from cat to cat contact and with contact from the discharge from the nose and eyes.

It can also spread from the cat sneezing much the same way a cold is spread in humans. Cat flu cannot be spread to humans.

Another common illness is feline panleucopenia, commonly known as feline distemper. It is primarily spread through contact with an infected cat’s body fluids, faeces, or fleas.

Sometimes it is spread through contact with bedding, food dishes, or even by handlers of infected cats.

The virus primarily attacks the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, causing internal ulcers.

This results in profuse and usually bloody diarrhoea, severe dehydration, malnutrition, anaemia, and often death. The mortality rate is 60 to 90 per cent.

The virus causes a decrease in the cat’s white blood cells, thus compromising its immune system.

Mass burial

The mass burial of cats has caused quite a stir. There are a couple of houses near the burial sites that keep cats. One house has at least 30 cats.

The resident did not want to be interviewed, saying in Mandarin that she has already spoken to the police.

Another resident, Madam Christine Moonesingha, 68, a retiree, has been keeping a cat for the past 17 years.

She said: ‘I’m not alone in my love of cats. There is a mother and daughter who walk around here every morning at 6.30am to feed stray cats.’

The residents are also concerned that they may have been exposed to something hazardous because the carcasses had been rotting along a frequently used path.

Three days to remove carcasses

The New Paper had reported that it took three days for the bags containing the carcasses to be collected by the waste collectors.

One resident, who was passing by the bodies on Monday night, said: ‘The bodies of the cats should have been handled as seriously as they handle the chickens when they are culled to prevent bird flu from spreading.

‘Forty-five decomposing bodies is a lot. Imagine all the germs spreading in the air.’

Meanwhile, SPCA executive officer Deirdre Moss said she was disappointed that the cause of death can’t be established.

She said: ‘Now more than ever we are dependent on people coming forward who may have concrete clues on how the cats died and who buried them there.

‘If you saw something, please come forward.’

Those with information can call SPCA at 6287 5355 extension 9.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.
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New Paper 20090203: On trail of Seletar cat killer

Chronology of reports on this now infamous case (updated as of 8 Mar 09), guest-starring the chairman of club rad himself, Mr Tony Tan Tuan Khoon:


The first I knew of this case was from Dawn’s blog:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Abuse or hoarding?

I heard about this case and was waiting for more details and here they are. Also as Anonymous in the last post said, do go to the SPCA website for more information.While some people are suspecting abuse, my guess is that it’s a hoarder. Why? There’s the presence of two kinds of food bags – dog and cat food. Also the sheer number of cats is to me fishy. Yes it’s possible that there is someone killing all these cats – but in most abuse cases we’ve seen, the bodies are thrown out. In this case, someone has taken quite a lot of trouble to conceal the deaths. We’ll find out more and hopefully whomever it is will be stopped.

Click on the blog post title to read the discussion, which I find interesting. Below is the article itself


The Electric New Paper :
On trail of Seletar cat killer
Dozens of cat carcasses found in bags buried at roadside
THEY looked like ordinary trash bags lying along Seletar Road, waiting to be picked up by the waste collection truck.

By Teh Jen Lee

03 February 2009
THEY looked like ordinary trash bags lying along Seletar Road, waiting to be picked up by the waste collection truck.

But they contained the bodies of cats, carefully sealed in plastic containers or bags.

It is understood that there could be up to 45 cat carcasses in the bags.

They were dug up by the police, after getting a call.

It’s not known who killed the cats. Or why. Or how.

But it appears to have been the worst mass killing of cats that Singapore has seen (see report on facing page).

There are few clues, and it is not even clear yet exactly when the cats died.

It is illegal for anyone but trained veterinarians to put down any animal in Singapore.

The New Paper was tipped off by the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) about the grisly finds.

SPCA understands that a woman caller, believed to be a resident of Seletar estate, had alerted the police to the stench.

SPCA took some of the dead cats to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) Animal & Plant Health Laboratory to see if a post-mortem can be carried out.

Three of them, said executive officer Deirdre Moss, ‘were in a white plastic box securely taped on all sides’.

She said: ‘The SPCA is urgently appealing for witnesses to come forward, who may have seen any persons burying the bags in the different locations along Seletar Road.’

Following the examination of the three bodies, the SPCA veterinary report found that the cats were likely to have been dead for at least a week.

Further investigation would be necessary by way of a post-mortem to establish the cause of death.

The police informed SPCA around 8.20pm on Thursday night that ’45 dead cats had been buried in the vicinity of 1 Stratton Place, along Seletar Road, within Seletar estate’.

Holes in the ground

When The New Paper went to Seletar Road on Friday morning to investigate, we found 13 bags lying along the road. They were in three separate locations within a distance of 500m.

This was after the SPCA had removed some of the carcasses.

Near the bags were holes that had been recently dug up, measuring about 30cm deep.

Someone had taken the trouble to bury the cats. But why? And how did the animals die? Was it painfully?

Ms Moss said: ‘The cats have been dead for a number of days and this may hamper establishing the cause of death for these animals.’

The stench of the decomposing bodies was overpowering.

With plastic bags acting as gloves, The New Paper team opened up one of the black plastic bags found at the end of Seletar Road, near a construction site.

We found a dog-food plastic bag inside, that had been taped securely. When we opened that bag, we found another layer of red plastic.

But at the bottom of the bag we opened, we could see some dark brown liquid that had possibly seeped out from the decomposing body.

By then, the smell had become unbearable and we decided to stop because if the liquid spilled out, the stench would have affected the surrounding residential area.

A Bangladeshi construction worker who declined to be named said the police were there at 9am on Friday, but he didn’t know what they were looking for.

‘I didn’t hear anything about dead cats,’ he said.

Said a 36-year-old Sri Lankan domestic helper living across from where the bags were found, who gave her name only as Mala: ‘It was very smelly this morning. While I was watering the plants around 7am, I could smell something but I didn’t know what it was.

‘I’ve never seen people keep cats around here.’

Her employer, Mr Kish Ranai, 50, told The New Paper that his neighbours had called the police because they had noticed the foul smell.

‘The first time I smelled it was yesterday evening when the police were around and they were digging up the bags. I didn’t know that they contained cat carcasses,’ he said.

‘I’ve been a resident here for more than 15 years and it’s the first time something like this has happened. It’s cruel. Those culprits must be dealt with.’

He wondered aloud why the cats were not sent to SPCA to be put down humanely.

The New Paper’s efforts to speak to the neighbour who called the police were unsuccessful.

Mr Justin Chiam, 20, a jogger who happened to be passing by, noticed the strong stench.

‘It’s my first time jogging here and I noticed the smell immediately. This is animal cruelty,’ he said.

A spokesman for AVA said they received a total of 10 cat carcasses submitted by SPCA on Friday.

Preliminary examination indicated that all 10 carcasses were in a highly decomposed state. Post-mortem examination is still ongoing.

AVA will investigate all reports of animal cruelty.

For an investigation to be meaningful and productive, the report should be accompanied by sufficient evidence that an act of animal cruelty has been committed and information that could lead to the identity of the perpetrator, said AVA.

Witnesses willing to testify in court against the perpetrator will help in the prosecution.

Anyone found guilty of animal cruelty can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed 12 months or both.

Members of the public can contact the SPCA at 62875355 extension 9.

Ms Moss said: ‘We’re desperately hoping that someone will come forward and shed some light on this horrific find.’


MYSTERY 1Who called and left details about dead cats?

MYSTERY 2

Why bury them in a row along a road within sight of others? Killer ignored dump at construction site nearby.

MYSTERY 3

Why were so many bags used to wrap dead cats?

MYSTERY 4

Where did all the dead cats come from?


Previous cases of cat abuse

DECEMBER 2006

A cat was found hung from a staircase railing with a blue nylon string tied around its neck.

Residents at Block 245, Simei Street 5 called the police after they saw the cat hanging between the sixth and seventh floor.

The incident happened on 29 Dec. It was the second time in a week that a cat had been tortured.

On Christmas Eve, a cat was found bleeding from its mouth and nose at Yishun Ring Road.

The SPCA was informed and the injured cat was taken to a veterinarian to be put to sleep. SPCA executive officer Deirdre Moss said: ‘It was in extreme pain and suffering from respiratory distress.’

AUGUST 2007

A cat was discovered at the West Coast Car Mart with its head and front legs cut off.

The SPCA offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of the cat killer who likely struck early in the morning.

The cruel act was likely done by someone skilled with a knife, indicated by the clean cuts on the cat’s body.

As there was very little blood at the scene, it is also likely that the killer had cut up the cat somewhere else before dumping its body in public, said Ms Moss.

MAY 2008

Seven vicious attacks on cats in Pasir Ris prompted animal lovers to offer a $10,000 reward for information. They also started patrols around the neighbourhood.

The sum of money has been pledged by SOS Animals, the Cat Welfare Society, the SPCA and an unnamed family in Aljunied.

The first attack was discovered on 2 May at Pasir Ris Street 21. Two cats found dead there were believed to have been dunked in thinner.

A third cat found there, also dunked and barely alive, had to be put down.

Ten days later, residents found three cats dying of stab wounds in Pasir Ris Town Park. A fourth cat was dead with a fractured jaw.


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NYTimes 20080401: A Push to Stop Swiss Cats From Being Turned Into Coats and Hats

Just to balance the sheets a little, fashionistas are as culpable as gourmands when it comes to killing cats and dogs:

Lucerne Journal
A Push to Stop Swiss Cats From Being Turned Into Coats and Hats

01cats-600.jpg
Nicolas Righetti for The New York Times

Tomi Tomek at her home, a 260-cat shelter, in Noiraigue, Switzerland.

By STEVE FRIESS
Published: April 1, 2008

LUCERNE, Switzerland — Had just one of her cats disappeared last October, Isabelle Nydegger would simply have assumed it had lost its way in the nearby forest or been attacked by a dog or wild animal.

But first Zeus, a 2-year-old black tabby, vanished. A few days later it was her 2-year-old black and white tabby, Zorra. And, finally, the prize of her brood, 4-year-old Merlin, a fluffy white Siberian whose perky visage remains in her mobile phone six months later. All were gone within the first couple of weeks of the fall hunting season.

The cats, Mrs. Nydegger and others are convinced, were shot by hunters near this central Swiss city and sold to tanners for their fur, which is used in garments and blankets in the last western European nation where such a trade is still legal.

Legal, that is, but increasingly stigmatized — and soon Switzerland is likely to outlaw the practice.

That the first country to outlaw it, Italy, did so only six years ago reflects the long European history with cat fur and how quickly the public has soured on its use in the face of an international campaign to redefine a centuries-old practice borrowed from traditional Chinese medicine.

While it is legal in Switzerland to shoot feral cats as well as domestic ones that stray more than 200 yards from their homes, it is not clear how many cats are hunted every year here and across the border in France, where residents have also complained about disappearing felines. One government official put the number at a couple of dozen. Luc Barthassat, a legislator with the Christian Democratic People’s Party, said about 2,000, but members of S O S Chats, an advocacy group, say tens of thousands are killed.

Estimates of the value of each pelt vary wildly. Mr. Barthassat said he had been told by tanners that they pay only about $5. But animal rights advocates say that hunters make much more than that, noting that some blankets made from 10 pelts sell at retail for more than $1,700.

But the numbers almost seemed beside the fact this fall, after a series of TV reports created a public furor. Three TV news crews from Switzerland and France conducted hidden-camera investigations that caught tanners who had officially denied trading in cat fur actively doing so and, in at least one case, explaining that cat meat was also available.

Soon S O S Chats had collected more than 123,000 signatures urging the government to ban the practice. Brigitte Bardot and Michael Schumacher, the popular Formula One driver, signed the petition, as did leaders of animal-rights groups around the world.

“This is probably the most popular subject we are dealing with this year,” said Mr. Barthassat, who has introduced a bill that would ban the import, export and domestic commercial trade in cat fur. “By this summer, it will be resolved. It is very personal for many people because cats are more than animals to us.”

Regardless of how common it is, news media reports over the past year across Europe portraying Switzerland as a cat-slaying haven have helped S O S Chats press its case. “The politicians must be careful what they say, but that they are helping us is a good thing,” said Tomi Tomek, the director of S O S Chats, who has lived since 1981 at a 260-cat shelter nestled in the rugged western Swiss mountains near Neuchâtel. “All of this publicity has driven the trade underground, and that is good, too.”

The matter would most likely have reached the Swiss Parliament in some form this year regardless of the activism and publicity because the European Union has required member states to prohibit the import and export of cat fur by the end of 2008 anyway. Switzerland is not a member of the Union but does have treaties that require it to adhere to many of its rules on trade matters. Mr. Barthassat’s effort to end the domestic trade, however, is a step beyond the European Union’s demands.

Ms. Tomek said her organization had spent a decade trying to bring attention to the use of cat fur and the theft of domestic cats. She said one of the biggest problems her group faced was to convince people that there really was a trade in cat fur.

“For a long time, nobody believed us because we had no proof,” she said. “We would call up the tanners and tell them who we were and ask them, and they would never admit they did this. Then we started just pretending we wanted to order some cat fur, and they sold to us. Now we are not seen as liars anymore.”

Armed with a thicket of receipts showing purchases by S O S Chats of cat fur garments as recently as last August, Ms. Tomek approached journalists from across Europe, persuading several to look into the matter.

Until she saw the news reports, Mrs. Nydegger herself dismissed Mrs. Tomek and others as radicals. But the loss of her third cat, Merlin, was particularly shocking because he was so loyal and well behaved, often taking walks with her and her dogs without a leash. That Merlin would have wandered off, she said, is “just completely impossible.”

No less than Christophe Darbellay, the president of Mr. Barthassat’s own party, has said he is alarmed by the growing international outrage over the trade in a Western European nation otherwise known for its high regard for animal welfare. The Swiss are a pet-loving people, more than 60 percent of whom have a dog or cat, he said. Companion animals are often seen sitting with owners in restaurants and on public transportation.

“Switzerland is becoming the place where the most cats are being killed for the import and commerce to sell the cat fur,” Mr. Darbellay said. “We don’t like to be seen this way.”

Sydney’s humpback whale calf euthanased

Sydney named* the lost calf… but ultimately he still died, yesterday morning: Humpback whale calf Colin euthanased. Click the link to read, there are details on the arguments for and against further attempts to save Colin, and links to debates on whether it was necessary to end little Colin’s life by human committee.

This is a surprisingly turn given the upbeat tone of articles like this, and reports of the military’s willingness to assist in rescue efforts, just hours earlier.

Colin’s case has also sparked some possible controversy… namely:

… an international law professor says it may be illegal for authorities to euthanise the abandoned calf.

Professor Donald Rothwell from the Australian National University says there is no provision or precedent under NSW law to put down the protected species.

He says an order could be possibly be granted under the NSW National Parks Act, but that would send the wrong message to the international community about whale conservation.

“One of the important issues which should cause concerns here is that humpback whales are the whales that Australia has particularly taken a strong position with in terms of their protection and conservation at the international level,” he said.

“I think the Japanese would view with some interest Australia granting a permit to actually legally kill a whale that’s in Australian waters.”

(source)

I would hate to see Colin’s tragedy open that can of worms to the benefit of his species’ killers.

EDIT: * Colin’s autopsy reveals him to be a her, and now she’s been renamed Collette, though it’s going to make scant difference to her.