What is the appropriate punishment for a 10 year old boy for remorselessly throwing a cat out of a 22nd story window? That’s what authorities and web commentators are grappling with in Singapore after the horrific incident was caught on security video last week. The disturbing video captured a young boy picking up a neighbourhood black cat named Panther on the 22nd story of Block 186 Boon Lay Avenue and flinging it out the window.
After the video surfaced Thursday, animal welfare activists worry that the punishment will be too lenient for the brutal and malicious act against the cat. A Change.org petition was launched the same day as the footage went online. The petition gathered 50,000 signatures in just four days while calling on authorities to punish him fully under the Animal and Birds Act 1965.
That act imposes a fine of up to S$15,000 (about 386,000 baht) and up to 18 months in prison. People calling for this punishment say that although he is a young child, he’s old enough to know better and was very much aware of his cruelty toward the cat. They say his actions must have consequences or he could likely follow the common serial killer route from animal cruelty to human cruelty.
The Animal and Veterinary Service is currently investigating the incident but there are conflicting reports of whether the young boy is currently in police custody. Rumours are circulating that he tried to throw another cat out the window. Suspicions concerning at least five other cats, who died plunging out of windows in the area, with people now fearing that these were not falls, but intentional acts of savagery.
When confronted with the video, the boy confessed to the crime and allegedly said he did it because “he did not receive love and care from his family.”
Authorities, as well as animal activist groups like the SPCA and the Cat Welfare Society, have condemned the boy’s actions while calling on animal lovers to avoid vigilante backlash against the family. They ask that people stop forwarding the disturbing video as well.
But, the online community turned rabid quickly, calling for the cat killer’s punishment and admonishing anyone who suggested leniency or called for rehabilitation over punishment. Many argue that his parents should be held accountable and questioned the upbringing that would allow him to be so cruel at such a young age.