Singapore man charged with starving cat to death

PHOTO: A man in Singapore was charged after moving away and leaving his cat to starve. (via Wiki Commons)

A man in Singapore was sentenced to 20 days in jail after being fined SGD$10,000 (about 250,000 baht) for starving his pet cat, leading to its death. The 25 year old man was unable to pay the fine and was instead sentenced to serve time in jail.

According to court records, The Singaporean man adopted the cat in February 2019 and was its primary caregiver. However, by October 2020, he and his family had moved out of the flat in Sembawang, near the border with Johor Bahr where the cat was kept. He stayed about a half hour away in Boon Lay to be closer to his work instead.

The man would only occasionally return to feed the animal. Despite being alerted by a neighbour about a foul smell coming from the flat, he did not return to check on the starving cat. He admitted in court that he last remembered feeding the cat sometime in December of 2020.

The National Parks Board discovered the pet’s carcass on February 2, 2021, and a post-mortem examination indicated the cat had died from self-digestion – a condition where dying cells digest themselves from starving, according to Channel News Asia.

The man pleaded guilty to one charge under the Animals and Birds Act of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to the cat, named Grey, by starving it and failing to provide enough food and water regularly between December 25, 2020, and February 2, 2021. The penalties for such an offence under the Act include a fine of up to SGD$15,000 (about 375,000 baht), a jail term of up to 18 months, or both.

The man had asked for several adjournments to raise funds to pay the fine but eventually stated that he had no money. The judge granted him a final adjournment before admonishing him and sentencing him to 20 days in jail in default of the fine.

“Last time round you had S$1,000, now you have no money at all.”


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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.