Singapore— Noor Farhan Darsoo, who left 7 cats alone for several months in an empty HDB flat, was fined S$2,500 by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).
AVA made this known to the public via a statement on March 13, Wednesday.
Along with the fine, AVA also gave Mr Noor, age 29, a six-month disqualification order (DO) forbidding him from owning any animals for that duration of time, due to pet abandonment.
According to AVA, a case of alleged cat abandonment was reported to them in January of 2018. The cats were abandoned in a HDB unit at Boon Lay Drive.
Upon carrying out investigations, the authorities discovered that Mr Noor left the HDB unit in October 2017 without taking his seven cats.
Mr Noor says he provided the cats with some food and water and returned from time to time to provide care.
But as time went by, he said he forgot about his pets.
Fortunately, the seven cats have not only been rescued, but new homes have been found for them as well.
The statement from AVA says that all reports of pet abandonment are looked into by the authority, and enforcement action is taken as needed.
The statement further says that people who are discovered to have abandoned their pets are liable to a maximum fine of S$10,000 and/or a maximum jail term of 12 months for first convictions.
According to the authority, “Safeguarding animal welfare is a shared responsibility that requires the cooperation of all stakeholders, including the public. While AVA continues to ensure that the necessary enforcement action is taken and to raise awareness on animal welfare, members of the public can play their part by being vigilant.”
Should anyone become aware of cases of animal abandonment or any other animal welfare issue, he or she should report it to AVA through their hotline at 1800-476-1600, which can be accessed 24 hours a day. They may also report through AVA’s website at www.ava.gov.sg.
The authority also said that photographic and/or videographic evidence of the alleged abuse or other animal welfare issues are important to their investigations, and assured the public that all reporting will be strictly confidential.
Yahoo Singapore reports that Louis Ng, Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament, has asked for specific measures from the Government to prevent possible cases of cat abandonment in the future, citing such examples as microchipping and licensing.
Pet dogs in Singapore are required to be microchipped and licensed, for the purpose of rabies control, as well as traceability. The implanted microchip must then be registered with AVA, along with the pet owner’s details.
Cats, however, do not fall under this requirement.
At the Committee of Supply debate in Parliament, Mr Ng said, “Cat abandonment is one reason for an increase in the stray cat population. It is a heartless act. It also causes problems as cat feeders struggle with the sudden increase in numbers and residents also suffer disamenities.”
Mr Ng, a well known animal rights proponent, is the founder of animal protection organisation ACRES, (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society). ACRES’s mission is “To create a caring and socially responsible society where animals are treated as sentient beings.”
Sun Xueling the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development, replied to Mr Ng, saying that AVA will study the suggestions as a part of its holistic review of regulations that pertain to pet animals, including preventing pet abandonment and promoting responsible pet ownership.