Hong Kong authorities will not pursue charges against a couple who reportedly abused several adopted cats under their care, including one who later died.
Police informed the HK Saving Cat and Dog Association that the case has been dropped due to a lack of evidence, Animal Post reported this week.
The husband and wife, both of whom are teachers, adopted two cats through the organization in December 2019, the association said.. Less than two months later in February, the couple returned one of the cats, Autumn. The feline was visibly thinner, its face swollen and tail missing tufts of fur. It also had other signs of injury.
The couple explained that it had been attacked by “other cats” at home, even though the organization had ascertained that they did not have any other animals at the time of adoption.
A week after Autumn was returned, the couple messaged the organization and said that the other adopted cat, Santa, had died. They said that Santa had gotten trapped between a bed and a mattress, and was not breathing by the time the cat was found.
When representatives from the organization arrived at the couple’s home to retrieve Santa’s body, they noticed that its tail was missing sections of fur. They also saw that the couple was keeping three other cats in a small cage.
The organization said they had visited the couple’s home before and gotten a good impression of the husband and wife, who appeared friendly.
After the incident came to light, a volunteer who went to pick up one of the other cats the couple was taking care of found it was seriously injured, according to Animal Post. It reportedly suffered from broken teeth, a wound on the back of its neck, and twisted and swollen feet. The couple alleged that the cat had injured itself by kicking the cage.
Activists have long complained that Hong Kong’s laws preventing animal cruelty are toothless.
Earlier this month, the Department of Justice said it would not be charging two Hong Kong men who confessed to hurling 29 pets out of their apartment window in February this year, sparking outrage in the community. Among the animals, 15, including a cat, two rabbits and nine chinchillas, died.
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