Singapore man gets S$10,000 fine for starving cat to death for two months

Photo: File photo
Photo: File photo

Why have pets if you’re going to abandon them? 

25-year-old Khairulnizam Khan Kamalrozaman was fined S$10,000 (US$7,616) on Jan. 30 for not feeding his cat food and water for more than a month, leading to its death. 

However, he was unable to pay the fine and will serve a 20-day jail sentence instead. 

Khairulnizam pleaded guilty to a charge under the Animals and Birds Act of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to his cat called Grey. 

Grey area

He adopted the cat in February 2019 when he was living in a Sembawang Cresent flat with his wife. 

Around October 2020, his family lived with his in-laws in Woodlands instead, and on some occasions in Boon Lay, as he worked at Jurong Port. 

Apparently, the cat was left alone at the Sembawang flat but he returned occasionally to feed it. 

He admitted that the cat was last fed sometime in December 2020. 

Gone for two months

His Sembawang Crescent neighbor started messaging him between Dec. 25, 2020 and Feb. 2, 2021 because there was a smell coming from the flat. 

The neighbor had not seen Khairulnizam in two months and asked him if his cat had died. More messages were sent when the stench was getting stronger and Khairulnizam was told to return urgently.

Still, he did not return immediately to check on Grey. 

By the time the National Parks Board (NParks) got to the flat after receiving a call from a member of public, the cat was found dead. 

The post-mortem showed that the carcass indicated a state of mummification and significant autolysis or more commonly known as self-digestion. 

While the exact time of death is unknown, an NParks’ vet said that for the body to reach that state of autolysis and mummification, it could’ve been dead for at least a week. 

“Not enough funds”

He was charged in August initially but the charge was amended to the current one in October. 

Khairulnizam asked for adjournments to raise funds for his S$10,000 fine citing excuses like the wife having just given birth and that he had promised to take his daughter out for Chinese New Year. 

On Jan. 18, he said he did not have any money and asked for a deferment to which the judge replied, “Last time round you had S$1,000, now you have no money at all.” He was then sentenced to 20 days in jail. 

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