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10-year-old boy completes rehabilitation programme with AVS after throwing cat from HDB block

A 10-year-old boy in Singapore, caught on camera throwing “Panther”, a community cat from a 22nd floor HDB block, completes a specially devised rehabilitation programme. The Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) report the boy now understands the gravity of his actions and has issued a stern warning against any future cruelty.



SINGAPORE: A 10-year-old boy who caused the death of a community cat by throwing it off a Housing and Development Board (HDB) block last year has completed a diversionary programme conducted by the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS).

The programme was aimed at rehabilitating the young offender, helping him to understand the nature of his actions and the importance of animal welfare.

The incident took place in December 2022 when the boy was seen on closed-circuit television (CCTV) hurling the male cat, Panther, off an HDB block.

The deleted viral CCTV footage displayed the boy taking a lift with Panther to the 22nd floor of Block 186 Boon Lay Avenue, confirming that the cat’s fall wasn’t accidental. Tragically, Panther, a cat that had been part of the community for over 15 years, did not survive the fall.

A netizen had reported that the boy was taken into police custody after a member of the public caught him attempting to throw another cat from a height. Following this incident, the Cat Welfare Society assisted Panther’s caregivers in filing a police report.

Following consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the boy, whose psychiatric evaluation suggested a lack of maturity to comprehend the repercussions of his actions, was placed on a diversionary programme by AVS, a cluster of the National Parks Board.

The programme was centered on rehabilitation and education about animal welfare, the laws protecting animal health and welfare in Singapore, understanding cats’ needs and behaviour, community co-existence, and responsible pet ownership.

The boy was also said to have received practical experience at a cat shelter where he learned to care for cats in terms of feeding, handling, and grooming them.

The AVS noted that the boy satisfactorily completed the programme in June and showed a significant understanding of why his actions were wrong. He expressed remorse and conveyed his apology to Panther’s caregivers, promising not to repeat such actions.

Upon the boy’s completion of the programme, AVS issued a stern warning to him. It also committed to continue working with his school to monitor his progress. However, AVS emphasised its zero-tolerance stance on animal mistreatment and will take appropriate enforcement action against those who neglect their pets or commit animal cruelty.

First-time offenders caught abusing an animal can face up to 18 months in jail, a fine of up to S$15,000, or both under the Animal and Birds Act. Additionally, those failing in their duty of care towards their pets could be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to 12 months, or both. Offenders can also face a ban on owning an animal for up to 12 months, alongside any other penalties.

Jessica Kwok, AVS’ group director, addressed allegations of the boy’s involvement in other similar cases in the same neighbourhood during a briefing with reporters. “For this particular boy, we did not receive any other reports of him being involved in other cases,” she said.

Ms Kwok also commented on two similar ongoing investigations involving a teenager caught inappropriately behaving with a cat along a HDB block corridor and several pet cats found caged and abandoned. She added that AVS handles about 1,250 animal cruelty cases annually, of which roughly 5% are substantiated with evidence to show an offence has occurred.

AVS stressed the importance of the public’s role in reporting any suspected cases of animal cruelty, highlighting that their investigators rely heavily on eyewitnesses, CCTV footage, and veterinary reports given the voiceless nature of their victims.

At the memorial of Panther last year, its caretaker, Yati, calls for justice to be done, “even if he is sick and old, he still has a long way to go”.

“And he was taken away like that, you think it is fair or not?” said Uni while crying.

She added that there must be a voice for innocent creatures and that the public has to keep a lookout for the community cats.

A petition on, urging the AVS and Singapore Police Force (SPF) to thoroughly investigate and bring the offender to justice, gathered over 90,000 signatures. Petitioners believe that stricter laws on animal cruelty should be enforced regardless of the offender’s age.

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so sad. poor cat