Man set to serve 20 days in prison after he fails to pay $10K fine for starving his pet cat to death
SINGAPORE CITY, SINGAPORE: A man had to pay the price for killing his pet cat after he failed to feed the poor animal sufficient food and water. Khairulnizam Khan Kamalrozaman was fined $10,000 by a district court on Monday, January 30, but he was unable to pay the sum and will instead serve a sentence of 20 days jail instead of the fine, according to the court records.
The 25-year-old was found guilty under the Animals and Birds Act for causing unnecessary pain and suffering to his cat named Grey who he starved to death. He failed to provide enough food and water for the cat on a regular basis between December 25, 2020 and February 2, 2021. Khairulnizam was staying in a flat with his wife in Sembawang Crescent at the end of 2018, according to court documents.
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What was the cause of negligence?
Khairulnizam adopted the cat in February 2019 and was its main caregiver. Khairulnizam and his family lived away from the Sembawang flat from October next year and chose to stay either with his in-laws in Woodlands or his aunt in Boon Lay as he worked at Jurong Port. The cat was left alone at the Sembawang flat and Khairulnizam would return occasionally to feed it. He confessed that he last fed his pet sometime in December 2020.
What happened to the starving pet cat?
Khairulnizam's neighbour texted him that there was a foul odor coming from the flat between December 25, 2020 and February 2, 2021. The concerned neighbor questioned Khairulnizam if his cat had died as he had not seen him for the past couple of months. The neighbor again sent several texts, saying that he needed to return immediately to check on the cat but Khairulnizam did not.
The National Parks Board (NParks) received a complaint about a dead cat at the Sembawang flat on Feb 2, 2021. NParks officers discovered a cat's carcass inside after they went to the flat on the same day. NParks' vets performed a post-mortem examination on the dead cat and found out that the carcass indicated a state of mummification and significant autolysis. This refers to "self-digestion", where dying or dead cells digest themselves.
The vets said that the actual time of the poor pet's death cannot be determined but it would take at least a week for the carcass to reach that state of autolysis and mummification. Khairulnizam was originally charged in August last year for starving his pet cat to death but later the charge was revised to the current one in October. He requested for several reschedulings to raise funds to pay the amount asked by the prosecution, along with excuses such as his wife had just given birth and then saying he had promised to take his daughter out for Chinese New Year.
He said he did not have any funds and asked for a deferment at a hearing on January 18. The judge said "last time round you had S$1,000, now you have no money at all", before granting him a final adjournment. He was actually sentenced on Monday.
The penalties for causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal unreasonably under the Animals and Birds Act are a fine of up to S$15,000, a jail term of up to 18 months or both.