Toa Payoh community cats believed to be latest victims of attacks by stray dog pack

One cat was killed. The other was recommended to be put down, but was taken in by animal group Kim Keat Cats and has since recovered and found a home.

Big Boy (left) & Milky (middle and right), two community cats attacked by a pack of three stray dogs in Toa Payoh (Photos: Hui Ting/Kim Keat Cats)
Big Boy (left) & Milky (middle and right), two community cats attacked by a pack of three stray dogs in Toa Payoh (Photos: Hui Ting/Kim Keat Cats)

SINGAPORE - The number of cats believed to be attacked by the same pack of three stray dogs since last September is growing, according to cat welfare groups in Singapore.

Incidents of stray cat attacks have been more apparent since January, with two cats allegedly killed in Ang Mo Kio last month, said a cat feeder from the neighbourhood who requested to remain unnamed.

According to the 46-year-old, the pack of dogs first started roaming about in Ang Mo Kio, before travelling out to areas like Bidadari, Serangoon North, Jalan Kayu, Hougang, Bishan.

More recently, they were spotted in Toa Payoh, Geylang and Aljunied.

Recent attacks in Toa Payoh

A reader had previously told Yahoo Southeast Asia in May about two cats found in the Woodleigh/Bidadari area that were found with suspected dog bites.

In mid June, a community cat in Toa Payoh, Big Boy, was bit in the face by one of the dogs. It suffered a jaw fracture, skull swelling, and serious infections from bites.

Its injuries were serious enough that three vets had recommended Big Boy be put down.

However, Kim Keat Cats, an informal animal welfare group based in Toa Payoh, instead chose to care for it.

Big Boy was given several antibiotics, with total expenses amounting to approximately $8,000 to $9,000, following two rounds of treatment.

It has since been adopted, with a follow up surgery scheduled for November.

Big Boy in recovery (left and middle) and a memorial for Milky (right) (Photos: Hui Ting/Kim Keat Cats)
Big Boy in recovery (left and middle) and a memorial for Milky (right) (Photos: Hui Ting/Kim Keat Cats)

More recently, Milky, a community cat based in Toa Payoh for the past few years, was attacked on 24 August. Its stomach got "butchered", and it did not survive.

Since the incidents, Kim Keat Cats has set up daily patrol to fend off the dogs.

According to Hui Ting, a coordinator in Kim Keat Cats, various informal animal welfare groups are frustrated, given all the casualties and the rising body count.

"We are just going around picking out bodies and medical cases, and spending thousands of dollars just to make sure that the community cats are taken care off."

The group has also approached the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) to assist in trapping the dogs since January.

Why are the stray dogs attacking cats?

According to Christine Bernadette, co-founder of animal welfare charity Causes for Animals, the issues of stray dogs attacks lies with the country's rapid development.

As forest areas are being developed, stray dogs that once lived in forested areas are forced to move into HDB estates after being displaced.

"What do you expect a dog to do if he has been living in a jungle area for so long, and the jungle is suddenly wiped out? Where will it go?" she said. "We are developing so fast that we have forgotten about nature and the wildlife around us."

According to Bernadette, this is reflected in why more incidents are happening in Bidadari estate, parts of which are still under construction, and Ang Mo Kio, where there are nearby forested areas providing hiding spots for stray dogs.

Meanwhile, Toa Payoh, which is densely populated by housing estates with fewer forested areas, has lower incidents in comparison.

Attacks first noticed last year

Residents first started noticing community cats go missing or turn up dead in Ang Mo Kio and Bidadari last year.

Informal animal welfare groups, concerned over the welfare of the cats, communicate via Whatsapp and Telegram to keep tabs on the whereabouts of stray dogs.

In the first three months of the year, a kill would happen almost every other week in Ang Mo Kio, claimed the unnamed cat feeder.

The Ang Mo Kio group was initially able to spot a routine by tracking the movement of the dogs. However, this later proved to be a challenge, as the dogs widened their area of scope.

"We are not always awake throughout the entire night, and we have to work. How are we supposed to be around, and fend off the dogs whenever they appear?" said Hui Ting.

Upon the team's examination of the cats' bodies, they noticed similar bite marks and puncture wounds.

The groups later came to the conclusion that the incidents were caused by a singular pack of three dogs, after speaking with other residents and feeders in the area

Residents reported seeing one of the stray dogs dragging a cat away, and another resident claimed they saw the pack of dogs chase after people.

Some younger residents would even stay up on weekend nights to help keep track of the dogs.

"The moment they hear a cat crying nearby, they will stop eating altogether, and run in that direction," said the cat feeder from Ang Mo Kio.

A report was filed with AVS in September last year, following multiple reports thereafter. In a CNA article in February, the AVS said it was aware of a pack of three dogs that were reported to have attacked community cats.

Not advocating for dogs to be euthanised

The groups are not advocating for the euthanisation of the homeless dog pack, but hope to prevent any further harm to animals in the community.

"We can't do much if it's a one-off incident, but it is not normal for the same pack of dogs to hunt cats," said the Ang Mo Kio cat feeder.

According to her, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has stated that it will be happy to rehome the stray dogs, should AVS successfully track and capture them.

Yahoo has reached out to AVS for clarifications and further information.

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