Woman who abandoned 4 cats for fear of getting COVID-19 fined

(PHOTO: Abandoned cats at Marsiling Drive/Twitter)
(PHOTO: Abandoned cats at Marsiling Drive/Twitter)

SINGAPORE — A woman abandoned four cats at the void deck of an HDB block after believing that her family may be infected with the COVID-19 virus through her pets.

Zariyah, who goes by one name only, was spotted by a member of public releasing the cats from a carrier cage at a letterbox area before leaving in March last year.

The 45-year-old Singaporean was fined $4,000 and disqualified from owning pets for half a year on Wednesday (6 January) after she pleaded guilty to two out of four counts of abandoning an animal without reasonable cause or excuse. The remaining two counts were taken into consideration for sentencing.

On 28 March last year, Zariyah was seen abandoning the cats at the letterbox area of Block 31 Marsiling Drive. A member of public was attracted by the loud meowing sounds of the cats and asked her why she was releasing the cats from the cage.

In reply, Zariyah said she was unable to take care of the cats and left without them. Two of the cats were adopted by a member of the public while the remaining two were rescued by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

The National Parks Board was then alerted to the case. Zariyah later admitted to having four cats in her home for some time before she abandoned them. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she decided to release the cats as she feared her family might get the virus through them.

For abandoning an animal, Zariyah could have been jailed up to a year and fined up to $10,000, or both, on a first offence.

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