Following a recent spate of cat deaths in the neighbourhood, Mr Louis Ng, Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, said a grassroots fast response team will be beefed up to gather evidence and conduct patrols in Yishun.
The team currently consists of about 20 to 30 cat feeders and concerned residents. More volunteers are being added to conduct more patrols, gather evidence on abuse, and alert residents when suspected abuse is taking place, he said.
"What they are doing is very essential," Mr Ng said on Tuesday (Dec 15). "We need people on the ground that can witness and see (what is happening)."
Apart from trying to catch the suspects, the purpose of publicly announcing the measures was to deter other potential abusers, said Mr Ng.
The MP, who is the founder and Executive Director of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), was speaking at a media briefing held at Nee Soon East Community Club on measures taken following the reports of cat deaths in Yishun.
Mr Ng has been vocal about the issue, calling the acts "barbaric" in an Oct 23 Facebook post.
Since September, there have been reports of 18 stray cats showing signs of abuse in the neighbourhood. Not all are strays - one was a pet, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority said. Of the 18, only one of the cats survived.
"SUSPECTS BECOMING MORE CRUEL, MORE BOLD"
Volunteer Janet Sum said they would like to add "as many people as possible" to the fast response team, including expanding the team of those doing patrols from four to seven members. Many of the cases of suspected abuse take place between 2am and 4am, said the private tutor, and the current volunteers are "overwhelmed and overstretched".
Residents will be alerted to suspected cases of abuse in the hope they will be able to provide witness accounts, or footage from their in-car cameras and CCTVs, to help identify the suspects.
There have been cases when the police were alerted, but the suspects ran away as soon as they spotted the police cars, Ms Sum said.
On their modus operandi, she said that the suspects would act friendly to cats, trying to lure the cats out by calling out to them. "I am sure it is more than one person," she said, adding that the recent cases suggest that the suspects have become "more cruel and more bold".
In the most recent case, the cat was found strangled by a rope, while in previous cases, a cat had its eye gouged out and tongue slit. Others were found poisoned, said Ms Sum.
Members of the public with any information about the deaths of the cats may call the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore at 1800-476-1600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.