Jailed two years for starving cats to death

Paying the price for negligence: Salesman Lim (in green) being escorted at the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur after pleading guilty to starving his pets to death.

KUALA LUMPUR: A salesman paid a heavy price for neglecting his five pet cats, all of which died from starvation, when the Sessions Court here sentenced him to two years in jail and a RM50,000 fine.

Judge Siti Aminah Ghazali meted out the sentence on Lim Chia Lin, 31, and ordered him to serve a year in prison if he fails to pay the fine following his guilty plea here yesterday.

According to the charge sheet, Lim, as the owner or caretaker of the five cats, was accused of not providing sufficient food and water to the animals, causing their deaths and the carcasses were found later.

The offence was committed at a rented condominium unit at Bayu Tasik Condominium, Bandar Sri Permaisuri in Cheras between June 14 and July 3 last year.

The charge under Section 29(1)(D) of the Animal Welfare Act 2015 carries a maximum fine of RM100,000, a maximum three-year imprisonment or both, upon conviction.

According to the statement of facts, the complainant in the case, who is also the owner of the condominium unit, received complaints from neighbours that there was a foul smell emanating from his property on March 11.

The complainant went to check the unit and found that several cat carcasses were inside a cage that was placed next to the door outside of the house.

The complainant then advised the tenant to dispose of the cage in order to avoid more complaints against him.

Two days later, the complainant, together with a security guard and the building manager, came to the unit to collect an outstanding rental of RM1,400.

The cage was still there while the unit was unlocked, hence they went inside to check.

They traced the stench coming from the fridge and a pail containing minced meat in the kitchen while the accused was sleeping in a room.

Earlier in the proceedings, Lim, who was unrepresented, asked for a minimum sentence as he told the court that he only earned RM1,500 a month.

He claimed that the “pail” was used to keep marinated chicken but his “explanation” was cut short by the judge who reminded him that he could only mitigate for a lower sentence.

“Doesn’t matter whether it’s marinated cat or marinated chicken, you already pleaded guilty to the charge.

“You can only plead for a lenient sentence now,” Siti Aminah said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Ahmad Hakimi Wan Ahmad Jaafar asked the court to impose a long custodial sentence as a lesson to the public not to neglect their responsibility as a pet owner.

“The accused went to his hometown in Sarawak for a month in June 2022 without leaving food and water until the cats starved to death.

“He did not take any proactive measures to bury the carcasses but he left them like that until the smell turned bad and caused nuisance to the community,” DPP Wan Ahmad said.

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