The National Taiwan University (NTU) yesterday promised to launch an investigation into one of its doctoral students suspected of abusing and killing kittens he had adopted.
School authorities posted an announcement on the Professional Technology Temple — NTU’s biggest and most popular bulletin board system — saying the school would also cooperate with the Taipei Municipal Institute for Animal Health in the institute’s probe. The police are also involved in the investigation, it said.
The school had kept a low profile after a number of animal rights advocates reported the alleged cases of cat abuse to the NTU on Monday. The activists accused a student, surnamed Lee, at NTU’s Institute of Engineering Science and Ocean Engineering, of skinning kittens or throwing them off buildings.
The cases came into the spotlight after several bodies of severely abused kittens were discovered in the Shida night market (師大夜市).
Animal rights advocates alleged that Lee, who live in NTU’s dormitory — where pets are forbidden — had adopted at least six kittens from six different people since last year.
The advocates said they found that Lee used to frequent a church in the vicinity of the night market, and that students at Lee’s dormitory had also found the bodies of three kittens in a trash can in the dorm in September.
“He must have killed the kittens ... a normal person would not adopt a new cat almost every other day,” said Huang, one of the advocates who had given Lee a kitten.
Tou Sung-lin (竇松林), a secretary at NTU’s Office of Academic Affairs, told reporters that the school had talked to the student, but the student denied any involvement in the cases of alleged abuse.
“We have also reviewed some footage [from the campus’ surveillance cameras]. None of the cameras caught him [abusing the kittens], so there was no direct evidence proving that he did it,” Tou said.
The school said Lee moved out of the dormitory two days ago. He was unavailable for comment.
Tan Wen-chih (譚文治), a staffer at Taipei Municipal Institute for Animal Health, said the institute was still collecting evidence in the case.
“He could be jailed for one year [if the allegations proved true],” Tan said.
In accordance with the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法), anyone found to have abused and killed an animal is subject to a fine between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000 and may have his or her name or photo publicized.
Those involved in serious animal abuse and killing may be fined between NT$200,000 and NT$1 million (US$28,700).