The Taipei Municipal Institute for Animal Health yesterday fined a National Taiwan University (NTU) doctoral student NT$120,000 after he admitted to abandoning four cats he had adopted.
The student, surnamed Lee, is also suspected of abusing and killing two other kittens and is still under investigation.
Institute director Yen I-feng (嚴一峰) said Lee had violated the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) by abandoning the four cats.
He was given a NT$30,000 fine for each of the cats.
The student could face a fine of between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000 and imprisonment for up to one year if found guilty of abusing and killing animals.
His name and photo could also be released if he is found guilty, Yen said.
The institute and prosecutors formed a joint investigation team to look into the cases.
Lee came under investigation after a number of animal rights advocates accused him in February of killing kittens by skinning them or throwing them off buildings.
They said that Lee, who lived in an NTU dormitory where pets are not allowed, had adopted at least six kittens from six different people since last year.
The bodies of several severely abused kittens were later discovered in the Shida Night Market (師大夜市) area.
Yen said the investigation team was still collecting evidence in the case.
The institute urged people seeking new owners for their pets to be vigilant about the background of the people that offer to take them.
The institute plans to set up a database of confirmed animal abusers who are barred from adopting animals, Yen said.