Wed, May 18, 2016 - Page 3 News List

University student faces charges over death of stray cat

ANIMAL ABUSE:Chen Hao-yang allegedly confessed to killing a cat because he was under enormous stress and was emotionally unstable

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

A National Taiwan University student was yesterday charged with killing a stray cat and faces up to one year in prison if convicted.

Chemical engineering student Chen Hao-yang (陳皓揚) is accused of strangling a popular street cat called “Big Orange” (大橘子) in the university’s campus in Taipei in December last year.

Charged with violating the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法), Chen faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of between NT$100,000 and NT$1 million (US$3,065 and US$30,647) if convicted of intentionally killing the cat.

Prosecutors dropped a charge of property damage filed against Chen by a local resident, Wang Hsien-ju (王嫻如), who claimed ownership of the cat.

They said an investigation showed that Wang was not the cat’s owner and therefore did not have the right to press charges.

Investigators said Big Orange was a stray cat and was not implanted with a pet chip.

Wang has said she had witnessed two acts of animal abuse by Chen. She said she once saw Chen strangling a stray cat in a parking lot on Dec. 28 last year, but he released the cat and fled when she tried to stop him.

Wang said she saw him abusing another cat the next day and called the police to arrest Chen.

During the investigation, Chen allegedly confessed to killing Big Orange and led police officers to the cat’s corpse, which was hidden on campus.

Chen said he attacked the cats because he was under immense academic stress and was not able to control himself emotionally.

The incident sparked public outrage, and Chen was given two major demerits and two minor demerits — one step away from being expelled — by the university.

Chen issued a statement of apology and expressed regret over his action.

He said he would accept the punishment handed down by the court and would do volunteer work to make up for his mistake.

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