A Keelung resident was yesterday found liable for the death of 14 cats in her home, for which she received a 50-day sentence and a fine of NT$200,000.
The Keelung District Court ruled that cruel treatment of the cats by the woman, surnamed Chen (陳), resulted in their deaths, which contravened provisions of the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法).
Chen did not fulfill her responsibilities as a pet owner and showed a disregard for animal life, the ruling said.
The 32-year-old’s prison term can be commuted to a fine and the ruling can be appealed.
Keelung animal welfare officials received a report of suspected animal abuse at an apartment building in September last year.
During an investigation, they gained entry to Chen’s apartment, where they found the corpses of 14 cats.
“There was a strong, foul odor inside her residence, and there was cat feces everywhere. We found 11 dead kittens, packed in boxes or laid in cages,” the officials’ written report said. “There were three adult cat corpses, one of which had already decayed into a pile of bones, while the other two were decomposing and had maggots crawling around inside.”
“The cats had seemingly starved to death,” it added.
The investigation found that Chen had since 2014 adopted several cats, but did not neuter them, so their number grew to about 25 by last year.
Chen told investigators that she had taken good care of the cats, providing food and water, but in June last year had to go away to take care of her father, who was hospitalized.
She said she returned each night to feed the cats, but was later unable to open the front door due to the cats playing around.
“I got a locksmith to look at it, but he had trouble with the door and was told a side window would need to be knocked out to gain entry,” Chen said. “As that would be expensive, I did not take care of [the door] for a while, but I still returned each night to throw cat food inside through a small hole in the back door.”
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