Woman calls police over cats 'buried alive'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2007, 12:00am

A cat lover called police to an Aberdeen park yesterday complaining that cats had been repeatedly buried alive by workers filling in a hole in the park with rocks and soil.

Police officers, flanked by inspectors from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and officers from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), said they did not find any trapped cats at the Aberdeen promenade park.

But Belinda Liu Shou-chee, a volunteer who has been feeding the stray cats there every day, insisted she saw cats emerging from the hole when she last removed the rocks.

'Every day I remove the rocks, but the next day they are there again,' she said. 'I am tired and worried. I don't know how many cats have been suffocated this way.'

The teary woman said about 30 cats used to live around the playground, but one night in July half of them were gone. She said it was not until later that she discovered rocks had been used to seal the entrance of the hole many cats lived in.

Last Friday, Ms Liu found a new layer of rocks blocking the hole. She removed some and found cats poking their heads out.

Since then she said she had been engaged in a tug-of-war with LCSD staff, removing rocks they used to block the hole, until yesterday morning when she again found the rocks blocking the hole and called police to report missing cats.

Ms Liu returned to the scene later in the afternoon to find the niche completely filled with soil.

An LCSD spokesman confirmed the department had ordered the hole filled in. He said it was necessary to mend the hole but workmen had inspected it with torches beforehand to make sure no cats were inside.

The department said the same thing late last month when a Western District resident complained a cat was trapped in a hole in a tree staff had filled in, but three days later, when the LCSD eventually agreed to uncover the hole, a starving and dehydrated cat was found inside.

Under the Pleasure Ground Regulation, anyone who feeds and keeps stray animals in a public park commits an offence.

A spokeswoman for the SPCA, Rebecca Ngan Yee-ling, said the law has failed to address the fact that even stray animals have a right to life. 'It is not wrong for the LCSD to keep their places clean and in order, but it would be totally improper if any of its staff do their jobs recklessly, if not intentionally imposing harm on a life.' She said the government should promote a scheme that allows stray animals to be sterilised and returned to the street.