updated 9/6/2006 5:22:49 AM ET 2006-09-06T09:22:49

Singapore is on the hunt for a serial cat killer who has slaughtered at least 20 felines in the past two weeks. The cats were found dumped in bushes and drains, with their throats slit.

Singapore’s Cat Welfare Society said on Wednesday that residents and cleaners on a western part of the island had found several dead, mutilated cats in their neighborhood. All the cats had their throats slashed, while some of them also had their heads smashed or their throats burnt.

“It is really disturbing because in terms of frequency, there is nearly one cat getting killed every day,” Dawn Kua, director of operations at the Cat Welfare Society, told Reuters.

Kua said the group had lodged a police complaint and had organized about 15 volunteers to keep a lookout for the cat killer.

The Cat Welfare Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have also set up a joint reward of S$2,000 ($1,277) for anyone who can help arrest the culprit.

In Singapore, animal abuse is punishable by a maximum jail term of one year and a fine of up to S$10,000.

But the wealthy Southeast Asian city-state frequently reports cases of animal abuse and authorities have come under fire from animal welfare groups who say the penalties are not stiff enough.

Last month, a 28-year-old man who abused a cat by grabbing it by the neck and repeatedly slamming its body against the wall was sentenced to eight weeks in prison.

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