A 49-year-old man surrendered himself to police on Monday night in connection with the discovery of 29 pets which were apparently hurled from a window of his high-rise residential block in Hong Kong.
Fifteen of the animals " nine chinchillas, a guinea pig, a cat, two rabbits, a parrot and a rodent " died from the fall. The 14 surviving pets " nine cats and five chinchillas " were sent to a clinic in the Wan Chai headquarters of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), for examination and treatment.
"It remains to be seen if they can make a recovery," one police source said on Tuesday.
They were all found in a path and on the hillside behind block 19 of private housing estate Hong Kong Garden, off the Tsing Lung Tau section of Castle Peak Road in the New Territories last Friday.
Police arrested the suspect, a local resident, for cruelty to animals, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of three years in jail and a fine of up to HK$200,000 (US$25,600).
As of 1pm on Tuesday, the suspect was being detained at Tsuen Wan Police Station for questioning, and had not been charged.
The SPCA said it was helping police to treat the injured animals and keep them for evidence.
Officers were called to the housing estate soon after 1pm last Friday when a security guard made the grim find.
The animals were found either dead or severely injured, most of them scattered on the ground and in a ditch next to the building. Four of the injured cats were found on a nearby slope on Saturday and Sunday.
The carcasses were handed to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for examination, according to the SPCA.
The source said extensive inquiries led officers to the fifth-floor flat of the building, where police believed the animals were kept prior to the discovery.
Police executed a search warrant on the premises and recovered evidence from inside that suggests the animals were kept there as pets prior to being dropped from a heightPolice source
He said the registered occupant of the flat was identified, but he was not at home during a police raid over the weekend.
"Police executed a search warrant on the premises and recovered evidence from inside that suggests the animals were kept there as pets prior to being dropped from a height," the source said.
The suspect was arrested when he turned himself in to police at Tsuen Wan Police Station, accompanied by his lawyer, on Monday evening.
The source said officers were still trying to find out why the pets were thrown from the building, and whether the man was their owner. It was understood the cats did not have identification chips.
The source said further arrests were possible.
Police appealed to anyone with information about the case to call investigators on 3661 2420.
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