Updated: Man arrested in stray cats 'abduction' investigation
The police have arrested a Chinese man and impounded a van as part of their investigation into reports that two people had been seen rounding up cats in several localities.
Three carcasses, believed to be of cats, were found in the van. The man, who lives at Hal Far, was arrested in Marsascala at 8.20pm yesterday. Although he works part time at a Chinese restaurant in Marsascala, it is unlikely that the restaurant is involved, sources said.
The man also takes care of the kitchen of the Chinese community at Hal Far, who number 200 or so. He is claiming that he bought the carcasses believing them to be rabbits from a third party.
Sources said the police were tipped off about the man by the owner of a pet shop, who following an appeal by the Animal Welfare Department for information last Wednesday, reported the man as suspicious because of the large quantities of pet food he was buying.
Animal welfare activists had expressed fear that stray cats were being abducted.
A couple were seen driving around in a white van, trapping and taking cats away, the co-founder of Stray Animals Support Group SASG, Janine Vella, had said.
She feared hundreds of cats have been taken for their coats or even meat over several months.