KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian pet owners and activists who found nearly 300 starving cats caged and soaked in excrement at pet-care centers demanded sterner laws Tuesday against cruelty to animals.
The felines had been left with a company in Malaysia's central Selangor state that was supposed to take care of them while their owners returned to their hometowns for a week to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr.
Many owners became worried when they were later unable to contact company representatives. Rescue volunteers broke into the company's two facilities Sunday and discovered the emaciated cats lying in their own feces and urine in cages stacked atop each other.
Activists estimated that at least 12 cats were dead and that dozens more were missing. Police have questioned the company owner and an employee, but no arrests have been made.
The case has energized activists to push for stronger prosecution against people who mistreat animals, said Christine Chin, who heads the Malaysian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
"There is no deterrent in this country for animal cruelty, so the problem just spreads," Chin said.