The student, freshman mechanical engineering major Xu Beiyang, was identified from video surveillance and later admitted to removing the cat. Xu said he viewed the cat as dangerous after being bitten by it earlier in the month.
The cat, known as Lili, was found shot in late May with a crossbow-type bolt and taken for veterinary surgery. Lili, pregnant at the time, successfully delivered five of six kittens. (The kittens continue to be cared for in the dorm where Lili had been convalescing.)
Xu, who had assisted the animal protection organization, the Association of Cats and Dogs, with their work occasionally, denied being the original shooter of the cat, although some sources say a bow-type weapon was found in his dormitory.
Xu admitted to removing the cat, but denied euthanizing the animal, known as Lili.
“As for doing euthanasia on Lili, I really thought about this method. I would have had to take it to the hospital and it would have been too noticeable. Because I don’t have experience of injecting cats with air to make them die, I also gave up [that idea]. Actually, merely letting it go isn’t what I wanted. But I was afraid of public opinion. So I had to do this [release it],” said Xu in a WeChat interview with a MyShantou.org reporter.
Xu said that “school leaders” had talked to him about the incident, and that two security guards seemed to be following him for a time, but this could not be independently verified by MyShantou.org.
The incident came to public light after a Wechat posting — later deleted — on the subscription of the animal organization.
“With the aid of the Association of Cats and Dogs at Shantou University, Lili, the vagrant pregnant cat shot at STU, progressed to convalescence. On May 23rd, an extreme conservationist who was once hurt by Lili took it to the Sangpu Mountains and let it go because he thought it was aggressive and wasn’t suitable to be adopted,” an early morning of May 24th post connected to the organization read.
Surveillance video images purported to be from the time of Lili’s removal from Siyuan Dormitory show a person in a hooded green windbreaker wearing a mask and a pair of gloves, and rolling a suitcase in front of an elevator. Netizens identified him as Xu Beiyang, and Xu later admitted removing the animal — and said his clothing was for protection rather than concealment.
“None of the things I did is illegal. That I dressed in that way wasn’t to avoid the monitor,” Xu said in the same WeChat dialogue with a reporter. “My gloves are anti-shearing in case it [the cat] bit me and my mask can prevent rabies. What’s more, five minutes before I took Lili away, I wandered in Siyuan Dormitory in my ordinary clothes. If they wanted to investigate this thing, I’m sure that they could find me. In fact, there is no need for me to hide.”
Xu said Lili had come out of the open dormitory room when he had tested the door to the room. He also described the incident through which he came to view Lili as dangerous:
On May 2nd, Xu said he went to the old teaching building of the medical college to pick up his motorcycle after class. As soon as he approached, Lili leaped at him and bit his finger. “I kicked it fiercely until it was kicked away. And then I went to the hospital to get vaccinated,” Xu said. “It really has had a bad impact on me and shocked me a lot.”
In information about adopting vagrant animals published on the WeChat platform of the Association of Cats and Dogs, however, Lili was described as “docile.”
While Xu maintained that he had released Lili, other sources — including a leader of STU’s security department — said that Lili had been euthanized.
Li Xiaojin, a sophomore majoring in electrical and information engineering who had taken care of Lili since it left the hospital, said, “Lili is dead. Xu Beiyang told us that he had injected air into Lili and killed her.”
Members of the Association of Cats and Dogs said they had found fur and blood in Xu’s suitcase and chemicals and weapons in his dormitory after confronting him.
According to campus security director Wen Ruifeng, Lili was killed by a student at STU who injected the animal with air to end its life. But he declined to identify the student or provide further evidence of the animal’s demise.
Wen did say that feeding stray animals in campus is forbidden and what the animal association is doing is against campus regulations.
“We will strongly oppose it if the Association of Cats and Dogs is doing something against campus rules,” Wen said.
He also said that feeding stray animals was dangerous as it could attract more of them, and open up the campus to the possibility of diseases transmitted by them.
“Who would be blamed and who would take responsibility if incidents happened?” Wen said.
Founded in October 2016, the Association of Cats and Dogs now has nearly 100 volunteer members. Their main mission is to feed stray cats and dogs on campus. They also raise money to aid injured animals and for animal sterilization; they also help stray animals find owners.
After Lili was shot, money donated by teachers and students for her care added up to 4104.66 yuan. But because the cat is now gone, they plan to return the rest of the money to donors.“As for this event, we have no choice. And this isn’t what we wanted to see,” said Lin Jiarong, the president of the association.
Part of the criticism of the association seems to stem from online perception that Xu, the student who removed the cat, is part of their group. But members say Xu has nothing to do with them. Xu also said that he wasn’t an association member, but he had often helped take animals for treatment. “That’s the reason I knew where Lili was and the time when I could take her away,” Xu said. “Actually, I didn’t enter Li’s room that day. When I opened the door, Lili came out.”
On May 30th, one week after Lili’s disappearance, five baby cats lay in Li’s dormitory. Li, the student who had been caring for the injured cat and her kittens, was pouring goats’ milk into a feeding bottle and then squeezed out some drops of milk on the back of his hand. After making sure the temperature was appropriate, he slid the nipple into one kitten’s mouth. It sucked the milk instinctively. Compared to cats of the same age, they are weak and thin because of their premature delivery. If no one wants to adopt them, they will be sent to a shelter for vagrant animals in Shantou. So far, some teachers and students have stated their willingness to adopt them.