Friday, July 22, 2005

Ignorance of the Law

We're often told Ignorance of the law is no excuse - so what happens when the officers who uphold the law are themselves ignorant? After the fiasco with the officer the other day, the caregiver went down again to the police station yesterday which was really wonderful of her. I can understand she was tired after being put off. I had called the station and the person in charge said that there was no problem filing a report.

So the volunteer goes in the evening yesterday and the officer whom I spoke to is not there. She asks to file a report anyway and was turned away AGAIN - they told her yet again to go to SPCA. The volunteer was well prepared this time - she took out her statute and showed it to them, but according to her, the officer told her to go call the SPCA anyway because they wouldn't investigate!

I called to speak to the officer today but he was not on duty. I spoke to yet another officer, who again had NO idea that you can file a report for abandonment. When I quoted the statute, he checked with his supervisor who said that the volunteer could file a report.

I called the volunteer and told her the officer would be waiting to take her report at a certain time and told her to call if there was a problem. I didn't hear from her this afternoon, and so I've dropped her an email this evening. Hope it finally went well. If not who can blame her for not wanting to file a report?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The police's ignorance of such a statute is shocking. Or do they think it's a waste of their time and suchlike to uphold this aspect of their duty - ie: protecting animals?

And these are the same people who are supposed to be the guardian of the law of the land. I myself have had experienced such callousness from singapore police before not once but twice, and it just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

the letter b

23/7/05 1:23 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Unfortunately the volunteer ran into problems yet again though they finally let her file the report. I'll be calling the police on Monday to try and see what the exact problem was.

23/7/05 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Aminah Bee said...

After several hitches, I finally managed to file a police report, after the 3rd attempt!
This is unbelievable! The police officer on duty at the neighbourhood police post, still asked me to report to SPCA first, even after he mentioned he received a phone call from Cat Welfare Society earlier in the day, to let me report the case to the police directly as SPCA had no power to investigate animal cruelty cases.

I nearly gave up. For 3 consecutive days I been at the police post from Wednesday up to Friday, all the police officers on duty refused to take my statement and they ask me refer to SPCA first.
Each time the officers attending my case are all different officers and they do not know anything on pet abandon law etc. They mentioned same thing, to contact SPCA first, as police are not in charge of animal cruelty complaints, until the police get directive from SPCA, then the police can take action. I told the police officer I already contacted SPCA and SPCA said it is for police to take action, and this is the third time I been there and they keep me going round in circle.

Hence yesterday, 2nd time around, I showed another ignorant officer, a copy of Prevention of Cruelty To Animals statute, mentioning a clause on pet abandonment under ANIMALS AND BIRDS ACT (courtesy of this blog site (Dawn of Cat Welfare Society).

First time I showed the statute was on Thursday, it came to nothing as the other officer on duty, insisted I should contact SPCA first, and he too never heard of pet abandonment law.

Yesterday officer mentioned same thing, he never heard of pet abandon act and after reading the ANIMALS AND BIRDS ACT ask me silly question where I get the Singapore statute which is easily accessible online.
He said best if SPCA take the abandoned cat.
I said the cat is alright, it goes in and out of the house through a broken window, and it is fed by cat feeders downstairs.
I mentioned since day one coming to the police post, my grievances is against the owner for abandoning the cat. Something must be done to stop all the rampant pet abandoning, if police not taking action on it.

Still not satisfied with the clause stated in the statute, the police officer on duty, phoned his superior officer at their Head Quarters to verify whether I can make a police report.
The HQ superior officer ask me to contact SPCA, as the superior officer is also not familiar with pet abandonment law.
Eeek! Feel like screaming my head off at all those baloney, ignorant officers.
I ask the officer to read to his superior officer the statute where it is mentioned pet abandonment is an offence.

Finally, spend so much time explaining one officer to the other on pet abandonment law and SPCA not in charge of cruelty cases, then they agreed I could make a police report.

I would not be surprised if others in my shoes would give up pursuing on animal cruelty complaints.

I like to add that all the police officers that I approached for the past 3 days trying to report on the pet abandoned case, ALL the ignorant officers asked me whether the cat is license. The police said if the cat is not license, it is difficult for the police to fine or prosecute the owner.

Jeepers! Don't the ignorant police know that cats in Singapore do not need a license? I told all the officers that cats do not need a license, only DOGS NEED LICENSE.
AVA or the Government had not passed a law that cats need a license, hence cats in Singapore does not carry a license tag on them, unlike dogs.
LOL (Laughing Out Loud) at this sheer stupidity! How come us, cat owners/ordinary members of the public, know that cats don't have license in Singapore, why police not aware of it?

I know in some parts of U.S.A ., cats do wear a license tag. Those cats that do not wear a license are considered strays, if they found roaming about, the animal control can captured them and put in animal pound, waiting to put to sleep if not claimed by its owner, and owner have to pay a fine for not having the cat licensed.

How come the police here, not aware of cats do not need license? Why do all the officers ask me same silly question, whether the cat having a license, for the 3 consecutive days I been there.

Police need to be educated more on the abovementioned matter.

"Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty." Quote from Mark Twain.

23/7/05 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Aminah Bee said...

Sorry for the error repeating same message. Please delete one of the same message.
Errors regretted.

23/7/05 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If i were you Aminah B, i make the call to the SPCA infront of the officer and then ask the latter to quickly call the station right away. it sounds as if they were making a fool of you as they don't like the idea that we know certain things more than they do.

i know this is off topic - truly sorry Dawn - but briefly how the police humiliated me in 1990: a group of indian men followed and then waited to see if i and a classmate were to board a feeder service bus at an interchange. i waited till they got fed up and dispersed, and then made a police report the next day. and guess what the idiot said to me? "are you sure they are not waiting to make friends with you?"

"officer, you must be joking. i'm making this report to ensure that you protect the rights of us women and just in case something happens to me. are you saying that you will only act when something happened to me? surely you don't want to be sued for not doing your duty? making friends with me, my a*se!"

yes i said "ar*se". and only then he grudgingly took down my statement. looking back, i was rather fierce for a 21 year old! :D

the letter b

23/7/05 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Aminah Bee said...

Hi Anonymous,

LOL at your expletive, Anonymous!
I was irritated enough, shared same sentiment with you from police negligence.

I did not make the call to SPCA, because it was already close after office hours, spend almost one hour with the police trying to convince them on my case, by then SPCA already close. The one on duty after office hours in SPCA, normally attend to emergency calls only, he is only a care taker, not proficient enough on animal cruelty law.
Yes I do sense the police making a fool of me. I can sense the way the police talk in a joking manner, the case is not serious enough or some of the officers beat around the bush, keep me going round in circle, testing my patience and probably their way to check whether I am of sound mind speaking on behalf of the animals.
I got insensitive remarks like since the cat not in distress, as I mentioned the cat is fed downstairs, the owner is not guilty, even after I mentioned several times, under pet abandonment act, the owner is guilty. Another officer mentioned, why I bother the cat owner refused to sterilised the cat. The officer mentioned that it is stopping cats from the natural urge to mate. Another officer asked me how I know the cat abandoned is the owner house cat, not a stray cat, even when I mentioned several times the owner admitted it is her house cat, and I been to the house and saw the cat in the house several times. Plus many other insensitive remark, and they laugh when they asking silly questions. I am alone making the police report, and felt am I the only one caring for cats here, none of you officers kind enough to understand plight of pets abandoned.

You are right also on the police get uptight when I can quote animal cruelty act better than those police officers who supposedly knew the law better.

"Ignorance of the law excuses no man from practicing it" Quote from Addison Mizner.

23/7/05 6:05 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I'm sorry to hear both of your bad experiences. Aminah, kudos to you though for pursuing this! They also seemed not to know what they were talking about when I called. I'll call next week and see what is going on as well.

23/7/05 7:05 PM  
Blogger The Imp said...

i hope all goes well with the filing. the police should be helpful instead of being a hindrance!

25/7/05 9:31 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hope so too!

25/7/05 10:06 AM  

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