It's how you put it across
I was talking to a feeder just now. She is having some problems with the town council as she says they are not supportive.
She was telling the town council officer that killing the cats would not work because God would send new cats in. He asked what to do when people complained about the cats, saying there were people who did not like cats. He also complained there was a smell on the grass and he blamed it on the cats. The feeder told him that he ought to hire contractors to come and spray the grass every two weeks to the place would smell nice. She also told him that looking after the cats is her hobby, and that she should be allowed to do it because it makes her happy.
I told the woman that while what she is suggesting (sterilising all the cats) is good, she has not reached out in a way that the town council officer will buy what she is saying. Firstly, not all her cats are sterilised as far as I know. Secondly, it sounds as if she is saying that she is doing this as a 'hobby'. In that case, when your hobby starts to bother someone else, then you'll probably going to be asked to stop. Third, not everyone believes in God so try and put it across in simple logical facts - this is the same as the argument about not killing cats because they are adorable or deserve to live. Sure they do, but a logical argument often is much harder to pick apart then an emotive one.
I asked her if she had mentioned the vacuum effect. She had not. She said the officer is not going to be able to comprehend the programme. She also said he knew nothing about cats. I think we have established by this point that most officers know nothing about cats - in fact I would say when an officer actually DOES know something, I'm surprised. What we need to do is educate them - and give them solutions. Town councils work on the basis of solving complaints as we know.
The end result is that as I have mentioned before, try and target your town council officer by trying to find out what they want and then sell the programme to them from that point of view. The town council officer wants LESS work? Great - then helping with complaints will help him or her.
There will always be difficult town council officers, just as there are difficult people in general, and you may not be able to solve them. However, do try your best to explain so that they understand what the programme is about. They may agree and start working with you. If you paint a picture of a TNRM programme that seems to give them more work and more complaints, chances are they are not going to work with you.
Know your facts - and know how to present them. CWS has factsheets with information and most are available on our website.