Monday, June 26, 2006

Not everything is a cat issue

I spoke to the HDB officer this afternoon finally and also spoke with the volunteer afterward. The officer said they managed to see the woman and that she was fine. They wanted to call CWS or the volunteer down but the woman said she was in a rush and would not be around to speak to anyone.

I told the officer that this is no longer a cat issue. The volunteers have said that the smell is bad, but it does not smell like cats. Also, they do not hear any cats inside the flat. I asked her if they have inspected the flat - they have not, because she is reluctant to let them in. I told the officer that it cannot be lumped as a 'cat problem' just because the woman may have had cats once. It sounds as if this has become a hygiene issue - whether or not she has cats is incidental to the fact that she clearly cannot keep the flat clean.

The officer kept insisting that if she has cats they still need our help to speak with her. I told her this was not a problem, but in all likelihood, removing any cats (if there are still any cats inside) is NOT going to stop the smell.

I spoke to the volunteer after and one of the other volunteers managed to catch hold of the woman. She denied she had any cats left in the flat. She would not open the door and stood behind the door and spoke to the volunteer.

Sometimes it's just easier to lump it as a cat issue then to face the actual problem - ie that it might be a problem with the person or people involved because then how would you solve THAT?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very fishy inside this flat. Could it be a sicked dog lying on the floor and infested with worms? Or a handicapped person being confined at home. Or some dying animals lying around, waiting for rescue and help. This woman is very secretive. Something is wrong somewhere. The HDB officer better act fast and check it out.. If the smell is affecting the neighbourhood, then, this is very unhealthy for everybody.

Is the woman normal?

26/6/06 5:21 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

It does appear like a psychological or even a psychiatric problem for any "sane" human being to live with that pungent smell. Pehaps a call by the TC to Aged Psychiatry Community Assessment & Treatment Service for home pyschiatric assessment may be necessary.

26/6/06 5:39 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Good suggestion Vegancat - I hope the HDB will consider it and not just wish it away as a cat issue.

26/6/06 7:04 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

This goes to show the lack of professionalism or perhaps the lack of training in how some TC officers lack to skill to handle a wide variety and a wide range of problems. I think it is time TC injects proper training for TC officers that include how to handle issues regarding animals more effectively and more consistently, instead of letting an officer's subjective bias towards animals in selection a solution. I bet some care-givers "pray" that their TC officers are cat or dog-friendly.
Why should this be the case? I have heard my friends "swear" they won't move to Tampines but TC officers like any other employees "come and go". There are ample animal welfare organization to provide training or be available for consultation for TC officers and this way of resolving complaints from residents should be the rule rather than the exception.

26/6/06 9:16 PM  
Anonymous mr giggles said...

Hey Dawn, please advise the complainants, i.e. the lady's neighbours to call the police and say the suspect something or someone is dying or died in that flat because of the smell. The police have the right to go in to inspect. Maybe not the HDB or TC officers, but police have the right to investigate. I've personally encountered this when some intolerant resident complained about our "smelly" holding room where we place cats for rehab after sterilisation.

The police and the TC ofcciers who inspected agreed there was no strong smell. But the police made it very clear to me that I had to open up the room for them to check when I initially refused, thinking (like in the movies) that they need a warrant first!!! It was quite embarassing!

26/6/06 10:13 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

In this case, it is an HDB officer, but I agree Vegancat, and you're right - many caregivers do say they hope their officer is helpful/animal friendly which as you said, should not be the case.

26/6/06 10:14 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Actually Mr Giggles the HDB DOES have the right - they are the landlords and it would be easiest for them to get in. We did have a case where the HDB, AVA and police were all waiting for one another - the easiest is for the HDB to go in, which I have asked them to please do.

26/6/06 11:53 PM  

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