Nuisance and the HDB ruling
Michelle and I were discussing the HDB reply this afternoon and discussing what best to do next.
I do think that there will be a change in policy once there is a mindset change, and one issue among many others is the fact that they are worried that there will be more complaints. Who will ensure the cats are sterilised and microchipped? The HDB will probably say that they cannot spare the manpower.
Simple - if the Residents' Committees or CCs can be roped in (and we did have a CDC that offered to do a pilot project on this but it was turned down by the HDB), anyone who wants to register a cat can just trot down with the cat's sterilisation and microchip certificates, show it to the RC or CC person and the cat will be deemed to be registered. Now if there is a problem with a particular unit, the HDB can have the details faxed over and then they can go and inspect the unit. If the owner of the unit did not register, then he or she could be fined. If not, then the HDB can proceed to look into the case and see if there is a nuisance which is what they say they do now anyway.
The problem now is that while the HDB says that they only look into the case when there is a problem of 'nuisance', quite often there isn't! The HDB officer will then either hope the complainant does not insist the matter be pursued, or else, they are going to have to tell the responsible owners they have to get rid of the cats, even if there is no nuisance, just because they own a cat.
You might ask me why someone would complain when there is no nuisance present - all I have to is point at Mr "Look the Lizards are Mating" as an example. Some people think everything is a nuisance when frankly, it shouldn't be any of their business if it is something that happens in your own flat and it doesn't cause an inconvenience to someone else.
Now look at it this way, if I happen to play loud music at night in my flat, or I like to throw food out of my unit (one resident complained about this) when I'm washing my plates, should I then be banned from playing music or eating or washing?
So how can the act of owning a cat be wrong? By all means, prosecute if there IS a nuisance - but don't penalise people who have done nothing wrong other than wanting to own a pet cat.