Who needs logic?
This is going to be a long post because Michelle and I met a most unreasonable person last night.
Michelle and I went down and met a very difficult man and his family last night. He claimed that he had problems with the cats coming into his garden and had borrowed a trap from the AVA. We went over with repellents. He claimed at first that he loves animals but that cats are starting to head the list of animals he dislikes. He also said that if the cats do not come into his yard, he has no issue with them.
He also said in front of his teenaged children that he was pleased to see the report about the animal abuser in the newspapers. He said that he was glad to see someone doing something about the cats because the cat must have 'done something' to the man. Michelle and I explained that animal abuse is often a sign that violence is escalating - we pointed out that David Hooi for example had been convicted of a string of other crimes. This man said that while these people may be prone to violence, it's actually caregivers that drive them to hurt the cats because caregivers feed. Then when they have been violent to the cats they move on to other people. So if caregivers didn't feed then these abusers would not be forced to commit acts of violence.
He also said that if he put poison out and the cats 'happened' to eat it, he would not be at fault.
Michelle and I tried to explain the vacuum effect to the man. He said that if we remove the cats then fresh air will rush in to fill the vacuum. We offered to show him studies. He insisted that studies were not proof - but that he had proof of the cats in his garden. I pointed out that we had not seen a cat in the hour we were at his house, nor did he have anything to back up his assertion other than his claiming this to the the case. We said that we were prepared to accept his word, and that in addition, we could send him studies since he didn't believe us.
He also kept arguing that civet cats are cats - I told him there was no point arguing, he could look it up or we could send him the details. He also claimed that cats were the dirtiest animals around - look at when they bit people. I pointed out that any mouth was dirty - whether it be cat, dog or baby. In addition, we said that it didn't mean that every bite would get infected, just as every dog bite did not. He claimed that of course we would say that because we would suffer anything for the cats dog bites did not infect people. I said that we could get a doctor to speak with him if he didn't believe us. He refused.
He also asked why the AVA did not want to support sterilisation. We told him to call up and speak with the Head of the department as this was not the case. He refused and said he prefers to speak to people working at the 'bottom' as he put it.
We told him that since he had no problem with the cats as long as they didn't come in why not try the Scarecrow (which is a motion sensor that sprays water at anything that moves). Then the litany of complaints started - what if it got his clothes wet (which he hangs in his garden), what if it sprays his car (and thereby damages it), what if his teenaged children get wet if it is on, how much extra water bill would he need to pay, what sized battery would he need (his wife wanted to know if it was AA or AAA), would he become a 'laughing stock' because he gets sprayed? By this point, I told him I would pay the extra for the water bill from the Scarecrow, but he claimed that he could not calculate this as he had no idea what his average water bill is. He wanted to know why we didn't have a remote controlled one - I told him he was welcome to buy his own but this was the one I was offering. i also told him thatinstead of asking so many questions, he could try it and see if it worked. His wife wanted to know what would happen if someone came into their house to steal it as they weren't always home. I pointed out that they had a trap from the AVA and if that was stolen, the AVA wasn't going to accept that they weren't at home - and that they would still need to pay the AVA the $500. Michelle asked reasonably why anyone would come in and steal the Scarecrow - and the man said perhaps for the scrap metal. I told him he could put his mind at rest because it was a plastic device.
By this time, he was getting irritated because I think he realised he was sounding quite unreasonable. We told him we were just there to offer him a solution and he could either accept it or not, but that as he himself said he didn't want to hurt animals, then why not try something that would stop what he said was bothering him?
So of course, the man started to get abusive. He said that he blamed 'you people' for coming down only now that we knew he had a problem! I told him that unfortunately we were not mindreaders, and unless we knew he had a problem, we would not be able to help him. We told him that if we had known, we would certainly have come down or he could have contacted us.
He then said he never heard of us. I asked him how long he had lived in the estate and when he told us that he had lived there for 10 years, I told him that he must have lived there when a few volunteers and myself had walked door to door distributing letters about the TNRM programme in the estate and asking people to call if they had a problem.
Suddenly, the man who had not heard of us two minutes ago was able to correct me and say that the letter had not said to call with problems - he said it said to call for 'enquiries and clarifications'. When I pointed out that other neighbours in his estate had no problems calling with clarifications, he turned his back on us.
In the end, Michelle and I said that we were going to thank them for their time, and they knew how to contact us if they wanted the Scarecrow. The man insisted that he had said that he would try it. I told him that he had not - he had to undertake the risk that he might get wet, his children and his car might to, because I certainly was not going to guarantee that it might not happen.
The worrying thing is that he has two teenaged children. They laughed along with their father at first when he was making these ridiculous statements. In the end, they stopped laughing when I think even they realised how silly he sounded. These are the people who are raising children though - to think it's fine to abuse animals, that some people are just more prone to violence and hence it's okay to excuse them.