Monday, November 06, 2006

Dealing with complaints

Calsifer mentioned I sound a bit frustrated today and she's right because that was the first of two 'anonymous' complaints.

The second one was about someone who complained that was someone 'keeping' a lot of cats downstairs. No other details. I asked if it was home cats or community cats, if the cats were sterilised, what time the feeder came. The complainant told the officer he refused to give more details - but the officer should go and 'check'.

I wrote back to the officer and said if I go down and check and find no cats there can we then close the case? I said that it was ridiculous - after all, what was the complaint precisely?

I called the feeder in the area and she mentioned she knows someone who feeds there. She told me there aren't many cats there, but she mentioned there are two pregnant cats. I asked her if she was planning to sterilise them and she said she can't because she's Buddhist. I told her we did have a sterilisation brochure and we had spoken with some Buddhists about this, but she said she wasn't sure she could do it.

I told her that while I understood, the worry is that there will be more complaints after this. She said that she wanted me to ask the complainant if he had a father or mother. I know what she's trying to say - but I told her the complainant probably sees these as pests and sees no correlation between his father and a cat. In fact, he'd probably get insulted.

It's important to try and figure out what we can do to minimise complaints. Are you going to have to bend over backwards sometime? Yes. Is it always strictly fair? Probably not - but it could save the cat's life.

People sometimes say that they don't complain about their neighbours and the things THEY do. I told the feeder on Friday for example who raised this point, she was most welcome to do so if there were things that irritated her, but she said she didn't want to. The fact is - people complain. You can either complain back (which could degenerate into tit for tating) or try and resolve the complaint. It doesn't mean of course that if you have a genuine complaint, you should keep quiet either if you have a genuine complaint, bring it up.

It would be ideal if no one complained and spoke to each other about problems - but that's not what happening. So let's work with what we have and try our best to resolve the problem if we can. If not, the cats are the ones who suffer - not us, not the complainants, not the TC.

At the same time, the officers and complainant should be reasonable and we should not hesitate to call them on it if they're not. After I wrote back to the officer to complain there were no details, she suggested that she 'guessed' the cats might be defecating in the void deck. I told her there was no pont 'guessing' if it was something completely different. She emailed a while ago to sya she called the complainant again. The complaint was about noise at night and defecation in the corridor upstairs. So how was this about someone 'keeping' cats in the void deck??


Blogger calsifer said...

No wonder you're upset. I got upset just reading.

I don't understand how being a Buddhist prevents the feeder from sterilising the cats, given the two possible outcome - overpopulation-culling-vacuumeffect vs stable-population.

It's the same rationale many Malays give.

Is there anyway to involve the religious representative bodies to say they support sterilisation in a louder, more affirmative manner?

On anonymous complaints, I like what you said about having to show proof to back up accusations against human car scratchers and the fact that anonymity is not the complainants' choice. It just makes no sense!

6/11/06 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It could be the 2 cats already in their very advance stage of pregnancy therefore the lady cited the religious reason. She could be thinking how can she possibly kills 8 little lives. We should not jump into any conclusions & make judgements.

6/11/06 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8 little lives (are these "lives" before birth?) may not live very long on the streets. It is not as if the kittens have homes waiting for them. They will probably be born, suffer and die - all in a matter of a few days. Yes, we shd not make judgement, just witness the suffering.

6/11/06 2:08 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I agree that some people have objections, religious or otherwise - but here's the thing, all those extra lives ARE going to cause a problem and may end up with all the cats being rounded up. Something must be done - for example, if she's against sterilisation, she has to come up with an alternative. Adoption, for example.

By telling me to tell the complainant that he should remember that he has a father or mother, is NOT going to prevent complaints, and this is BEFORE those kittens are even born. I am quite sure the complaints will get worse once they do. Then it's not going to just be 8 little lives - it's going to be all the cats in the area.

One way to prevent this? Get the cats sterilised BEFORE they get pregnant as far as possible.

6/11/06 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2 - No doubt sterilisation is the key solution but shouldn't we stop playing God all the time?

6/11/06 2:49 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hi last Anonymous - someone is always playing God. It's just a question of whom. The question is whom is putting the cats' best interests at heart. The complainant certainly won't. Neither will the TC and the idea of a TNRM programme is to control the population. The surest sign a programme is not working is kittens being born - a fact which the TC and complainant will be quick to point out.

6/11/06 2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The minute you feed a kitten, you are 'playing God'. You feed the kitten, the kitten could survive.
You are in control - if you do not feed it, it dies as it has come to depend on you for food.

6/11/06 11:20 PM  

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