Tuesday, November 21, 2006

HDB declined meeting

HDB just wrote back to say that they had just renewed the housing policy in July and hence did not wish to meet with us again.

I have written back to say that I hoped they would reconsider.

37 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought you were supposed to be on leave?

Marilyn

21/11/06 2:35 PM  
Anonymous imp said...

arrrgggh! *going up in flames* it's one of the most senseless, rigid policies i've ever known!

21/11/06 2:42 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

What a L.A.M.E. excuse! Grr

21/11/06 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Aminah Bee said...

Our cats staying in our HDB homes, as usual are considered illegal residents. Any complaints will get them an eviction notice anytime! Sigh!

21/11/06 3:29 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

HDB are simply avoiding this issue, coward!

21/11/06 3:58 PM  
Blogger iWooiBlog said...

HDB, or rather, all the officials working there just baffle me... why are cats not allow in flats? If dogs can, why not cats? I always thought dogs at least make a louder noise, if they bark non-stop, than cats? No offence, I like dogs too, but just pointing out a fact.

As long as cat owners are responsible and keep their house cats in, I really wonder what the BIG deal is.

I always stand by my very easy example, have a row of HDB flats, walk along the corridor, chances are you can guess which flat keeps a dog easily, if it barks, but it is less likely you can guess which flat keeps a cat.

I thought the Government is now more open to meetings, suggestions and feedback? What the HDB has just done is throwing itself back to the 70s...

How about trying to talk to a MP or something, not necessary link or directly related to this is what, Ministry of Development or something? Maybe we should try talking to those P65 MPs, the post-65 ones, they are supposed to be the new-gen MPs, maybe they will be more receptive to CWS?

We shouldn't give up on this "little setback", we should keep "fighting" for the "cause"...

Cheers

21/11/06 4:43 PM  
Blogger Salt * Wet * Fish said...

This is one reasons why I want more oppositions in the parliament, this will make the talk about listen to REALLY listening and transparency, not just "talking about listening".

This is also why civil groups must come together to act as political pressure points, especially during elections. In Singapore, most civil groups are too scared of PAP, its a sad truth.

21/11/06 5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greed. Build and build without regard for animals no wonder the python had no food and no where to go. Property developers should give something back to nature.
HDB hasn't reach that stage of ' wholesomeness' yet, pray someday, someone in politics able to guide HDB and AVA to new moral heights.

more than a cat feeder

21/11/06 5:53 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Marilyn - yes I am :) but I'm still checking email and calling people if need be.

But yes, we're not giving up, though this is the third meeting we're asking for (and coincidentally the third proposal we've written).

We think it is especially important to tackle this issue now, in light of the fact of abandonment. Legitimising and making owning of cats legal is important - both to protect people who are responsible,and to have options when people who are irresponsible own cats. Right now we have a lot of the latter doing what they like, and the former are always looking over their shoulders.

21/11/06 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fearful people live to collect their monthly pay checks. Visionary people change the course of history by building a better world. Hurray to Dawn and all who are against cats being treated as outlaws. Cats are valuable members of our family, they shouldn't be kept out of the house.

21/11/06 9:38 PM  
Blogger iWooiBlog said...

What can we do to help, push this new policy to be change and approve by the dinosaur HDB? No wonder the dinosaurs are extinct.

A joint-signature letter? A signed petition? Or individual letters to the HDB and the press?

I think, it is high time we stand up and start asking HDB this question, seriously. I just read the 'no cat policy' on HDB webpage, it is really a bunch of crap, what cats are noctournal so they will shed, creating public nuisance etc etc...? How they derive one point to another? Even a non-lawyer (no offense to lawyers) can easily rebutt those policies point by point...

Cheers

22/11/06 1:41 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

22/11/06 5:07 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Do write in - we keep hearing as well that people do NOT want to keep cats in flats, which as far as we know is untrue.

22/11/06 5:09 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Yes - cats ARE part of our families and having them not be treated as such is really sad.

22/11/06 5:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we do write in, are we putting ourselves at risk of telling them we have cats in the house? I am just worried they might come and take away my cats :(

22/11/06 12:54 PM  
Blogger iWooiBlog said...

I have the same exact concerns too, I have my cat now... would they "blacklist" me?

But even when my friend adpots cats from the SPCA, filling up all those forms etc, SPCA knows my friend stays in a flat and they didn't say anything, besides the usual "you must be repsonsible etc" stuffs, but none the HDB policies stuff... so what does that mean?

I think my feeling about this is that HDB knows a lot of people keep cats in their flats... they just close their big huge eye, but when "trouble" starts, nuisance and complains from neighbours etc, then they act super quick and fast...

That's the non-garantee and insecurity we cat owners and flat dwellers have right now.

22/11/06 3:40 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I really doubt they have the manpower to catch everyone Anonymous as Iwooiblog pointed out, so many people already have cats. I think they just close their eyes to the whole thing.

Unfortunately though, if cat owners are worried and don't speak up, it leads to the next problem, which is that they can claim that no one wants cats. Sigh.

22/11/06 9:49 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

I think if many of us write in, they will be overwhelmed. I doubt our gahmen is that horrible to persecute people for owning up they have cats!
What Dawn said is true. If we don't find the courage to speak out, things will never change!

23/11/06 12:15 AM  
Blogger iWooiBlog said...

vegancat, I agree with you. If we all cat lovers and cat owners of HDB dwellers just start writing in to the HDB... I am sure they "have to do something" instead of just ignoring it.

In fact, I have written one in through their website feedback, but I am going to do it more, maybe by sending in a snail mail, I am also thinking of writing to the ST Forum as well, saying 'time HDB re-look and revise their no-cat policy'. I am also thinking of dropping this issue as a comment or note on the P65 Blog site, yeap, they have their own blog page.

It really is about time we stand up and say something, at the very least, I am doing this for my cat :-)

Cheers

23/11/06 1:31 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Thanks everyone. At some point I am sure someone will listen!

23/11/06 2:26 AM  
Blogger vegancat said...

Be prepared for a template reply to your emails. Read HDB's chronic misconception of cats to reply to HDB's template-response.

23/11/06 2:52 PM  
Blogger iWooiBlog said...

Like what vegancat has told me, this is the template response I got from HDB, actually it's an official from my branch, he called me first but as I was heading out for lunch, I told him to email me:

We refer to your e-mail and our conversation today.

The current policy does not allow cats to be kept in HDB flats.

HDB is aware that there are cat lovers who feel strongly that
cats should be allowed in HDB flats.  However, there are many HDB residents
who do not like cats and are strongly against allowing cats in HDB
flats.  HDB receives numerous complaints from residents about cats in spite
of our prohibition.  As the public housing authority, HDB has to consider
the sentiments of the HDB residents in setting its policies.

We thank you for your feedback on this issue.


It is the SAME TEMPLATE reply vegancat has provided in a link above this post. That link provides a reply from a NewPaper posting, it is "horrandous" as it is actually a COMBINATION of their official cat policy on their webpage and the reply given to me above!

I am going to try and try again and email and rebut and reply him point by point.

"Fight On"...

Cheers

23/11/06 5:05 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

I hope HDB will appoint officers who are receptive (without "overflowing cups") to have an open dialogue with CWS as well as volunteers from all over Singapore who are responding to the Government's repeated calls to be proactive in the management of the country and now MND asks HDB estates to vocalize on the theme for their estates.
I would say most Singaporeans still display apathy in such proactive approach as indicated by the rising littering problem here. So I think the Government must recognise and treasure this rare volunteerism trait and not "cull" it with dogmatic irrational template responses, not to mention they are an insult to the "intelligence of the residents who write in." HDB residents are longer the "illiterate" cohorts as in the early history of HDB.
Abandonment has not been resolved with prohibition. If the anti-cat rule is changed to something like...if the cat/s are found within your flat within..say a period of time..it is "YOUR" cats in the eye of the law and you must then comply with regulations like sterilization, keeping them indoors, etc. Throwing out the cats as is being currently done when TC refers problem of house-cats to HDB, with owners disclaiming the cats belong to them, will then have the law of abandonment slammed on them.

We have to stress to HDB that volunteers too share the vision of a reduction of cats and therefore a reduction of complaints. HDB residents by and large are not interested if their neighbours have cats or not. They only notice cats when they are bothered by defecation at their corridors or cats on their cars. How many people will write to HDB to say they do not want cats..period?
We want to work with HDB on effective measures on a common goal. Perhaps HDB harbours a mis-perception that volunteers are obessive-compulsive cat lovers who want to see Singapore invaded by cats! I, for one, will be very happy to see fewer cats in my estate but all well taken care of and well loved by most people. I would want my estate's theme to be ..Cats are SAFE here.
But i disagree with the current method of killing to reduce the number.

23/11/06 8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason why HDB still refuses to allow cats is simple.

Generally people who keep dogs as pets, wouldn't allow their dog to roam around the block without supervision.

But there are too many owners of cats, that allow their cats to roam around the block without supervision, because of this, these cats may pee outside neighbours gates or enter neighbour's house causing problems.

Imagine a whole flatful of people keeping cats, and allowing their cats to roam, these cats are going to territorial. I used to have stray cat come up my gate to fight with my cat, and I have never fed these strays, somehow they sense I kept cats and love coming up to my gate and hissing at my resident cat. My resident cat is also only strictly indoors. See..., things like that beyond our control.

It is not the cat's fault, but unfortunately, thanks to these irresponsible owners, HDB is never going to allow cats, they do not want the additional trouble of babysitting these irresponsible cat owners.

What to do...???? *sighs*

I think we need to lobby for a law to make it illegal for cat owners to allow their cats to roam without supervision.

Also, we need a law to make sterilisation compulsary for all cat owners, unless they are licensed registered breeders.

But how to get all these started?

23/11/06 9:57 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Interesting thoughts everyone. Anonymous i agree - the HDB is worried about problems that may arise,and I fully agree that there are irresponsible owners out. i think however that this is why is is even more important to have a law allowing cats but spelling out the penalties if you let them wander. Right now, the law actually encourages allowing them to walk around.

For example, a responsible owner like yourself is liable to be fined or even evicted if you are found to have a cat. However your neighbours who let their cats walk around are liable for absolutely nothing. It's not illegal because the cats are not in their flats. Many don't care if the cats are caught - they'll just go take a new one. So who suffers here? The neighbours who are subject to problems of defecation as Vegancat said and responsible owner.

24/11/06 12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dawn, but do you know were is the right channel to lobby for those laws I proposed?

I don't think HDB is the right channel, got to be someone higher, the law has to apply to the whole country and not just HDB flats.

24/11/06 3:21 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous, you mean about mandatory sterilisation? To be honest, there have been arguments against it because again it's hard to enforce. Plus there is no license to breed - so technically anyone can say they want to do it for 'breeding'. I think it might be hard to enforce it.

24/11/06 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True, It's hard to enforce on the owners, but they can make it compulsary for pet shops who sells dogs and cats, to make sure their animals for sale are sterilised before they can sell it. And anybody caught selling a dog or a cat which is not sterilised, will just have to be fined.

That is a pretty simple straightforward thing, not much manpower on their part, except to make it official. Pet shops will just have to add in sterilisation costs to their sale of pets.

Anyway, the more expensive animals are, the higher chances of them being treasured and not easily thrown away.

Maybe to keep it simple, for someone to be allowed to keep unsterilised animals should be required to have a CFA breeder license or something for example.

At least it's a start. All animal shelters insist on sterilising anyway, so that area is covered.

Also, I'm not sure about dogs, but I'm 100% sure cats can be sterilised as young as 3 mths because I recently had my baby done at that age.

Also to make it law that it is against the law to allow your animal out unattended. Yet again, no manpower need, like littering, just a fine, anybody can report.

I honestly think that before cats can be allowed in HDB, HDB needs some official laws implemented to help them first, then it would be easier for them to allow cats and solve irresponsible pet owners problems.

So instead of focusing on HDB, which is the other department we can write to suggest these things? The one with the power??

24/11/06 5:47 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I like your idea about all pet shops sterilising. I did speak with an AVA official about this once though, and they said it was unlikely to happen since people should be free to breed their animals, no matter what breed they are. I was asking about people who breed their cats and try and sell them from their home - apparently unless they do it 'commercially', it's not wrong because there is a feeling that people should be allowed to do what they want. Perhaps you can write in to AVA on this matter.

I feel though that it might actually be easier to enforce this as an HDB rule - ie if the feeling is that it isn't right to curb everyone from breeding, then HDB, as landlord, can impose it as a condition of the lease.

By the way, which vet did your cat at three months? We've been looking around for vets to do cats earlier than they've been currently doing them.

24/11/06 11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, I shall try writing to AVA, see what they reply.

My cat was done at Mount Pleasant, Sembawang branch, but need special contact. Basically Jacy of Pet Tales has special agreement with the vet there to have her cats sterilised at 3 months old. So she got mine done for me.

Difficult situation huh? People should be free to breed, and yet free to abandon too, there's just something so flaw about all that.

25/11/06 8:57 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

You're right Anonymous.

25/11/06 11:08 PM  
Anonymous d said...

Hmm, read my comments on the Friday 24 Nov. post "Inconvenient."

Btw Dawn, I'm almost certain that Mt Pleasant (West) at Sunset Way also sterilises earlier than 6 months.

27/11/06 1:54 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I did - well said!

27/11/06 3:18 AM  
Anonymous Elaine Jung said...

What a big joke all these years by HDB, cats not allowed in HDB? Allowed big dogs but not cats!

29/11/06 7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“How cats, the most popular pet in the United States, climbed to the top”
Cats outnumber dogs — 59 million to 52.9 million — in U.S. households, and nearly 60 percent of U.S. households include one or more cats. A recent American Veterinary Medical Association report shows this percentage is on the rise.

Cats are finding their niche as therapy animals, especially at centers for elderly or terminally ill patients, says Linda Hines, president of The Delta Society, an organization based in Renton, Wash., that promotes animals helping people improve their health, independence and quality of life.

"We've seen a very definite increase in the number of cats registered in our national pet-partnership program," says Hines, whose home includes a pair of cats named Phoenix and Pandora. "At nursing homes, therapy cats help people practice their fine motor skills by buckling a cat's collar or grooming a cat. In most cases, cats are less intrusive than dogs and are willing to sit in a lap and be gently petted."

Hector Castaner, a social worker in Miami, credits his cats — Buster, Flashback, Flame and his most recent adoptee Stormy — for restoring his zest for life after a divorce and a diabetes diagnoses. "I give them trust and they give me friendship," Castaner says. He trained them to be therapy cats who provide their services at hospitals, nursing homes and schools in South Florida.

"My cats teach me to be calm, to be relaxed. If I feel desperate or nervous, I will just sit with my cats, petting them and talking to them and they calm me," Castaner says.

1/12/06 11:59 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Great article!

1/12/06 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Copy this from msn
http://www.todayonline.com/articles/158524.asp

When proposed amendments to the Penal Code were announced last month, the Ministry of Home Affairs explained that Article 377A would remain unchanged because "Singapore remains, by and large, a conservative society" and "many do not tolerate homosexuality".


FB********: [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ID: ******] - CATS AS PETS IN HDB
FLATS

I refer to your email to the Feedback Unit of the Ministry
of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

2 HDB has the policy of not allowing cats to be kept in HDB flats.
Cats, being nomadic in nature, are difficult to be confined within the
flat, resulting in problems such as shedding of fur, noise disturbance and
defecation/urination in public areas, which will affect the external
environment and neighbourliness in our housing estates.

3 Despite the current prohibition on cats in HDB flats, HDB has
been receiving numerous complaints from residents on cat-related problems
and nuisances. The existing policy is therefore necessary as HDB's
foremost priority is to promote a pleasant living environment and good
relationship for all residents in our housing estates.


Regards,

(signed in Lotus Notes)
******* (various officers)

5/12/06 9:55 AM  

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