Helping irresponsible owners?
I just spoke with a caregiver who is telling me about a woman with a number of cats in her flat which she will not sterilise. She says she had done some for the woman, but there are more cats and the woman will not pay a cent. I asked if they were in financial problems, but she said the flat looked very well renovated and the husband definitely held down a job.
I understand the woman's concern and that the woman may dump her cats. However I told her that our priority is to help community cats - after all, caregivers are doing a community service by helping to control the population. Moreoever, these are the woman's PET cats - they are her responsibility and she should be looking after them and getting them sterilised. There are finite funds and so our funds need to go towards helping community cat caregivers, rather than people who do not want to sterilise their own cats. Also, and very unfortunately, there are a number of these people out there - so whom do we pick? Why this woman and no other?
Furthermore, what sort of message does this send out to pet owners too? If you are irresponsible, then we'll pay for your sterilisation? Responsible cat owners are going to feel cheated - if they are good owners, look after their cats, etc, they in fact have to PAY, whereas people who don't want to pay have their cats' medical needs looked after. How is this fair?
I told the caregiver the best thing to do is to try and take photos of the cats so they can be identified when dumped. She says that the problem is that the woman never opens the doors and windows. I also asked how to prevent her from taking more cats. The cats are also not fed properly and are very skinny from what she can see. The woman allegedly told the caregiver's domestic help that if they did not have enough food, the cats would just die. I told the caregiver this was a case of abuse and that she should be reported. I also told her that we'd like to go down and have a word with her. The caregiver warned me that she will not open the door - in which case I asked how we're supposed to get her to hand the cats over for sterilisation. She agreed to get her address.
She told me someone else in her area recently dumped some cats. The person admitted it. I told her she should file a police report. She said that she was worried as the person lived nearby and she might get into trouble. I can sympathise with that. I told her however that this person might do it again. She said the man is likely to go and take more cats home and then dump them again when they are older. I asked how we can then stop people like them if there are no consequences to their actions.
If one person is caught for abandonment, this will set a precedent - and other people will think twice before doing it. She said she will think it over.