Friday, November 10, 2006

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very irresponsible. This lady seems to want to keep cats but do not want to feed them properly or sterilise them. I am wondering if they are getting proper medical care. Unfortunately in Singapore, I am not sure if this is really grounds for prosecution. Is it really a clear cut case of abuse?

To us it is, but it might not be so to the authorities. If that's the case, she might not be prosecuted. I wonder what we can do in such a situation?


10/11/06 11:53 AM  
Anonymous rachel said...

I also wonder how do we prove abandonment. If the cats are not microchipped (which is very likely for irresponsible owners) in the first place, how do we prove that those are her cats? Even if you manage to take a picture of the cats, it still does not prove ownership because she can always say that the cats happen to just walk into her house.

10/11/06 11:59 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Marilyn - depriving them of sufficient food and water is against the law. It is arguable not sending them to the vet may be as well though that is harder to show.

Rachel - you're right, it's harder to prove, but say the neighbours and the caregiver can say the cats are always inside, a case may be made for it. That's why we are really hoping HDB will change their law - it makes it REALLY hard to prosecute people.

10/11/06 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is frankly not new.... if one goes to local pet forums, we have people home breeding their predigree cats or asking for another predigree cat so as to "experiment" the outcome of a ragdoll and a persian for example or wanting to breed his cat because he is afraid the cat will be gay.... Really really makes u wonder are this people idiots or what!!

10/11/06 1:31 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous - in this case they're nt pedigree cats. I think they just can't be bothered to get them sterilised, but you're right, sadly there's nothing new about it. It's a long occuring problem.

10/11/06 1:35 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

Actually, imo, if sterilisation can be legislated at source - ie petshops, breeders, and the onus on them to ensure sterilisation if the cats they're selling are not of age when sold, it would alleviate a lot of the problems by stemming the flood.

10/11/06 2:25 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

It would certainly help!

10/11/06 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Few people I knew are keeping dozens of cats at home and not sterilising them. They said they simply separate the tom cats from the female ones! Insane.

10/11/06 3:21 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Any idea why they won't do it?

10/11/06 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although the husband has a job, but what if he doesn't want to pay for the sterilisations? He might be a low-income earner and already feeding a big family!

There are people who cannot sterilise their cats for personal reasons such as religions.

10/11/06 4:22 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

Having pets entails responsilibity - sterilisation is part of that responsibility.

If the excuse these people have for not sterilising is they already got big family, the question is then why in the first place take on pets, which adds to the financial burden? It is no kindness to have pets and then not provide basics like adequeate food and water, and healthcare. Jsut like having children, if they are not prepared to provide, they sohuld not have pets because the pets will be dependent on them.

Religion should be a prime reason for sterilisation, not against. Which religion doesn't encourage kindness? CWS website has a list of quotes from religious bodies IN SUPPORT of sterilisation.

10/11/06 5:14 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Yes Anonymous - which religions?

And I agree with Calsifer. You pick up a cat and choose to keep it, you're responsible for it. The caregiver told me the house is very nicely renovated so she doesn't think money is an issue.

10/11/06 5:25 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

To add on, if financial issues is the excuse for not sterilising, it makes evne less sense: sterilise cats, stop endless rounds of kitten births, stop the population growth, less cats to feed, less money needed to feed them!

10/11/06 9:22 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Yes exactly.

10/11/06 11:08 PM  

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