Thursday, December 28, 2006

Asking early

One of the town councils wrote the day before Christmas Eve to say that a complainant had called them to say a cat had been going up and defecating for a while, and that this being the festive season she wanted to know what to do. I wrote back to the TC and said that while our volunteers were more than willing to help, they too wanted to have time to celebrate the festive season too. I said I would contact the complainant and the volunteer right after Christmas (which I did). The volunteer went down yesterday and could not find the cat complained of, nor did the people in the area see it the last few days. The officer wrote to say that the complainant (who told me someone is feeding the cats upstairs) said that she wanted the problem solved immediately.

Here's the thing I don't understand. I CAN understand people being frustrated. I can understand people wanting their houses to be nice and clean, especially during festive seasons, but why do they have to wait till the last possible moment to ask for help? Do volunteers not have a right to celebrate the festive season too? Since this is something that had been happening for a time, she surely could have come forward earlier. In addition, there would be a much better chance of solving the problem BY Christmas.

Our adoption volunteer also got a call two days ago. She was rather upset. A woman contacted her and said she had to get rid of a cat that she had picked up by noon the next day. The volunteer suggested several options to her - she would try her best to find a foster but needed more time (especially since it is the festive season and many people are away), boarding, holding the cat for a longer period, etc. The woman said that she was old and had asthma. She said she had asked around and none of the other volunteers in her area wanted to help her. Now the thing is, it turns out that she had the cat for a MONTH. In the first place, the adoption volunteer told me she asked the woman why she had picked the cat up. If you pick a cat up, you have to be prepared to hold it - not some other volunteer, not someone you know - YOU!

In addition, if she had taken active steps to get the cat adopted out, put up posters, sent in an adoption notice, etc, there would have been a better chance of getting it adopted out. Sitting and waiting for a month and asking friends to take the cat is not the most active way of adopting a cat out. If she had acted earlier, the cat would have a better chance of being adopted. The volunteer told her that in essence she would be sending the cat down to be killed. The woman told her apparently that she wasn't doing the sending - she had someone else to do it for her.


Blogger Mary said...

Hi Dawn, that means the cat had already been sent to the AVA to be killed!

28/12/06 12:10 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

The pre-Xmas christmas complainant is a classical example of the prevailing attiutude of leaving the "shit" for others to pick up, just like people who litter as there are always others to clean up. And the TC is again pandering to such demanding complainants and at the same time being unfair to resident-volunteers.
Why can't the complainant speak to the upstairs feeder? Why can't the complainant just clear the shit and put repellents there.
And TC has to "wake up their bloody idea" that resident-volunteers are not a troublesome lot who can be so bullied.
A friend of mine who lives in Tampines complaint of the problem of flyers glue-stick all over the block, including his electricity meter. TC officer said he was aware of the problem for "some time" but no action taken. TC officer didn't return a call on tuesday as "promised". So much for TC's efficiency, or lack of that is imposed on resident-volunteers? Surely this is discrimination.

28/12/06 1:22 PM  
Anonymous ej said...

The cat owner should have some consideration for volunteers and not demand instant service.Poor kitty send to death?

28/12/06 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in the first case mentioned - this complainant is likening the poor cat to discarded garbage or smthg. somebody come and collect and throw so my house can be pretty and clean for Christmas. doesn't she realise that she is sentencing the poor cat to death? and for what? i really don't get this kind of person. callous and downright cruel.

28/12/06 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in response to vegancats comment and some of the other posts in this blog, it really seems as if complaints agst cats attracts special and rather biased attention from many TCs. why is that so? is it because of some directive "from the top".

28/12/06 2:40 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

I think one of the reasons why some TC officers are upset over cat issues is that this is the only area where they are being defied, they are being challenged and they are given a "hard time" to do the way it has "always been done", i.e. just happily call the pest control people and "problem is solved", assuming that everyone has only short-term memory when the same problem recurs again. A volunteer in my estate spoke to a TC officer who was visibly upset that she couldn't carry out her jobs as "there are complaints about cats coming from the MPs and even the RCs", hence "a lot of stress on her!". She failed to see that it is not about where the complaints come from but that the KILLINGs have not resolved the complaints effectively. Such is the mentality of some TC officers who then put pressure on volunteer-residents.

28/12/06 2:53 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

I fail to understand why some people are so upset when any mess is attributed to cats when it is a human-mess galore everywhere we go..the minute we step out of our door. Yet only the cats have to pay the price of being killed for such complaints.

28/12/06 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but then, vegancat, how wld u explain the TC's lack of response to the poster complaint? they certainly didn't respond in a manner that can be called efficient by any stretch of imagination, nor did they call when they said they wld. doesn't this lapse of efficiency show them in a bad light? yet this particular complaint is obviously low on their list of priorities, whereas when a resident wants a cat removed by christmas, it is done post haste. i realise that these are 2 different TCs we are talking abt, but i do sense from the gist of the posts and comments on this blog that this seems to be the trend - the TCs responding remarkably quickly to cat complaints. Just wondering aloud why that is, that's all.

28/12/06 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people do not have the spirit of Christmas in them, lacking in social grace and a charitable heart. They will call you at midnight and demand the world should revolve around them.

I had a girlfriend like that and I dump her.

28/12/06 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TC officers can not cope with their jobs, best to hire animal welfare groups to manage the estate. They will do a better job, more creative and humane.

The HDB animal welfare social group. There will be less cats, less killing etc.

28/12/06 4:43 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Mary - I'm not actually sure if that's true. Quite often people call up and 'threaten' - ie if you don't take the cat now, I'm going to send it to be killed. Often it's a tactic to blackmail the person into taking the cat.

ej - no, the cat is still there. However the volunteer did not see it when she went down to check (TC has not taken any action). The officer is okay, but she is being pressurised by the complainant I think as well.

Anonymous - one thing may be that trapping is seen as a quick fix. For example, if the complainant has a problem, the TC can send down pest control, which is no sweat off their backs as they just call someone down. Should the complainant call to complain again (and again, and again often!), they can show that they 'did' something - ie they sent pest control to round up the cats. Whether this was effective or not, is not the point. How many complainants also would stop and think that trapping and removal is not effective and ask for a better method?

If it's too difficult to solve - ie if the cat is someone's HOME pet being allowed to wander, you'll notice that nothing much is done either in relation to that specific problem.

28/12/06 4:49 PM  
Blogger E_Cat said...

Hi Dawn,

One of my friend has taken the kitten. The friend just told me that she'll be fostering and not adopting so the poster should be on the CWS adoption bulletin soon.

28/12/06 4:53 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Thanks E_cat for the update. One thing that does disturb me about these cases is that usually someone will feel bad and take the cat which is obviously good for the cat - but reinforces the person's behaviour. In addition, there are lots of good fosters and volunteers who are equally in desperate situations, but are holding onto the cats anyway. In a sense, because they don't complain/threaten, they don't get their cats adopted out as quickly.

28/12/06 5:34 PM  
Anonymous ej said...

Dawn, good to know cat still there.

28/12/06 9:25 PM  
Anonymous yskat said...

What the town councils are doing for the cat complainants - pandering to their petty demands and protecting their identities - is contributing to fostering a "culture of complaining" which contradicts the government's agenda of promoting volunteerism and self-reliance. Perhaps those who write to their MPs can keep this in mind: the tc's handling of cat-related complaints often go against national interests. Of course, any tc office worth his/her salt will say that "but we are just doing a service". But their sernior management should be made aware of the unintended consequences of their so-called "service mentality".

29/12/06 1:48 PM  
Blogger Kayley said...

Hi Dawn. Its been a while since I visited your blog and things haven't changed one bit regarding the complaints eh?

Something to cheer you up: a friend of mine found a kitten at the Forum in my school and his friend kept it. Its grown pretty big according to him. One less homeless NUS kitty. Not that NUS has lots of them to begin with actually... =)

It tickles me when people complain about cats. I live opposite a park, where every single day without fail, a troupe of monkeys will appear on the slopes. They screech, they yell, they hiss and growl, they jump and rustle the trees until branches break. They invade the void deck because morons feed them daily with huge bags of food.

Isn't it the same thing? And yet, who is responsible for inviting them to invade? People. So the problem really lies in these feeders who insist on feeding metres away from the "Do Not Feed The Monkeys" sign.

Sigh.... People just don't learn.

29/12/06 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About feeding monkeys - why are the monkeys out in the open in search of food? Is there sufficient food in the ' forest ' to sustain them? If you don't feed, they will starve to death so those in charge of the forest or whatever must ensure sufficient food for the monkeys. Don't blamne the monkeys, don't rob their natural habitat and find out which group is in the monkey rescue group. I believe there is one group in Singapore.

30/12/06 9:56 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Actually if you ask the environmentalists who work with monkeys, they tell you the same thing- please don't feed them. Feeding them makes them over-reliant on people and often people feed them the wrong kind of food. Some of these monkeys get used to people feeding them and when the food is withheld, some of them may behave in a manner construed as aggressive. There is food available for them in the forests.

30/12/06 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think cats and monkeys are not that much different. If you feed, the number grows and that would attract the attention of people who do not like cats or monkeys.
Someone would inevitably complain and the cats/monkeys would be culled.
There used to be people feeding monkeys in Botanical Gardens years ago. I think the monkeys were "removed" somehow.

30/12/06 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Botanic gardens had monkeys once but the place, changes to the enviroment made it impossible for them to survive. Pity them, what do they have when their habitat been invaded by humans and I doubt there is sufficient food for them.

We need monkeys and hope we don't have to go to the zoo just to see them.

30/12/06 5:25 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous I don't think anyone is sterilising the monkeys in that sense, so their population may not be kept in check.

I agree it's very sad their environment is being changed but cats and monkeys are different in that the former live in our urban environment with us. Monkeys usually live in the forest, and undoubtedly have to learn to adapt when the situations change.

However there is still food deep in the forests, and when the monkeys are lured out by people feeding them, this makes them less likely to stay in and away from people.

For example, a few years ago I visited a beautiful island with wild horses. There were signs asking people not to feed the horses - and this was for the horses' sake. These were wild horses and when people started coming onto the island in cars and feeding the horses out the windows, the horses did not learn to be wary of cars. As a result, the horses ended up getting hit by cars sometimes as happened just before I visited.

30/12/06 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe monkeys are just like cats, given minus zero priority in nation building. The press has grown significantly but those in charge of cat matters have not.

Cats are still treated very badly -
outcasts worst than low class.

30/12/06 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monkeys deserve some peace in the forest, if we still have fragments of that. A friend of mine actually adopted a lost, baby monkey from Macritchie and they get along very well, like a member of the family. They have the monkey for more than 12 years.

30/12/06 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with people here is that they NEVER LISTEN....not even to BIG SIGN BOARDS. All they are interested is that "I want to feed. And what diffence is there that only 'I' feed."
It is our lack of concern for anything else except what "I WANT".
A nation of spoilt brats.
Sad but true.

30/12/06 6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Attitude of government bodies towards such "animal" issues is SHOOT to SOLVE, whether be they monkeys, dogs, cats or crows. Do we need to shoot a human to get people to be responsible for their actions?

30/12/06 6:50 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous - that's nice and I'm glad your friends' family was so responsible too. I've heard horror stories about animals that their owners did not expect to be so 'wild' and so the animals were dumped back. Often they don't survive the dumping - much like cats I suppose.

30/12/06 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are made to fear and hate cats,
like cats are noisy, spread diseases and wander all over the place hence not suitable as pets. These are bad lies been made to sound good.

30/12/06 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should see the faces of crow shooters, they are happy to shoot.
They behaved very badly, they would shout at whoever asked them questions and at one time, they left the crows with bullet injuries to die slowly under the hot sun. I shouted at them and later complained to the Gun Club. AVA authorised them for crow shooting.

30/12/06 10:15 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Good that you did that Anonymous.

30/12/06 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hearing stuff like that makes me sick but i know they probably do this kind of thing all the time because no one will bother to do anything about it. should complain to the newspapers AVA does not care at all

31/12/06 12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its a pity not all animals are cute and cuddly enough to elicit symphathy and only a few high profile cases of animal abuse ever get any media attention i sometimes wonder why i care at all if no one else does

31/12/06 12:33 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous - because if you (and other people) didn't care, then the problem would never get better. Abusers get away with it, precisely because people don't call them on it.

31/12/06 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The few high profile cases are due to the determination of animal caregivers working closely with journalists. The media folks are a very decent lot, they share the same anguish as caregivers and their articles help shape the tone of the nation.

If nobody cares, crimes will go unreported.

31/12/06 4:47 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

There are humane methods of keeping crows away. See "The Peoples Choice for Effective Bird Control."
Yet government depts choose killing as the default choice.
Perhaps this shooting crow is free practice for the shooters who are also paid for their "prizes".
We have to continue to verbalize that we are against killing when there are humane solutions available. Just don't give.

31/12/06 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you study the body language of crow shooters, you get the impression they are strutting their stuffs, holding rifles and dressed like cowboys, when they posed for photographs, they think they are some brave pioneers in frontierland.

Maybe killing crows give them some measure of adventure and manhood?
Whoever dies doesn;t matter.

1/1/07 4:26 PM  

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