Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Discussion with caregivers

There was a meeting of the caregivers in the estate where this case occurred. Michelle and I were invited to attend as well - we wanted to be sure that the residents wanted us to be there and so we asked the resident organising it to ensure that the caregivers be asked if they wished us to attend. They did and so we were happy to turn up.

I was surprised at how many people turned up even though the meeting was only called at the last minute, which goes to show how strongly people feel about this. Still 9 or 10 people (including the witness who was very quiet and left early) turned up and some others sent SMSes and emails stating what they wanted to convey. The unhappy feeder did not turn up.

When I arrived one of the residents was arguing strongly for going to the police. Her point, which is understandable, was that no one is above the law, and that the officer should not be excused just because he is a town council officer.

We pointed out that CWS were only there as facilitators and mediators. The residents were to decide themselves what they wanted to do because this was their estate and their cats. However we did urge them to work together and not break up the group because it's important to work together and not have separate camps doing as they please. I was very happy to hear that there was agreement on this from the people present (and the other people who took the time to SMS and email).

In the end the group decided that they would request for an apology from the officer in charge because while the TC had apologised (and they appreciated this), none of them thought the TC was behind this or was to blame. As such, they wanted an apology from the person who they felt had acted on his own. They also asked that a warning letter be issued to the officer and that the town council write a letter to say that the TC would warn all officers that this behaviour is unacceptable and would not be allowed to happen again, and that only licensed pest control be used in the future.

I'm glad that the group was able to talk it out and settle their differences. I do hope that the others who did not make it however (and did not respond to the emails and SMSes sent out amongst themselves) will also abide by what was agreed upon.

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