Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dr Teo's reply

As I mentioned briefly in my entry yesterday, Dr Teo responded in the afternoon. His concern was that the community cats and dogs are causing a lot of nuisance in the town councils and hence they are aiming towards having 'no strays' for a better living environment so the residents can enjoy their lives.

He said that he felt that the source must be tackled - where are all the cats coming from and that without a comprehensive proposal, the TCs cannot support this programme. They feel that they are constrained by the HDB rules as well.

He felt that the AVA should be the right body to tackle the issue and they should be the ones deciding how to house and remove the community cats.

I agree with him in that the problem of how cats are being added into the environment has to be tackled at the root cause. Sterilised cats obviously do not breed and do not increase the population, so in a managed area, this isn't an issue. What IS an issue is abandonment - and I am very glad that the TCs feel the same way that the HDB rule is a hindrance. We have been bringing this up to the HDB many times but they have consistently said that they do not have this feedback from the town councils.

I feel that we all agree on the aims - not having cats on the streets. If one day every single cat had a loving home and there were no cats on the streets, who would be happier than the caregivers? I am sure that if we can work together we can also agree on the means to solve this situation and ensure the community cat population is managed.

The question is how to go about it. We KNOW killing doesn't work - it never has brought the population down, it costs a lot of money, it's short term and it's inhumane. Sterilisation does work - but only if the other factors are plugged.

Instead of the TCs seeing that this is an issue they deal with in isolation, what really needs to be done is get everyone involved - the AVA, the TC, the HDB, NEA and the caregivers to work out a solution. As it is, many caregivers are already working with their TCs to handle this problem. The different departments don't cannot view this as being not their problem - everyone has to chip in and do their part.

How? Change the HDB rule, promote sterilisation, stop selling pets in pet shops. That would be a good start.

One thing that I think Dr Teo may perhaps have overlooked is that cats and dogs in the estates bring a lot of joy to some people. While a minority dislike having them there, another group (also a minority) really like them being there. The rest don't care either way - but if it came down to it, wouldn't want them killed.

Just as I write this, another email came in from Dr Teo. He is arranging for us to meet the TC General Managers at their next meeting, which is great news. He says that he would like to get the other authorities involved as well. I am glad he reacted so quickly as well.

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21 Comments:

Blogger VeganCatsg said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24/5/07 10:10 AM  
Blogger VeganCatsg said...

This is a good start to have Mr Teo listening to all parties.
He might harbour the same misperception as many "civil servants" that "cat lovers" = "want more cats". We as volunteers certainly hope to see the day where there are NO cats on the streets as they are all safe in homes but we are against continuous killing as a means of achieving "no strays".

24/5/07 10:11 AM  
Anonymous furry said...

I don't like his reply on "aiming a no stray environment to provide a better environment for the residents to enjoy a better lives". This is a selfish thoughts that only human have the rights for a better environment. Shameful on our authorities. The garmen should not be campaigning for kindness week etc if they are so narrow minded!

Dawn, since Mr Teo is kind enough to arrange for such a meeting, is there a way to express such opinion to them that animals are also part of the environment. For a better living, more $$$ should be channelled to engaged more cleaners to clear the mess left by the human rather than culling the innocent animals.

24/5/07 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Homo---sapien said...

I think many of us dread a day when we see only our own species in the estate! ***shivers***
More litter, more spit, more noise, more bicycles!!

24/5/07 10:30 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I think Vegancat is right - there are probably a few misconceptions at work here. There is a general impression that 'cat lovers' as Vegancat pointed out, want MORE cats, when it's actually the opposite - everyone aims for the same thing, less cats in the estates and more cats in homes. The question is how to achieve it.

furry - we will certainly bring it up. Also I think the thing to work on is how to work, as you said, on the humans - ie how do we make people more responsible for their own actions? Then we won't even need more cleaners.

24/5/07 10:55 AM  
Anonymous furry said...

Dawn

When would the meeting be held? I would set to take pictures of the messes created by the human in my estate and send it to you to show these ppl.

24/5/07 11:52 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

furry - Monday actually though I haven't been told what time or where. We're working on a one-page flowchart/proposal (help may be needed again flowchart experts out there!) to present to them.

24/5/07 11:58 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Dawn, good luck on your discussion. Sterilisation and HDB lifting its ban is a must. i remember vegancat once pondered if he will live to see this day; frankly speaking, i hope too i will live to see this day-this day when our felines officially has a safe and responsible guardian/home to return to.

24/5/07 12:21 PM  
Anonymous flora said...

Would it be a good idea to write to Mr Teo at this point? So that at least before the meeting he knows there are actually many people out there who cares...

24/5/07 12:42 PM  
Anonymous belle said...

im one of those ppl who enjoy seeing community cats at void decks ... and the occassional stray dog from the worksites/factories ...

24/5/07 1:34 PM  
Blogger EJ. said...

Agreed with you Dawn, that stray cats and dogs does bring joy to many people. They should be treated with love,kindness,respect rather than a burden and nuisance to society.And they certainly deserved a home, if not at least a place to live safely in the community.

24/5/07 1:41 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Thanks everyone!

24/5/07 1:46 PM  
Anonymous belle said...

"aiming a no stray environment to provide a better environment for the residents to enjoy a better lives" ...........

furry, i agree with u that this is selfish & disrespectful of other living species esp dosmetic animals !!

if the govt/TC has any sense, they would work towards a 'no cockroach or mosquito environment' first, bcos these are harmful & cause diseases ...

and what abt those (human) neighbours that make excessive noise - like singing karaoke loudly, loud tv volume, undisciplined children screaming & running in the corridors - ? they are the ones who spoil the peace & tranquility in the neighbourhood ...

this s'pore govt has got something against cats, im sure of that ... :-(

24/5/07 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

belle, I'm quite the opposite. I'm one of those people who worries and feel sad when I see the stray cats and dogs in the streets or void decks. I always wish these stray animals have a loving home to have the comfortable and safe environment to live in. Don't get me wrong I believe they do have the right to live where they are presently but like vegancatsg, I "hope to see the day where there are NO cats/dogs on the streets as they are all safe in homes."

AF

24/5/07 1:49 PM  
Blogger EJ. said...

I would like to encourage Mr Teo to read this excellent blog and many other feeders and caregivers' blog. He will get to experience the love,caring,kindness,joy,anxiety,happiness,pains,sadness,hard work, dedications ........

24/5/07 2:01 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

AF - I think that everyone is in agreement really - we would all like to see every cat in a loving home eventually.

24/5/07 2:02 PM  
Anonymous belle said...

actually its quite pleasant living in the void deck ... i was playing with this sterilised cat juz now who lives on a windy void-deck ... she's fat & well-fed ...

then i think of my own cat cooped up in my flat, comfortable but restricted - safer, but i think he does miss the great outdoors ...

ofcos if every cat/dog (or every person for that matter) has a loving home, thats ideal, but real life often falls short ...

ppl who complain abt cats think of them as hungry & dirty ... maybe that was the case in the past, but now most cats have been sterilised & are being cared for ... i think alot s'poreans are not aware of this ...

24/5/07 2:05 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

You're right Belle - that's why I said that eventually we hope every cat will have a loving home, but that day is a long, long way off. And they DO live good lives in the community - if not I don't think any of us would be comfortable releasing them. I just saw some photos of very happy, community cats yesterday and it drove home the fact to me that to a lot of cats, they ARE home.

24/5/07 2:18 PM  
Anonymous x-man said...

Dr Teo is the MP for my estate.
I love him from his look although i never know him. He has the look of a kind man.

During the SARS period, a few MPs and ministers (VB, LSS & e v-short man) were in support of the stupid culling campaign.
Instead of supporting the culling, i still remember Dr Teo chose to say that 'cat lovers to bring the streets cats HOME..".
Dr Teo is a wise man.
He comments did not directly meaning 'killing the strays'.
Of course, there were outcries then pointing fingers to the stupid & stubborn & bias HDB policy which prohibits cats in their expensive pigeon homes.
But somehow, Dr Teo's comments kept him in a neutral position.
Somehow, i think Dr Teo does not wish to kill the cats or hurting the people who care and love them.

However, during the recent Voting, my friends and i chose not to vote for Dr Teo. We are angry and disappointed not because of him, but for the party he is working with. Lightning KILLS!
But i would be more than happy to work with him and his officers if their hearts are turned red instead of black.
Why breaks people's hearts to achieve material goals.

24/5/07 3:48 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

x-men, yes I remember that comment and I'm glad you think he looks to be a kind man. He just wrote again to say that he used to own animals too - and that he believes in responsible ownership, which we do as well!

24/5/07 5:21 PM  
Blogger VeganCatsg said...

This mentality of "killing" "pests" is so deeply ingrained into town councils that it is truly very challenging to change it. I am glad CWS is helping to take the brick wall dowwn, brick by brick. There are people in this island who want a society that is kind to our fellow animals as well. I think the way we treat animals is an index on how truly civilised we are. We keep saying animals encroch into our space but when i travel on the mrt and see swarms and swarms of human beings, i think it is the other way round! I think there are just too many of us and we take this stess out by hitting out on animals who can't "fight" back.

25/5/07 11:19 AM  

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