Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Removing cats to be placed in private estates

I just received a complaint that made me wonder if I ought to laugh or cry. The complainant claimed several things, including the fact that the cats were scaring residents with their sudden lunges from quiet corners. In addition, furballs were seen rolling/flying around the common areas - must be a huge cat to generate that much fur. I somehow have this image I cannot erase in my mind of a dusty Western town with tumbleweed blowing across the screen as the cowboy squints across the dust, and sees - a CAT! The cat lies in wait, waiting to lunge at him as giant furballs fly across the screen.

The complaint was sent in by Dr Teo who wanted to know if we could help. I wrote back to say that we'd be happy to look into it (and jokes aside, I would have been happy to go down and take a look), but that I didn't see how we could help with a no-stray policy.

He just replied to say that he would like us to arrange for adoption by cat lovers into their homes in private estates. I just replied to say that I was sorry all the people we knew in private estates were already full and that if he knew of anyone to please let us know as we were always on the lookout for people who want to adopt cats. I also said that we had an adoption board that we encouraged him to look at to see the large number of cats up for adoption and for which we were already looking for homes for.

During the meeting on Monday, he suggested that CWS should have a hotline which town councils can call every time they have a complaint so that the cats can be turned over to us. He said that the TCs might be able to support this by rounding up the cats, sending them to the AVA for sterilisation and then sending them to us to be rehomed or removed.

He had suggested then as well that they could go into private homes. We pointed out that the fact that the vast majority of Singaporeans live in HDB flats meant that there simply cannot be enough homes in the 15% of the population who happen to live in non-HDB estates. That's why we asked during the meeting if he would consider supporting our proposal to the HDB as well in terms of allowing cats to be rehomed into HDB flats for his policy of aggressive adoption, but unfortunately he was not prepared to do so.



Anonymous Truly fed-up-gahmen-stupidity said... the knowledge of DR Teo! And yet he thinks he knows enough to tell CWS what to do???
Where is the HUMILITY of asking advice from people who KNOW and then act truly intelligently!!
No wonder TC officers are not better!!

I think we better build a memorial for our cats and kiss our community cats good bye whenever we see them.

There is no future for them and there is no future for me to live here too.

Once the cats are all is time for me to move out too..

Disappointment is an understatement of I can say of this country where I was born.

30/5/07 6:01 PM  
Anonymous ck said...

Dr Teo's suggestion that cats should ideally be homed in private estates is so simplistic and naive that one wonders why we're paying top dollars and still getting monkeys doing the job! Pay them peanuts and they will still be spewing the same official gahmen lines! He contradicts himself and his suggestions are utterly unworkable and cannot be implemented successfully without the cooperation of the AVA, HBD and TCs.

And where does he get off telling asking CWS to provide a hotline for town councils? Does he not realize CWS is not NKF and cannot afford to hire full-time staff to man the phone lines?

30/5/07 6:43 PM  
Anonymous belle said...

this is stupid !

in every country of the world, there are stray animals ... though we hope as many as possible can find loving homes ... only in s'pore does a dumb policy like this take root ...

there can never be zero strays juz as there cannot be zero unemployment rate - this govt shd never come up with a 'no strays policy' ... instead, they shd be more patient & continue working with animal welfare goups ... and in a few years time - they will see results - stray animals decreasing NATURALLY ...

30/5/07 7:09 PM  
Anonymous belle said...

looks like the govt won't change their policy ... they expect us to walk on eggshells & tread meekly around their policies ... no sacred cows to the slaughter yet ...

blame this on those 'ugly singaporean' types for not having a compassionate heart towards animals & complaining, demanding & bulldozing their way thru life - so ironical, its vesak day tomorrow :-(

no doubt, the MP & TC officers are sick of hearing these complaints !

30/5/07 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put it this way, this Dr Teo is nice enough to help. But I beleive his hands are tied as HDB is under a more powerful ministry and he is not going to fight what he knows is a losing war. Besides he wont want to see his political career go down the drain. Imagine summoned to PM's office "Teo.. what is this thing I hear about you getting yourself invovled with some strays? Please dont waste the party's time... there are major issus to tackle.. you do want to be more than what you are now right??!!!"

Instead of fighting a fruitless war, fight it along the lines of what you can do instead of going for the impossible. No minister is going to change the way the govt is run and the way animals are treated not at least in our life time. Animals are just merely an obstacle in the road to modernization. To our govt, nothing is more important than a clean and modern Singapore and that means nothing except humans. Animals? They belong to the zoo.

30/5/07 7:29 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous - I agree, his hands may be tied, and he cannot change the policy. What I don't understand though is why not work with caregivers on a TNRM programme to reduce complaints? The two are not intertwined. It might not solve the problem but it would at least minimise it.

Removing the cats and sending them somewhere else though means new cats move in due to the vacuum effect, which Dr Teo agreed with.

30/5/07 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I see....clearing this little island for the coming 6.5million people that will be one huge zoo! The zoo will probably be demolished too to make way for more flats for the human animals.
Good luck fellow human animals, this is not one place i want to be alive to see!

30/5/07 7:36 PM  
Blogger Mezzo said...

Dawn - actually, I suspect that the "bundles of fur" that they're refering to may actually be dog hair.

Quite a few people prefer to brush their dogs outdoors, and the fur (undercoat fur) often comes off in clumps. Some idiot dog owners believe that once it's outside their house, the fur magically disintegrates.

30/5/07 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dawn frankly my gut feeling is that this Dr Teo is doing this on his own accord and not under the auspices of the govt. He might be trying to save as many cats as he can as he knows something we dont. I think the zero stray policy was not passed overnight but has been given much thought. If you noticed, many places have no more cats. My feeling is that the govt is really serious this time about clearing the streets of every single cat and no negoiations. Even TCs might be pressured to drop any TRNM plans, rather adopt a full scale culling plan. Reasoning being 2 options, trnm and wait for cats to die out or a one time massive cull island wide and let them die off in one go.

I beleive all this are kept under wraps for fear of some discontentment about public but the reasoning is not one of malice but health reasons. The moment the news came out Bird Flu was detected in cats, I knew cats are in for it. The various agencies are most likely adopting this measure to prevent a spread of bird flu from birds to humans. It might not be a correct move but it is typical of our Govt's "vision" to do something before the something happens.

Hopefully I am not correct in my analysis.... that Dr TEo and the TCs are not telling us the complete picture.

30/5/07 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Da Vinci TC code....
The mystery deepens....
And another undesirable "minority" that is also blamed for some incurable disease will also one by one vanishes...

30/5/07 8:14 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Mezzo - good point!

Anonymous I agree with you - I don't think he is doing this necessarily with the auspices of the government.

I do however disagree that the authorities are out to kill the cats or that he is trying to save them from what the authorities are doing. If that was the case, why would AVA approve a sterilisation programme (and agree to fund it!)and ask the TCs to endorse it in the last month?

In addition, I haven't seen any change in the TC policies since this 'no stray' policy meeting. I know of at least two other TCs where caregivers have met with since then and both TCs reiterated their stance to carry on with TNRM.

Plus I don't see more cats disappearing - at least not in estates that have caregivers.

30/5/07 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone see any big dome gas chambers constructed along pasir panjang road for the holocaust?

Hmm....Gahmen smart...just dig holes and throw gunny sacks of cats $$ and only need to pay Bangla $10 instead of $60 to pest controller...

Good news is....caregivers can then save up on TnrM, cat food and go on star cruises!

30/5/07 8:18 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I didn't - and I was at the AVA not too long ago if that's what you're referring to.The AVA has gone on record to say that the cats are killed by lethal injection. If you have any evidence of what you are saying, please do forward it so we can look into it.

What I think may be a reason that Dr Teo thinks TNRM may not work is a lack of caregivers in his estate. His TC has maybe one good caregiver I can think of. I spoke to a few the other day who were complaining about cats being caught, but none wanted to speak with their TC. They said there was no point. I don't know it is because the TC has a bad reputation that the feeders refuse to work with them, or that no feeders will work with the TC and hence it has a reputation for being difficult.

30/5/07 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adopting community cats to private estates? I can imagine another conversation : " Hey XXX, what's this about adopting cats to private estates heh? Hey, not where i live ok? Please move them to ...erh .. oh yes, opposition estates."

30/5/07 9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen people cutting each other hair along the common corridor. Can the big ball of hair be from humans ?

30/5/07 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually correction Dawn, if cats are deem as bird flu carriers and a mass cull is needed. The method used would be air tight bags in which the cats would be put in and then carbon dioxide pumped in. Death in a few minutes from suffocation. If our govt really puts their heart into it, they will really "get things done"

31/5/07 2:33 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous - are you aware of this because you have special information? It seems to me that that wouldn't work on several levels - one, how would one get a cat INTO this air tight bag? Two, a cat could claw out of a plastic bag in no time and three, it would really be a pretty time consuming method of doing it for each cat. Even during SARS, this was not done.

31/5/07 4:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dawn, i am probably very wrong, but it does sound like instead of helping the community cats, an inhumane way to cull cats is put forth as a possible solution. I am quite disturbed -maybe i don't read well.

31/5/07 10:45 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Well you're not the only one disturbed - right now it seems as if the only 'official' solution put forth is to remove the cats and put them somewhere else.

Having said that, I'm glad that the other TCs seem to continue to work with their caregivers.

31/5/07 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No I dont have special info and culling teams dont use normal off the shelf plastic bags that are scratchable... they are specially enfored to make sure nothing can scratch it's way out. Reasoning being the contents are considered as hazardous biological waste.I am just giving my guesses as to the direction of the govt in health control. To them curbing a risk to the population is more than making animal lovers happy. I would say watch the situation with care.

31/5/07 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Saltwetfish said...

Hi Dawn,

I feel sad, but not surprised everything I read about how little the government that we "voted" in care about things not within their agenda. But at least you managed to talk to them, even though they don't seem to have the ability to listen or change their minds.

I was thinking, honestly, the only way we all can make an effective change is to tied this up with votes. Yes, it does mean that we have to play politics. A lot of civil groups in other countries are tied to political lobbies and they have been effective in getting their votes counted.

Unfortunately, I think the situation in Singapore is that most civil societies, do not dare to put political pressure to the parties to move the agenda ahead. The problem is of course, nobody else is doing it, being the first one to do it means certain deaths. Hence, I think it is important that ALL animal and environmental groups come together as a cohesive civil group that is big enough to put pressure onto the government to actually make changes. We need to make the votes count and make them work hard for each votes, which clearly the government have not been doing.

Of course, I am not naive to note that it would be difficult to pressure the PAP if the opposition parties does not want those engagement and only cares about bread and butter issues (which seems to be the only thing that they ever fight for).

But at first, all the animal groups must have this will power to forget their disagreements and work together to form a more cohesive political pressure point. Then animal lovers like many of your readers can have the platform to add support to such pressure.

Kelvin Wong

31/5/07 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or ask Dr Teo to give us a land and we run the Feline World. People buy tickets to see cats that once roam the streets, pay for feeding, pay for snapshots.. sell it like an IR... see what the world says about us...

31/5/07 1:12 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous - what's the point of speculating if you have no special information? Of course everyone is watching with care, but why speculate about 'special' plastic bags (which again may just be more speculation)? Let's just keep calm and rational - this is how rumours that panic people get spread.

Anonymous - I like that, Feline World :)

31/5/07 1:15 PM  
Anonymous belle said...

the average person's life in singapore - :-)

1) can't drive cars - most expensive place in the world to own a car ... & most difficult driving-tests to pass ...

2) can't enter ANY local university with average grades (read yesterday's ST) ...

3) can't own pets (cats, big dogs) since 80% of us live in HDB flats ...

4) can't vote since most constituencies have walkovers ...

31/5/07 1:30 PM  
Anonymous ok said...

What's wrong with HDB estates that cats must be exiled to private estates or they be killed. We are proud of our cats and extremely ashamed of the barbaric ' no strays policy '.

So who are these demons in favour of causing suffering to the cats?
No wonder they can never understand the benefits of TNR programme.

31/5/07 10:47 PM  
Anonymous furry said...

I truly agree with ck that we are paying top dollars to the "monkeys" who has no brain. Why I add brackets to the word monkeys is because they are not even worthy when compare to any of the animals on earth. I really drop jaws at """"""Dr Teo""""""'s (more brackets) suggestions. Firstly, we can only adopt the cats to animals lovers and not to any people who live in private estates. Please ask him to get himself right.

I cannot wait for the next election to come...I am really going to put the questions of animals welfare to them this time round.

I was wondering whether is there a way to round up every animal lovers and arrange for a special meeting to see these stupid bunch to show them our power too.

1/6/07 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHERE is this ready market of private property dwellers willing to take in strays?

maybe THAT's what he knows that we don't!

1/6/07 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Local cats in private homes? You can count them on the fingers of one, ok lah two hands. With many big pedigree dogs about, there are few community cats around.
I have not known a single neighbour to have a local cat on my street - i have lived here 2 decades. Yes, an expat once had a black cat during their short stay.
So how do you intend to "sell" community cats to private home dwellers who are traditionally dog people? I don't think these ppl would care for dr teo's solution to solve TC so-called complaint problem ; ) Wait till they call up their minister neighbours and ask abt private estate cat adoption policy.

1/6/07 4:52 PM  
Anonymous long tail said...

HDB flats become massive memorial for slaughtered cats due to No strays policy. Either exile to private estates ( be killed by dogs )or enter gas chamber for lethal injections.

No brain, no heart. Let's fight for their survival.

1/6/07 5:47 PM  
Anonymous belle said...

anonymous - 'local cats in private homes ?'

yup, cats are ideal pets for apartment dwellers ...

1/6/07 6:05 PM  

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