Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cleaners abusing cat?

I've been trying to find out more information about this case that happened over the weekend and that one of the caregivers drew my attention to. The caregiver met the witness at the vet. I managed to speak with the witness once when she called, but she had not left a number and did not call me back. The caregiver I know had her number and I managed to get her this morning.

What happened is that she saw some cleaners hitting one of the cats in the void deck with a plank. She said that they picked the cat up and put it in a sack. She ran after them and broke down crying, so they opened the sack, and the cat was covered in blood. She said that she took the cat and brought it to the vet, whereby the vet said that the cat was now blind and likely to be brain damaged as well. The witness said that the cat was pregnant.

Somehow the caregiver ended up taking the cat home, and the cat gave birth to two kittens on Sunday night.

I spoke to another caregiver in the area and she mentioned that she had been having problems with the new cleaners as well. She said that she often gave them a bit of money to thank them for helping to clean up as there were some dirty feeders in the area. However one of them came up and started demanding money every day. I told her that she should not feel obligated to give the money - and she told the cleaner the same thing and that she would report him to the Town Council if it went on. That stopped his demands, though she still gives him money twice a week. She said though, that she did want to keep on their good side as much as possible, as she did feel the feeders in the area could not be reasoned with (she had tried) and so they did have to clean up a mess. She said she noticed that they were rough with the cats, aiming their brooms at them, but if she gave them some money, they were noticeably nicer. I suggested this be brought up to the TC. She felt however she was comfortable with giving them a bit of 'coffee money'. She did feel that the abuse case should not go unpunished and that the TC's attention should be brought to the matter.

The witness had already made a police report over the weekend and is now waiting the vet report as the police need that as well.

On a side note, and to show how efficient the community cat caregiver network can be, somehow the caregiver in the area knew all the information when I spoke with her even though the witness had not told anyone about it. She did mention that someone had seen it happen.



Blogger jules said...

This is terrible and i hope the guilty cleaners do not get away with this act of abuse. I know a male caregiver in my area who also gives some "coffee money" to the cleaners but had some problems with a new cleaner threatening to harm the cats unless more money is given. Eventually, the matter was sorted out but the caregiver was on the brink of beating the new cleaner up which of course, I dissuaded him strongly against doing that! I advised him not to give money if possible but buy them food or drinks instead. The caregiver is reluctant to report this incident for fear of the matter being blown out of proportion and the community cats will be in danger. Dawn, just want to seek your opinion that if such a similar incident happen again, what would be the best course of action to take? Thanks in advance.

29/8/07 12:16 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

jules - I'm sorry to hear that. As you said, it is completely understandable that the caregiver is worried about reporting it. However, on the flip side, if nothing is done, there is nothing to stop the cleaner from taking the money AND continuing to abuse/hurt the cats. What you might want to do is to get good solid evidence - a tape recorded conversation perhaps, or even having a witness to the conversation and then bringing this to the TC's attention. I am sure the TC would not condone bribery and blackmail like this.

There are however caregivers who of course show their gratitude to the cleaners in the area through little means (and it doesn't need to be in money). I think if they do it out of gratitude for the cleaners going out of the way to help them that there isn't anything wrong with it of course.

29/8/07 12:36 PM  
Blogger VeganCatsg said...

I hope there will be publicity of this abuse so that it can be use do deter similar workers elsewhere. The targets must also be the estate contractors, including the supervisors who give the green light to these foreign workers to abuse the cats.

29/8/07 1:41 PM  
Anonymous no patience said...

Report to the police, show evidence of cruelty like blindness and brain damage due to cleaner using plank to hit the pregnant cat.

I give treats and cash as a reward not due to fear and extortion. Where is this block, please? If you have abusers in a particular area, the cats community needs to know or maybe CWS have have a list
of danger zones.

29/8/07 2:27 PM  
Blogger jules said...

Thanks, Dawn, for your advice :-) I will speak to the caregiver again and check if he still faces any recent problems with the cleaners. Yeah, I agree this abuse incident should be publicised to deter would be offenders in future.

29/8/07 5:15 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I just received an email saying two of the cleaners have been picked up for questioning.

no patience - I am extra wary now of stating areas because it's not only people who may dump cats there, people may decide it's a 'bad' area and start picking off sterilised cats in that area!

29/8/07 6:39 PM  
Blogger Surferket said...

Those who abused cats must be reported under the law. There cannot be 2 sets of laws; one for Sgers and another for foreign workers/cleaners.
Punishment is a better incentive for these workers to behave themselves than kopi money which is a form of bribery.

29/8/07 8:47 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I'm sure they won't be treated differently under the law - will speak with the caregiver tomorrow to see what's happening.

30/8/07 12:33 AM  
Anonymous yskat said...

Like vegancatsh, I hope this case can be made public. I often hear from caregivers about cleaners doing this or that to the cats but none of them ever want to voice their concern to the tc, police or MP. The result is that the "deeds" continue to be done, while the caregivers continue to sit around and whine.

30/8/07 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May I suggest something? From my knowledge these cleaners are mostly
1) lowly educated
2) ages are mainly old locals or young foreigners
3) Some could even be mentally disturbed hence the only job they have is as a cleaner. Why I say that? cos my cleaner is mentally disturbed.. he talks to himself loudly laughing and generally acting really nuts. However he is harmless so I personally just smile at him when he greets me good morning. Other residents are not so nice.

Hence my point is maybe they dont even have an understanding that what they are doing is wrong. To them it is very simple, my job? Clean. Cats? Equates to dirty surroundings as their food is all over the place. My supervisor say get rid. So I get rid of them.

They dont think so much into animal welfare, rights etc etc. And put it this way, they work really hard in a job that gets them despised, they really dont need the addition trouble of cat food lying around.

Hence firstly be responsible feeders and secondly establish a channel of communication with them. Letting them know Tom, Dick and Harry is under your charge, and you only feed at x y z place at what time and you will clear it up. Any problems please let you know. It might help better.

For the two cleaners that are picked up, they will most likely give the statement... I not wrong one.... I just doing my job, cleaning the estate mah.. For what is the difference between cleaning a rat and a cat?

30/8/07 4:47 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous I think there is a BIG difference - and that is that this cat was abused. I can see your argument that people dislike the cats and want them removed - I don't think most of the cleaners who agree with this would want to abuse the cat themselves. This cat was hit with a wooden plank - it has a split tongue and is now possibly brain damaged. That is violence - and should not be tolerated.

30/8/07 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi dawn, i'm sorry but i think i emailed you about cleaners like this before. how i saw one foreign worker smiling while stomping on a drain cover that had a cat underneath it. he was attempting to scare it away. but anyways, i did mention in that email that perhaps something should be done about some of these cleaners as well but you didnt think it was important and that it was better to just continue talking to the TC and the officers

30/8/07 9:35 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hi Anonymous - as I mentioned, I think there's a difference between abusing the cat and stomping to scare it away. It's not that I didn't think it was important, but as I mentioned to you I'm sure, I think it's more important to bring this up to the town council. As another Anonymous person mentioned, some of these cleaners do think the cats are a pest - and they want them to be removed as they may think it can make their job easier.

Now you can change that mindset by speaking with their bosses basically and asking the TC to speak with them. If the officer above them supports what you are doing, and speaks to the cleaner about making sure they work with you, you won't have a problem.

When people call and say they yell at the pest control for example for trapping their cats, I often tell them to save their energy and direct it to the right person - the TC who hires them. Speak reasonably and calmly to your TC about TNRM - the pest control is PAID to trap the cats so speaking to them is not going to help.

However, there is a big difference you must admit between stomping at the cat and trying to scare it away and hitting a cat till blood gushes out of its nose. That is abuse - and that should be stopped.

30/8/07 9:57 PM  
Anonymous no patience said...

No excuses for the 2 cruel cleaners, they could have just scare the cat away and not used violent force against the cat.

The cleaners must be punished with a jail sentence and be expelled from Singapore. Low education is no excuse.

The attacks on the cat was sudden and she had no idea now ( as she is brain dead ) what her life was before and unable to be a good mother to her 2 kittens.

31/8/07 12:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is anyone caring for the abused cat and the 2 kittens. the mother cat cannot nurse her babies, so sad.... will she be put to sleep.. i am so concerned.

31/8/07 12:42 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

no patience is right - I don't think someone who is lowly educated should be excused on that basis. I know caregivers who are lowly educated, and some of them are cleaners themselves - but they would never dream of hurting a cat. It's a question of right and wrong, not of educational status.

Anonymous - someone is looking after her. I don't think she is brain 'dead' but she probably does have serious issues.

31/8/07 4:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this case should be out in the papers. could there be any chance that maybe their superior told them to do that? as in a previous case which involved cleaners also(cant remember when it was tho)

31/8/07 2:40 PM  
Anonymous adl said...

why is this happening? i am ashamed to be living in the same world as these horrible freaks! i can't believe i am reading this and that there is not furore created over it. people's eyes just glaze over the headlines as if it were fiction. one can only wish that the perpetrators get their punsishment from god.

31/8/07 6:17 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I wasn't able to get hold of the witness - will keep trying. The cat is with a caregiver who is caring for it though.

31/8/07 7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dawn I am the anonymous who typed the long reply. As I said however worked up you and other cat lovers are, you got to understand. Cats are pests just like rats and other vermin to TC and some Singaporeans and many cleaners who are not as highly educated as you and dont have the time nor knowledge to know about animal rights. Many of them are from low income families and I believe have not recieve much of an education. Hence all your talk of cruelty to cats? Its up against a blank wall. I mean frankly if it was a rat, would you kick up the same big fuss? Honestly? I am not condoning the cleaners but just look at the whole case in a rational manner instead of crying abuse and all each time something happens. Piy the cleaners who lose their jobs because of complains that their areas are filled with cat food lying around. Instead of condemning them outright, why not as I said find out why, perhaps they dont even see anything wrong in what they did and to them it is not abuse, it is simply getting rid of the cat. Put it this way, does spraying insecticide on cockroaches, beating rats to death with a stick any less cruel?

1/9/07 4:08 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/9/07 10:55 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/9/07 10:55 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous - I certainly hope that if someone had seen them beating a rat up in a corner as viciously as this that someone would have reported them too.

This isn't about 'getting rid of the cat', this is about violence. It's not about low educational status or animal rights - it's about violence. Do you feel comfortable knowing that there is someone who does not think twice about hitting and beating something so hard that it starts bleeding from the head?

As I said, we know cleaners who themselves care for cats - to assume that just because you are lowly educated that you therefore have no concept of right and wrong is frankly pretty insulting to people with lower education. Yes we know cleaners who have tried to get 'rid of the cats' by say picking them up and dumping them somewhere else. But to beat a cat up so badly that it starts walking around in circles because it's got brain damage? That's something entirely different.

Let me give you another analogy. You could use the same arguments you used about rape. Some people would say that a woman asks for it, if she wears a short skirt - that maybe someone with lower educational status didn't understand it wasn't justified. No one ever asks for it - rape, just like abuse, is about one thing, and one thing only, violence. And that has to be stopped.

If we excuse everything just because of low educational status, then where do we draw the line? Maybe someone with low educational status didn't understand that murder was wrong, or theft, or any other crime. This IS a crime and a crime of violence at that - perhaps you feel comfortable knowing that someone who is capable of violence against a creature who cannot retaliate (unlike a person who can) is working in your estate. I know the witness who reported it is not frightened for herself and her son and that's for their own safety after witnessing what happened to the cat.

1/9/07 10:56 AM  
Blogger VeganCatsg said...

I have seen "lowly educated" foreign contract workers who were extremely kind to "pests" such as the cats. In fact because of the love of one Indian worker, sharing his curry rice with a black and white cat that he "innocently" called "Pussy", the cat became very docile that I decided to take her into a cattery for rehoming after the worker has to move to another estate. This cat is now well loved in an adopted family. It took a while before the cat, now called Cai-Lee, forgot her her acquired taste of curry food!

I have witnessed a pair twins whose parents are a dental surgeon and a lawyer, and both these boys were about 14 years old then being educated in a very famous school, abusing cats and dogs! They laughed their heads off with no sense of remorse after a reprimand. Rats and cockcroaches were not spared their sadism.

I agree with Dawn, that it is the act that arises from the lack of empathy for another being, that is of great concern.

True that we are being conditioned to view some creatures as vermins,but there is a difference between spraying insecticide on cockcroaches out of phobia and a wilful torture of a cockcroach by tearing out its parts bit by bit and laughing at the convulsion of the "vermin".

If we were to judge how this earth is currently being destroyed at an unprecedented pace in the history of MAN, I would say our own species are the biggest menacing vermins.

1/9/07 10:43 PM  
Anonymous unloved roach said...

Dear anonymous, your support for Mr. Hitler is admirable. Poor sod had only secondary education. We should not condone him but just look at the whole case in a rational manner instead of crying abuse and all each time a prisoner dies in a concentration camp. He could lose his job for crying out loud! Poor Adolf. He was just trying to do us a favor and clean up the gene pool. His momma may not have taught him not to kill jews, but he would have learnt that it was impolite to do so if he had just made it to university. Them cleaners just don't get no breaks from educated folk.

Anonymous, you are a breath of fresh air in this intolerant world. You view all acts of cruelty with equal and dispassionate objectivity. You are truly a zen master. You would react with the same lack of moral outrage whether a murder victim was your wife, child or some random dead person in the newspapers. Why should those close to you, who put their trust in you, and possibly depend on you for their safety and well-being, mean any more to you than some anonymous statistic in the newspaper? Your love for the world at large is very admirable. Why do something constructive for the ones close to your heart when you have unlimited resources and time to help everyone everywhere! I'm expecting great things from you anonymous. Don't let me down now.

2/9/07 10:37 PM  
Anonymous no patience said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/9/07 2:14 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

no patience - I took that out because we don't know if the rumour about Ghim Moh is true. If you have any facts to back it up then please do feel free to repost.

3/9/07 9:50 AM  

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