Thursday, August 09, 2007

Tracking a lead

I had a most interesting evening. I got a call from a caregiver in this area and she told me that through a long and complicated set of phone calls from one person to another, arrangements had been made so that we could go down to one of the catteries where the cats might be. However she was told (I am not sure by whom) that tonight was the only time she could go, and if she didn't, the window of opportunity would be lost and we would not be able to retrieve the cats if they were there.

The caregiver was trying desperately to get hold of the feeder as the caregiver actually sterilised them but didn't feed though she could recognise them (and vice versa). However the feeder was not home and could not be contacted. The caregiver was also concerned about going on her own, as she did not know any of the people we were to meet personally. She said she would ask if I could come along.

Another caregiver called me up and said that we were to meet someone at a certain MRT station and this person would take us to the cattery. The caregiver and I agreed to meet there. When we got there, the person who was to take us there told us where we were to go. However she wasn't sure how to get there so I was navigating and driving which I think made her a bit nervous. The people we were to meet called a few times to check we were on the way - as it was a long drive, it took us a while. One of the people who called turned out to be a caregiver I knew.

The woman who was with us in the car said she had trapped in the location we mentioned on behalf of someone else. I know she has helped other caregivers trap cats for sterilisation. She said she had tried to raise the issue of not trapping the sterilised cats that were cared for to the person who was paying her to trap the cats. However she said she didn't have a choice as to which cat was caught. I told her that the problem was that people were very upset that their cats were caught and had disappeared and that if she was a caregiver I was sure she could understand that. She said that was why she was there to help. She said she hoped the people at the cattery would return the cat.

When we got there, we were let into the compound in the cattery. The woman who let us in was quite upset. She said that people were saying things about her. I pointed out that I didn't know whom she was, nor did I have any idea of whom I was going to meet or even where I was going till just shortly before. We looked around the compound. There were quite a number of cats and the area was clean and there was no smell. The woman told us that this was a once only opportunity and that this was her area and she could have the owner remove us in the future if we tried to come back. The caregiver I knew who was with her said that there was so much fuss over this. I told her of course there was because people were missing their cats.

I tried to take a photo to send to the caregiver who could not be informed in time but was told not to do so.

As the caregiver was busy checking the cats out (we weren't allowed into the actual cages but could see most of the cats), I explained that the caregivers were very worried and wondered what had happened to their cats and this was natural.

The caregiver I knew told me that people should be thanking their lucky stars that the cats were in a nice shelter where they were safe from the elements, complaints, etc. I told them that wasn't the point - no one had asked the caregivers or informed them. I asked what made them think the area they were originally from was unsafe. They insisted that it was common knowledge that cats there were trapped and asked if I could guarantee the cats would not be trapped. I said that the TC worked very closely with the caregiver and they could ask her for themselves as she was standing right there. One of the woman asked the other if this was true and the caregiver I knew said they would need to investigate.

I also asked the caregiver why her cats were not in the shelter if it was so ideal. I pointed out new cats would just move in due to the vacuum effect in the area.

The owner of the whole cattery came around and recognised me and we were told by the people whose compound it was, not to say too much as he wouldn't like it. We chatted for a while as well. He also mentioned that with some people moving so many cats in and out, diseases do spread.

The first woman said that people could come visit if their cats were there and they would have a good life. I kept telling the two women that it wasn't about whether the cats had a 'better' life - that's arguable too - but that no one had asked the caregivers what they thought. One said that the caregivers should take the cats back home if they liked them so much. I pointed out that new cats would move in and what would happen then? Would all the cats be taken in?

I also said that some people might genuinely be happy to send in some cats to a shelter - recently dumped cats for example - but that the main thing was to ask if it was okay and not just remove the cats.

We were unable to find any of the cats there and so we left the compound. The first woman had calmed down by this time and was much nicer towards the end of the visit. She said it was good of us to come and check. I told her that we had to - if there was a chance the cats might be there we wanted to know. She also asked for a reimbursement claim form for sterilisation which I gave her.

The caregiver who went with me to the cattery kindly gave a donation for our help. That was most kind of her. We're still not any closer to finding the cats though and that's frustrating.

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Anonymous macky said...

i heard frm a cat feeder auntie who said that ava will be doing a mass trapping of cats (sterilised or not) right aft national day. is this true?!!
btw, if an area has more than 10 cats, ava will trap even the sterilised ones, thats true too? & we've got to claim them each at a fee?
oh sigh!!

9/8/07 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope that is just a rumour... dont scare me =.=

9/8/07 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why after National Day - many ppl are on extended leave till Monday -many care-givers are at home. It does not make much sense to trap then. Why 'mass' trapping? That means employing more temporary stuff for no particular reason. Staff would be working OT too. Where would xxx put all these cats while waiting for care-givers to claim them? Frankly cannot see xxx (Govt dept) wanting to do more work.

9/8/07 11:28 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

And since AVA DOESN'T trap cats - I really don't think it's true. Do tell the aunty who told you that to tell you WHERE she heard it from and from WHOM so you can verify it. Passing you a rumour like that only makes people panic and is very unhelpful.

9/8/07 11:53 AM  
Blogger lingcat said...

The woman who trapped the cats is no different from pest controllers.

She isn't helping the cats and caregivers but removing cats from managed colonies. It is heartbreaking for caregivers to lose cats they cared for and love.

9/8/07 4:34 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

It really is - some of the caregivers have literally had sleepless nights over this.

9/8/07 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are led up the garden path - or so they think. The cats are probably housed elsewhere, all a charade. The women wanted you to see "how lucky the cats are" because they are feeling the pressure of being labelled "cat-nappers" and need to justify their actions.
How can anyone "nap" cats without telling the care-givers??
There are so many cats without care-givers - why not give those cats at risk a home?
I bet the owner of the pet farm will not be happy if he knows that his farm is being used as a show-piece where "napped" cats are supposed to be housed.
How long can the cats be housed before the cats are abandoned or moved from pet farm to pet farm -can they PAY for cats' lifetime?
Diseases spread easily in an area where there are many cats.

9/8/07 9:02 PM  
Blogger Surferket said...

Why are these people behaving like secret agents? They should really discriminate what cats they are trapping and removing.

What's so difficult to look for the tipped ear?

9/8/07 9:44 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I agree Anonymous - the owner is not going to be happy if cats taken away are housed there.

Anonymous - they KNOW the cats are sterilised. The people I met felt that they would have a safer, happier life in the farm.

9/8/07 10:36 PM  
Anonymous huh said...

AVA do trap and kill cats at AVA Pasir Panjang. I retrieved 3 sterilised cats and refused to pay for boarding and release. They came right in front of my house and lured the cat out from under my car.

Which part of Singapore the cats disappeared?

9/8/07 11:40 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

huh - you saw them come and trap your cat outside your house? When did this happen? How were you allowed to retrieve three sterilised cats by the way if you didn't pay for the boarding and release? Are you saying they came to trap the cats after that or before that?

I didn't say that the cats aren't killed at the AVA but the AVA does not usually trap cats - in fact, usually never. In one case where someone swore it was the AVA, we traced it down along with the person and found it was pest control,not the AVA.

Usually for private housing the AVA loans traps out but you need to do the trapping yourself - ie your neighbours need to trap the cats on their own, OR they can hire pest control. For HDB estates, it's usually pest control, but can be other contractors. The cats are then sent to the AVA.

10/8/07 1:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who has the means to house all the strays in SG? If no one can, then why remove a few cats, sterilised and managed by other care-givers? Why not other cats with no feeders? Why not unsterilised cats? The person behind this need to examine her motives and not cause grief to fellow care-givers (who may do things differently from her). What makes her think hers is the better solution? Just because she has money (for NOW) for a space in a pet farm does not mean she does as she like - with no consideration for other people's feelings. Can she pay to keep the cats in crowded enclosure for the next 10 years? What if she dies or go broke?

10/8/07 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why are these cat-nappers doing this? i know they want to give these community cats a "better life", but how do they decide which cats to take and from where? and how are they being funded? are the cats up for adoption or do these ppl intend to keep the cats themselves?

i am rather puzzled by their actions. it's one thg to go round "saving" cats which are in need - in unmanaged areas or abandoned kittens etc (and there are many of these), but why pick cats up that are already cared for? unless they didn't know abt the caregivers when they napped the cats. but now that they know abt the caregivers, wldn't it make sense to release the cats back to the caregivers and save the space for really needy cats? i don't get it.

10/8/07 10:10 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous - we couldn't find the cats at this particular shelter, but one of the caregivers has a feeder working with her who saw two women taking the cats away.

The people I met (whom I am not implying are the same women) said that they felt that they picked areas because they felt they were 'bad areas' even if there were caregivers. How they got their intelligence I don't know - and that's why rumours can be so destructive. If someone gets it into their head that an area is no good, they might decide to just take the cats back for their own 'safety'. I did notice that some of the cats there were sneezeing.

10/8/07 10:44 AM  
Anonymous belle said...

these cat-nappers-of-the-farm are really kaypoh, eh ... either that or they don't know about our managed colonies ?? could they be selling these cats to crooks for experiments, food, etc ?

10/8/07 1:55 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

belle - I'm not suggesting the women I met the other day were responsible for the catnapping one way or the other, but they did say that if sterilised managed cats end up with them, it's lucky for the cats. They know about managed colonies - one of them has her own colony and works with her TC.

As for selling them to a farm, no I don't think they are. They think that putting them in a farm is GOOD for the cats - ie better than living on the streets.

10/8/07 2:03 PM  
Anonymous huh said...

The point I am going to make is, AVA do trap cats. They go around private estate trapping cats and dogs.

I was in my garden one morning when I saw 2 men coming out of an AVA van using a net to catch a sterilised cat sleeping under my car.

I went to AVA and demanded the cat be returned as I am the caregiver.
For causing inconvenience to me, for their evil intention to destroy the cat, I was at a boiling point and subsequently, cat released without payment.

Previous incident involving AVA jumping into the drain to trap a sterilised cat as witnessed by my neighbour.

I went to AVA, retrieved the cat and found time to blast and engage the head of Culling department( they call it the Animal Welfare! ) for their inhumane policy of managing community cats and stray dogs.

10/8/07 8:30 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

huh - may I ask how long ago this was and whom you spoke to? Animal welfare and Animal Control (that loans out traps and sends them down) are aso different department.

We have dealt with many cases in private housing and I can tell you that the complainants complain to me that AVA won't come and trap and tell them to it on your own. So I'd really like to find out when this happened and why. In the cases we have dealt with, the traps are loaned and that's it - and unfortunately there have been quite a number. The cats are trapped by the residents themselves if they can be bothered.

11/8/07 12:31 AM  
Anonymous daffy said...

I was just wondering if putting a collar on a cat will lessen its chance of being trapped by ava or pest control?

11/8/07 4:07 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hi Daffy no it won't if pest control comes down. Again to the best of my knowledge AVA does not go down to trap cats for people - I am waiting to hear from huh about his or her experiences so we can look into it. Certainly the Animal Welfare department would not be even the ones loaning the traps out - Animal Welfare looks into abuse, abandonment, pet shops, etc. Animal Control does loan traps out but does not go down to specifically trap cats from what I understand.

11/8/07 4:22 PM  
Anonymous huh said...

Dawn, it happen one year ago. AVA loan my neighbour a cat trap.

AVA came with traps and caught 2 of the cats in my landed private estate.
You can confirm the fact that AVA provide men for trapping cats and have them killed at Pasir Panjang.

Madhaven is the head of the department for culling and animal control?

13/8/07 1:14 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

huh - ok that explains it. I spoke with someone from the AVA the other day and confirmed that they do NOT send people out to trap cats.

What they do though is send cat traps out and if the person there makes a fuss and points a cat out while delivering a trap, then they will make an attempt to trap it but this is usually not done as well. Again this is a bit of a case of people who make the most noise. They do not however go out and trap cats just because someone calls about a cat problem.

Mr Madhavan is the head of Animal Control, and not Animal Welfare.

As I mentioned, it's important to get the right information, otherwise sometimes people get all panicked and look for the wrong things - ie fleets of AVA vans coming down to trap the cats and thinking it's safe when the AVA van has left, when usually that's the point most people in private estates should start to worry.

In HDB estates of course this does not apply as AVA does no trapping in HDB estates.

By the way, did you speak with your neighbour about the trapping and why they decided to do this? If the neighbour stops complaining, then no more traps will be loaned of course - or if you can find anything irregular in the way the traps were loaned.

13/8/07 1:26 AM  
Anonymous huh said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

13/8/07 8:32 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

huh I'm removing that because that is potentially defamatory. I know they do NOT send out teams to trap cats - would you like to speak to the person I spoke with at AVA? I would be happy to clarify with Mr Madhavan as well and will do so tomorrow. As for the unfortunately quite a number of cases that I know of coming from private estates (besides yours), every cat was caught in a trap by the resident himself or herself.

Sorry to hear about your neighbour - one of the reasons that I know many people dislike cats in private estates is the tendency to sometimes defecate in their garden. This is why we have a number of solutions to try and keep cats out. Sometimes as well, people blame someone for feeding because they feel that the feeder brings the cats into the estate, which isn't true - but it does mean someone has to explain it to them.

13/8/07 11:17 PM  
Anonymous huh said...

Please clarify with Mr Madhavan, preferably in writing whether they have AVA culling teams going around in AVA vans catching cats for destruction.

I can prove to you 300% AVA came and TRAPPED the sterilised cats as witnessed by my neghbour and myself. Both cats were retrieved from Panjang office.

The cats did not defecate, cats wonder into their well landscaped garden a few times.

14/8/07 1:55 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

huh I've done that - and as I pointed out to you, it's not that I don't believe that they came into your area. However as I pointed out, there is a difference between trapping the cats while they are dropping off a trap because the person is complaining a lot (and again this I think is part of the disturbing mentality that if someone complains a lot more will be done) and sending out squads of people to trap cats. It seems as if your case probably fell under the former. However those are two quite different things which I am sure you can appreciate.

14/8/07 9:22 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

huh - by the way, yes some people don't like the cats walking into their garden as well. Did you offer them some solutions for that when you spoke with them? I know you've moved out but this is good to keep in mind because you might encounter this again wherever you have moved to.

14/8/07 9:32 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

huh - I got that email in writing.

14/8/07 7:25 PM  
Anonymous huh said...

AVA send culling teams to trap cats and dogs in privtae estates. They do it openly.

They loan traps and trap free roaming animals for culling. It's a fact, and if AVA denies it, I will write to the Minister.

15/8/07 4:32 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

huh please do since you are convinced. I'm sure we all want to know the truth and not just deal with say-so. If you give me YOUR details and when it happened to you, I can check your case specifically with the AVA and asked what happened.

15/8/07 9:32 AM  

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