Friday, August 31, 2007

At the new warehouse


At the new warehouse
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Corbie, Jacin and Rebecca hard at work at the new warehouse. We have a much smaller space (only a portion of this is ours!) so we had to squeeze and throw some stuff out. Thanks to everyone who helped out, including the volunteer who helped to transport all the boxes up and to the two guys who helped us to transport all the merchandise at a cheaper rate than they usually would charge!

On our way out, we tried to leave some stuff at the dumpster but didn't see it and some workers came up and told Corbie and Jacin it was against the building's bylaws to leave the trash there and asked for money. I spoke with the woman whose husband we were renting from and she didn't think that there was such a bylaw but she wasn't very sure and we didn't want to get her into trouble so we paid them $10 that they asked for to remove the stuff. As we we were driving off, we realised they had drawn the shutter down on the garbage room which was out in the back - and that's why we hadn't been able to see it!

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Plastic Paradise


Plastic Paradise
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Just came back from Toyogo, which my neighbour calls the Plastic Paradise, and bought a whole bunch of boxes so that we can move (and store) the rest of the stuff today.

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Containers

Heading down now to buy lots more containers to help us move today.

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Checking before adopting the cat

I just spoke with a woman who called for the first time yesterday about her cat being adopted out. Apparently she adopted the cat out two days ago, and felt something was wrong. She asked for the cat back yesterday but the woman who adopted the cat out was unable to meet. The adopter asked if she could return the cat this morning instead. The foster went down to the home and said she was standing there looking at the balcony where they said the cat was being kept and she could not see it, so she got worried and called me.

The foster called me in a panic. The cat had been posted on another website (not CWS) and that is how she got to know the potential adopters. She had not signed a trial agreement nor an adoption contract but she wanted to know what her recourse was if they did not want to return the cat. Frankly it would be difficult to prove because she willingly handed the cat over in the first place.

The cat was returned this morning, but only after the husband had sent her an SMS which the woman claims was a threatening SMS telling her to leave his wife alone. The woman said that she did not harass the wife.

This morning apparently the cat was dropped off at the guard house by someone whom she says was neither of the couple. She felt this showed that they passed the cat to someone else. The woman said the cat smelt of urine and looked thinner. She said she planned to post all this on the internet, identifying the couple and their address.

First of all, as I pointed out to her, the cat was given two days ago- it is going to be difficult to prove it was starved or ill treated. The cat might have urinated in the carrier on the way back - it can and does happen that cats being frightened do dirty themselves especially if in a strange car or vehicle. It is also difficult to prove the cat was starved if it was a matter of two days because it would be hard to see any appreciable weight loss.

As for handing the cat to someone else, again there's no proof of that. The couple I suspect does not want to see the foster. It does seem that they think she is harassing them so they may have asked someone else to drop the cat off. I told her that she should think very carefully about posting potentially defamatory remarks on the Internet unless she was sure she had proof to substantiate it. She decided she probably should not.

Bottom line - be careful before you adopt the cat out and make sure that you do get some agreement in place between yourself and the adopters if you do. It's always easier to make the decision not to give the cat to them then to try and wrest control back once the cat has been adopted out.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Packing


Packing
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Michelle, Sarah, two volunteers and I went to the warehouse today and realised that one afternoon of packing wasn't going to be enough.

Fortunately Rebecca was able to meet the lorry as it came up to the new warehouse as we were still sorting out loose odds and ends. We'll need to go back tomorrow.

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Moving Day

Corbie, Michelle, Sarah and I are heading to the warehouse today. Today is moving day and we're shifting from one warehouse to another.

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Cat in school

I spoke with someone from one of the schools today. Apparently a kitten ran into the school yesterday and she has been trying to look after it. The children in the school have special needs, and they apparently love the kitten.

The woman thought it would be good to set aside a little corner and have the kitten as a school cat. Unfortunately the manager of the school took one look at the cat and ran into the office and slammed the door and refused to come out. He is apparently terrified of the kitten and said that it had to go.

He then called the SPCA this morning. I spoke with the woman and suggested I speak with the manager but she says she worries that it might jeopardise her job. She said at the worst, she will take the cat home herself.

I explained that in other countries like Hong Kong, they've found that animals can help with children with learning disabilities, for example the Professor Paws programme. In addition, I have met some of the students at this school and I had a feeling they would in general really take to the cat - which the woman confirmed.

It's a shame that one manager's fear is standing in the way of a cat being made a welcome addition to the community.

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Dogs and Cats United


Dogs and Cats United
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Ricky from ASD and I were invited to sit in on a meeting by some individuals who wanted to look at the HDB rule on why larger dogs and cats are banned. As this grew out from one of the dog forums, the participants I think were more familiar with the issues regarding dogs, though I believe they would welcome participation from some people who are more familiar with the issue with regards to cats. They intend to meet up again to discuss the issue further.

Ricky and I were discussing how we were glad that more individuals are coming forward and not necessarily waiting for welfare groups to take the lead. In this matter certainly, we were told that one reason the ban hadn't been overturned was because they hadn't had requests from people who wanted to own cats! I do think they've had their fill of hearing the welfare groups talk :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Another meeting

Heading out for another meeting now - this one is being organised by some people concerned about the HDB laws in relation to dogs and cats and we've just been asked to sit in.

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TNRM site?


TNRM site?
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Just got back from a meeting with an area that is thinking of setting up a TNRM programme. One of the staff knew of us and our work and told her manager about us, so they contacted us to ask about what a programme will entail. Interestingly they had been trapping and removing the cats in the past, and one of the people there said that the cats had learnt to avoid both him AND the trap.


They'll consider it and see if there is a way to start a programme in their area.

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TNRM presentation

Just got back from meeting some students - it seems they only started their class last week so this was a last minute assignment and hence the rush. I'm heading out now for a TNRM presentation for a management committee.

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Meeting students

Heading out to meet some students for their project now and then heading out again for a TNRM presentation.

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Frustrated

I just spoke with a complainant who started out rather irate. Apparently the cats had been urinating and defecating in the corridor for quite some time and he was rather annoyed. He said that he had come home last night and the cat had urinated on his raincoat. He said that he was going to 'whack' the cat. I asked him if he was aware if anyone had cats as pets. He did - and he knew which household. He had tried to speak with the person but to no avail.

I told him hitting the cat was wrong, and that it didn't solve the problem. I explained that this was a problem with the person - he expressed the view that he might hit the person too if his patience was tried some more.

I got the feeling he was speaking more out of frustration than of wanting to hurt the cat (though I did warn him that abuse is a crime). I asked him if he really wanted to hurt the cat who wasn't at fault, and he said he didn't, but this had been going on for some time.

I also explained that usually community cats don't walk upstairs unless they are being fed. He asked me how I came to his conclusion and I explained because of the cases I had dealt with, this was what I had observed and he accepted that.

I explained that we would ask some caregivers in the area to try and speak with his neighbour and that he could try mothballs in the meantime. He said he had complained to his town council for some time but to no avail.

He calmed down and said that he actually did like cats but that he was frustrated and this made him say unnecessary things. He said he was glad that he had spoken with me because it sounded like I understood his problem, whereas he felt his TC officer didn't know what to do. It ended quite cordially with him agreeing to get the mothballs. Now I hope that the person with the cats will be co-operative!

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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.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dr Teo replies

We wrote to Dr Teo this morning to ask about whether as chairperson of the TC, he might consider changing the 'zero-stray' policy in light of the HDB clarification that their rules are not applicable to cats in the common areas.

Dr Teo just wrote back to say that this was incorrect. He also said that town councils can set their own bylaws but that they do consult with HDB on policies and bylaws for the interest of the community at large. He mentioned that whether HDB policy allows it or not, TCs can set their own bylaws. He mentioned that despite HDB's rule that allows dogs in flats, they do not allow stray dogs or other stray animals, whether they be chickens, ducks, etc in the town council.

He also urged us to put our efforts into Responsible Pet Ownership and including the housing of 'strays' in appropriate places.

I was a little confused so I wrote back to clarify because I'm not sure what was incorrect - was HDB incorrect? Or did he mean TCs were not influenced by HDB bylaws? We know that TCs can set their own bylaws, but Dr Teo had mentioned in the meeting that we had that HDB is the landlord and that the TCs follow the HDB rules closely (and also by TCs subsequently when we met them as well). We were hoping that as HDB did not envision that their bylaw on cats in flats be extended to the estate, that Dr Teo might re-think his policy as well.

We are also confused as to where the bylaws are. It would be good to know exactly what they say and so I wrote to ask if he might be able to clarify.

We also asked if he might support a change in the housing policy because we agree that it would certainly be good to house more cats in homes, but as 85% of the population cannot legally own cats, this is a problem.

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Time Magazine (23-8-07)

A very interesting article on the pet food recall versus the toys with lead paint and how surprisingly (or possibly not!) more people wanted the news on the pet food :-

Tainted Pet Food versus Lead-Paint Toys

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Talk about being ungrateful Part II

As I was speaking with the person volunteering to help with transport this morning about what happened today a short while ago, he told me that he received yet another SMS from the young man. The man had texted him to say that he would ensure that he would get banned from being a volunteer.

The adoption volunteer then spoke with me. What happened is this - the young man had tried to post a cat on the adoption board a while ago and it was unsterilised. She explained to him that it is not CWS' policy to post unsterilised cats beyond a certain age. He said that he was broke, and the adoption volunteer felt bad for him and in fact paid for food to be delivered to his home. The volunteer who was to help with transport this morning had been the one who had been bringing the food - in fact he isn't so much a CWS volunteer but is more someone helping the adoption volunteer as he knows her and is doing her a favour.

The adoption volunteer then showed me an email from the young man which he wrote to her and copied to one of the MPs. In it, he asked the MP to ensure that the person helping with transport be struck off the list of CWS volunteers. He said that he felt the person had raised his voice at him (the person denies it). He went on to add that he works 12 hour shifts and that the person helping with transport is not his 'paymaster'(?). He also said that he did not ask for help but that because they offered, he accepted (the adoption volunteer in fact told me she DID get an SMS from him asking for help and asking her to get the cat sterilised). He also said that if someone wants to help him, he has to do it (yes, watch out here it comes!) 'sincerely'.

The adoption volunteer wrote back to clarify. She also pointed out was that none of this was done because or on behalf of CWS - she had felt bad for the young man as he kept saying he was broke, and so she had paid for everything herself because she wanted to help him.

A few things strike me as being very unusual - firstly, does the person comprehend what a volunteer actually does? A volunteer isn't paid - someone who volunteers time and effort does it because, well they're volunteering! By the whole notion of volunteerism, someone helps out willingly and not expecting any form of compensation monetary or otherwise.

Secondly, what IS it with people telling you that they work 12 hour shifts or that they help X number of cats, etc. Yes I get it - you work hard. So does 90% of the population, so does the person who helped with the transport. The same goes for people who tell you how much they do for the cats. The people I find who work the most for the cats are also the ones who are the quietest about it - they don't have to tell you what they're doing, usually because they're doing it for the cats and they know what they're doing. They don't feel the need for external validation.

Thirdly, now the fact that someone offers help is held against them? It's as if people should feel embarrassed that they offer help. And conversely, by the mere fact of acceptance it's as if the people offering help are having a favour bestowed on THEM. I've always been brought up to believe that generally if you don't want help, you say no, or maybe even no, thank you.

Finally what is with 'sincere' helping? What is anyone gaining from the whole transaction other than helping this man and his cat?

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Meeting students

I do understand students work on tight deadlines and sometimes have to do their work by a certain date - I do wish however that they would try and contact you earlier if they are doing project work and need your help in order to produce something. The idea of course is that the work is meant to be for the organisation, but honestly most of the time, we can't use it because it's not suitable in some way or other.

Contacting an organisation and asking to meet and telling them that you need to do it before your deadline which is a few days away and then adding that you're busy except for one particular day, is usually not the best way to do it.

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Cheaper?

I spoke to the adoption volunteer who spoke to this young man as the volunteer had given up on speaking with him. It seems that the man will bringing the cat into another vet himself - he texted the adoption volunteer to say he had found a cheaper place. Why it was cheaper when the sterilisation slot he was being given was free is beyond all of us, but at least the cat will be done.

Another caregiver will be utilising the slot instead and she was happy to have it so that works out well.

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Talk about being ungrateful

I just heard from a volunteer about how frustrated he was trying to help a young man out. Apparently the man has a cat and the volunteer offered to get it sterilised for him as it wasn't sterilised yet and the young man (while holding down a job) was not very well off. On his own, he decided to try and help the young man out.

The volunteer arranged for the sterilisation to be done free of charge to the young man and offered to transport the cat to the vet. Just as he was leaving to pick up the cat, the man called to say the cat had not been starved the night before as his mother had left food out.

The volunteer told him the sterilisation had to be cancelled as the cat could die otherwise. He asked him to please try and do this one thing - make sure that the cat had not eaten the night before. The volunteer then arranged for another date and decided it would be safer to board the cat overnight at extra cost to the volunteer.

When he called back, he told the young man that the new date was arranged, but that if they cancelled one more time, he would have to take care of the transport himself. The young man told the volunteer to forget it. He said that people must be 'sincere' in wanting to help. The volunteer was so taken aback, he was speechless. One sometimes wonders who is helping whom.

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ST (27-8-07)

I realised I forgot to post this yesterday :-

Good of SPCA to offer reward


It certainly is - and I hope the perpetrator will be caught soon. During the lunch on Saturday, the SPCA people who were there mentioned that the reward had gone up to $6000 and I found this official statement on their website (along with a photo of the poor cat).

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Management factsheet

I've just been working on a Management factsheet to explain the "M" in TNRM. We do get asked why it is important to do Management and while we detail aspects of Management in our Mediation factsheet and the factsheet on setting up a TNRM group, we don't have one on why management is important.

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Do not adopt a cat unless you are able to cope

I spoke with a woman who had asked for help with sterilisation as she was facing financial difficulties. She mentioned that she needed help with the money but that she had some concerns about whether she could keep her cats, that they were spraying, etc so this went on for a while though we had visited her two months ago.

She called today and mentioned that sadly, her father just passed away. I am very sorry for her loss and realise that this must undoubtedly be upsetting for her and may bring about a change in plans. She feels that she is unable to manage with the cats as her siblings are against her keeping the cats. She is also in the midst of some other personal issues.

I can understand that changes in circumstances that are beyond one's control may sometimes necessitate putting the cats up for adoption as much as the adopter may not want to. Not everything obviously can be controlled. However I was taken aback when the woman mentioned that two of the cats (though she has more than 5 cats) had just been adopted a few months ago. She said that she wanted to return them. She said she could not remember whom she adopted the cats from, only vaguely where the person stayed.

The adoption volunteer went through the adoption requests and could not find the email that said the cats were adopted. The sample adoption form which was sent was also not filled up according to the adopter.

The adoption requests apparently were sent in May - and I know the woman had mentioned she had some personal issues since December last year which were going to necessitate great changes in her lifestyle. In that case, please, PLEASE, if you anticipate that you are going to have life changes and upheaval, do NOT adopt a cat. Do NOT take a cat until you know that you are at a stage of your life whereby you are ready for the commitment and the responsibility - not when you are anticipating moving and not knowing exactly where you are going yet. It's not fair to the cat.

And please, make it a point to remember WHOM you adopted the cat from. Fosters - please also remember to let the adopters know whom you are, and how to get in touch with you - though obviously if the adopter loses the information, there isn't much you can do at that point.

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HDB clarifies

We wrote into the HDB this morning to enquire about their stance on community cats in HDB estates. As some of you know, there has been much made of the fact that cats are not allowed in town councils because the HDB rules do not allow cats IN flats. As a result, the town council chairperson, Dr Teo Ho Pin, felt it should be extended to town councils and the common areas as they were administering HDB estates for the HDB.

The HDB wrote back very quickly and their reply states that their rule only applies to cats in flats and is not applicable to cats in town council estates. I am sure that this will be a very useful clarification for officers and MPs who may have misunderstood what the HDB rule referred to.

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Poster taken down

One of the town council officers called me this morning about this poster. At the officer's request, I will not blog about most of the conversation as he requested it stay off the record and not be blogged about.

However what I can say is that the officer went down this morning after I clarified with the caregiver where the poster had been put up. The caregiver had also told her own officer about it and asked why it was up. It seems the poster is an old poster from 2005 and was in fact according to the officer I spoke with, an outdated colour poster which was not supposed to be up at all. The poster was immediately taken down by the officer I spoke with and he said that this was a new officer who did not know that the poster should not have gone up on the TC noticeboard in the first place. It was a mistake and not sanctioned by the TC.

I also understand from several sources, including the SPCA who were at the lunch on Saturday, that they had been sent several copies of the poster and that they had written in as well. We were also copied on several emails sent into the TC about the matter.

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Urinary problems

Here's a very good article on why cats miss the litterpan and some of the reasons for it. Often people mistake their cats are being 'naughty' when in reality, they may be ill. Behaviour that comes on suddenly whereby the cat starts urinating outside the tray may well be a sign that the cat needs to see the vet :-

Ain't Misbehaving - Cats that miss the Litter Pan


On the issue of health, thanks to Emily for sending in this recent study on heartworms and your cat.

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Animal Welfare Lunch


Animal Welfare Lunch
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Last year we suggested having a casual lunch for all the animal welfare groups to meet and catch up over lunch. Usually, we're all so busy and we only meet at meetings or in times of crisis, so we thought it'd be nice to meet for the sole purpose of just getting to know one another better.

Everyone agreed it would be good to have another one and another year has flown past. We suggested another date but due to everyone's packed schedule they weren't sure they could make it. George from Vegetarian Society suggested the venue and booked the place. We were surprised that even more people turned up this year - George had booked 20 seats and at some points, we didn't have enough chairs as some people popped in just to say hello but didn't stay for lunch. People also asked other people working in animal welfare along, as we suggested and that was great. One of the people who came even suggested a yoga event for the whole group which would be fun!

Thank you to everyone for coming and it was great to see all of you!

Jacin had a busy weekend - in addition to the lunch, she was at the Cat Show yesterday manning the booth. She says it was a pretty good crowd.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

TCs and HDB

I've been doing some reading on what the duties of the TC are and also looking up the HDB bylaws to see if they extend to animals in the common areas. In general, the TCs look after the common property under Section 18 of the Town Councils Act, with common property being defined under Section 2, and which you can find at Singapore Statutes Online.

As you can see, common property does not include areas within the flats. There are certain limited times when the TC can go onto your property and this is specifically stated - it mostly has to do with pipes, wires and cable (and hence I was wrong about the pipes earlier) but these are very specifically stated examples. In all other cases, the TC must get the permission of the owner, and in even these specific examples, they must give advance notice unless it is an emergency.

On the other hand, the Housing and Development (Animals) Rules refer specifically to cats within the premises. They do not refer to animals in other circumstances.

So why are the TCs saying that the HDB rules do not allow cats in the estates?

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Do you think it's kind to feed strays?


Do you think it's kind to feed strays (edited)?
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Thanks to Lingcat for this photo. A caregiver called up to tell me that these posters had gone up (and I encouraged her to call the TC and ask them about it) and then Lingcat saw them and sent a copy to me.

First of all, the poster makes no sense. Why would the cats cause a mess if they are being fed? Let me put it this way - you have a big pile of garbage versus food that has been prepared specially for you, which would you pick? In fact, most animals go into the garbage because they aren't fed.

Secondly, they spread diseases? So does the woman screaming in the poster.

The point is - if you have regular, responsible caregivers who feed the cats in a clean manner, you have less animals going into the garbage. There is no food left around, and hence you get less pests. So if you want to keep the area clean, then responsible feeding should be encouraged!

Update - the photo above has been edited as the town council officer asked if I could take the name of the town council down from this blog entry. While it is a public poster in a public place (and hence I did in fact put the whole poster up), I have taken down the poster as a result.

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One-Stop?

Can anyone explain to me why there are all these new rules and regulations for charities to follow that are being rather quickly implemented, and yet the One-Stop Charity Portal does not have most functions working yet? Also, why is it that the idea would basically be that there would be one place for you to submit all your documents to so there would be no need to replicate sending the same information to several parties and that isn't working yet either?

We sent all our documentation to the Registry of Societies and the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore months ago and they had to be sent separately. Now it seems that we also have to send it to Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports because of the re-organisation last year. So we have to submit the same documents to not one, but three different bodies. It doesn't seem very one-stop to me.

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Shin Min (23-8-07)


Shin Min (23-8-07)
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Thanks to Vegancatsg for sending this in - it's about yet another abuse case at Hougang Avenue 8. Apparently someone has been killing cats in the area - the latest cat was thrown from the block of flats. The caregiver interviewed said that the cat has been there for many years and that people would often go down and play with the cat. He believes that the abuser made use of the cat's friendly nature in order to throw it from the block of flats.

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Feeder was the complainant

I was just speaking with a caregiver about a block of flats near hers which she had been going down to check as she lives nearby. There have been a number of complaints about this block. Another complaint was just received, so she went down and spoke to a feeder at the block.

Here's the thing - it turned out that the complainant was the feeder. The feeder had been feeding upstairs on the second floor and did not sterilise. He continued to feed the kittens and the mother cat. Yesterday, the kittens had run and knocked over the plants and defecated outside his house. His neighbour complained to him, so he decided to ring the TC to take them away. He told the caregiver he had in fact just gone down to buy them food.

The caregiver said she told him that the cats would be killed. He was aware of it but said it was better to just clear them all. I asked if he might foster them temporarily, but the caregiver said she did not think so. I said I hoped he would at least stop feeding the cats from here on out, but she's not hopeful either.

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Grooming


Grooming
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I saw this cat after a meeting with caregivers and the TC this morning. There were a few things the caregivers were concerned about. Firstly, sterilised cats were caught without first informing the caregivers about the problem and secondly, the wrong cat was caught!

What the officer said was that the complainant had claimed the cat had scratched his car, and the officer had asked the caregivers to remove the cats. The resident pointed out to them that this wouldn't solve the problem - if there really was a cat scratching the car, then which cat? And how about checking the car to see if the cat had really scratched it?

They caught the wrong cat too as the cat that they had caught does not stay at the block where the complaint occurred.

The Deputy GM pointed out that at the meeting of the town councils, which we had both attended, Dr Teo had said the official policy was not to 'allow' cats in estates. They pointed again to the HDB rule. I mentioned that the HDB rule is about cats IN flats - not cats in the estate. I asked if say someone's pipe was to burst, whether the TC would go into the flat to fix it - they said they would not. I pointed out that this is the same scenario. In addition, cats are IN the estates, this is not about allowing or disallowing them - there are cats, there were always cats and there always WILL be cats.

The Deputy GM said that despite the official policy, they would work unofficially with the caregivers. One of the caregivers made a very good point - he said that if a policy is bad, it ought to be changed. The Deputy GM said that it was up to CWS to try and change the policy. I said that the problem is that, while I do understand the TC's constraints, if every TC does not speak up (and I really do understand how difficult it is for them to do so), then it seems as if the TCs are supportive of the 'no-stray' rule. This makes it very difficult to then change the policy as a result.

One of the caregivers asked if this meant they would be rounding cats up and killing them, and the Deputy GM assured her they would not. I was very glad that this feeder turned up. I know it must have been difficult for her and I thanked her for showing up.

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ST (24-8-07)

Heading out for a town council meeting now. Good letter in today's online Forum :-

Penalty for animal abusers should be stiffer

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Speaking up

I was speaking with a feeder about a TC meeting tomorrow. One of the caregivers asked me to speak with the feeder because she was worried that the feeder did not want to go. Some of her cats had recently been trapped.

I called the feeder and she said she was worried that the TC might think she is not neutral. I told her that this wasn't about being neutral or taking sides - this was about working with the TC. I also said it's important to show the TC that there are caregivers who want to work with them and solve problems together.

She said that she had not had a lot of problem with the TC. I told her I understood some cats had been trapped in her area and she said that the area where they were trapped was a friend's area and not hers. I told her it was really important to speak up and show that there are people who care for the cats. At the end of the day I told her, if we don't speak up before things get really bad, then it may be too late by the time they do.

She said there was nothing that could be done even if the cats are trapped. I told her this isn't true - but that people must be willing to speak up otherwise it seems as if no one cares for the cats and that the complainants are right after all, when we KNOW that's not true.

I've always liked this quote by Martin Niemoller :-

First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left
to speak up for me.

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Witness has to file report

I was speaking to a feeder this afternoon who said that another feeder had seen a case of animal abuse. She said that the person had managed to take a photo of the alleged accuser throwing a stick at a cat. She asked me if the person would go to jail. I said that it was certainly possible under the law but it depended on what the circumstances and the evidence they had. I told her that she needed to go to the police.

She asked me why they needed to go - this is not the first time she's tried to file a report about animal abuse (with different abusers), but the rest of the cases usually ended in naught because none of the witnesses wanted to come forward. In one case, I went to the police station with her witness, spent three hours in there, and the minute the feeder went to the bathroom, the witness said she did not want to testify. It seemed she was scared the feeder would no longer be her friend so she had gone along so far.

This time around, she said that since I had advised them to take photos as evidence, she wanted me to file the report. I pointed out that photos are evidence, but there must still be a witness, and the witness has to be someone who actually SAW the abuse happening.

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Warehouse


Warehouse
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Corbie and I went to see the warehouse today. The man who is renting the place is sectioning off a portion for us to use. He was also very kind and offered his office space for us to use for meetings or other events as well.

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Warehousing

Corbie and I are going down to check warehouse space this afternoon as we've been asked to vacate our existing warehouse which was loaned to us rent free as soon as possible.

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Organise school curriculum

Here's another nice letter in today's Straits Times' Online Forum :-

Organise the school curriculum around the themes of care

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ST (23-8-07)

It's sad to see that people have so little interaction with animals that it seems that some people immediately equate big dogs with being 'dangerous'. Here's an interesting article in today's Straits Times :-

Animals have more reason to fear humans than we do to fear them

I've grown up with 'big' dogs for most of my life, but the first dog I've been nipped by was a friend's terrier (and it was entirely my fault - I pet him when he was fast asleep and he reacted instinctively). Big does not immediately equate dangerous - as the writer mentioned, Labradors are some of the most gentle dogs, but they are large dogs, but I don't think they would be used as guide dogs for the blind, except that they have such excellent temperaments.

It's the same with cats - people are growing up in such an isolated urban bubble, that they have forgotten what it is like to interact with animals. This really reminds me of Budak's comment about his friend's blog.

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Tit for Tat

I just spoke with someone who said that some cats had been caught from her neighbourhood. She had not had any dealings with the town council before this. Another neighbour is feeding the cats, and according to the woman who called, they are well loved by most people in the block. This neighbour lives on the ground floor.

The complainant according to her, is a woman with plants in the corridor and she is upset that the cats walk by. The woman I spoke to said that the neighbour who is feeding cats had offered to put up some mesh around the plants, but the woman with the plants refused. As a result, they have quarrelled.

Now the woman who called said that they have taken photos of the woman's plants and will be sending those photos into the town council to complain that she is obstructing the corridor. It's very sad that it has to come to this. If the woman with the plants had been a bit more tolerant of the cats, I don't think anyone would have been upset about the plants. If everyone insists on their strict 'rights' then the housing estates will really be just dull concrete estates.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Helping people

I was just speaking with a new caregiver who had quite a few questions as she is just starting out in her estate. She was mentioning the same thing to me - that she had met quite a few people through working with the cats that she had not known before. She said this was really a good way of getting people to bond and get to know each other and was about a community really coming together.

It struck me as I was speaking with her how many people think that caring for community cats is a 'cat issue'. It's not. As any caregiver knows, it has a lot to do with speaking to people in the community and explaining what TNRM is about. It has to do with helping to mediate complaints and work with residents who are unhappy because of different concerns. It has to do with keeping the environment clean because many caregivers clear up litter. It also has to do with ensuring the environment is a pleasant one by keeping the population down, cutting down on cauterwauling and spraying.

One of the caregivers told me that when she went to see her MP, he had told her that when she had settled the cat issues, it would be good if she could spend her time working with people who needed help. I think that's a narrow viewpoint. If everyone took that view, then no one would care about the environment or global warming for example because neither affects people directly in that sense. But it will. In the same way, working with cats is really about many other things - most importantly making it a more pleasant living environment for all.

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Too troublesome

I was speaking to a caregiver who mentioned that she and another caregiver are organising a meeting on Friday with their TC. The problem is that no one seems to want to go for the meeting. The caregiver I spoke with said that every time there is a problem, their usual practice is to call her and ask her to (1) get the cats out and (2) tell the TC off. However, when she asks them to make the call, they tell her it is too inconvenient.

One of the feeders in the area apparently had half a dozen cats picked up by the TC, and the caregiver who is trying to organise the group was trying to get the woman to come. However the woman who had the cats trapped thought it might anger her TC officer so she's not showing up - the caregiver said that the cats were already being trapped. The feeder whose cats were trapped has also not gone to reclaim them - again she told the caregiver it was too troublesome, it rained, she was busy, etc.

When I spoke to the woman this morning, she asked if the complainants had trapped any cats yet and I told her that they had. I reminded her as I did over the phone the other day that she should call the AVA the minute any of her cats are missing. She asked me how far away the AVA is (not very far from her home). It turns out that she has lost cats before - but that she just leaves it be when it happens. She said it's just too troublesome to pick the cats up.

Yes it IS troublesome to pick up cats when they are trapped, it IS troublesome to have to speak with your TC or your MP, but the question is - is it important enough to do because it will help keep your cats safe? If not, then why feed and sterilise in the first place? Both are troublesome and inconvenient too - and yet feeders do it every day. It's important to manage the cats so they can stay safe and not be rounded up and killed - even if it is troublesome to do so.

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Asleep


Asleep
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I went by a few minutes later to see if the man was awake - he was but he wasn't there. The cat was still asleep. I'll go by and speak with the man again on another day.

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Nap time


Nap time
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Just got back from the accountant, the post office and then from picking up photocopying. The man was taking a nap with the cat when I walked by.

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Cat at construction site


Cat at construction site
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Michelle and I went for a mediation last night. A woman had rung on Monday to say that her neighbours were upset that she was feeding and asked us to speak with them, as she does not speak much English, and they can't speak Mandarin.

What happened it seemed is that there used to be an abandoned condominium and the woman had been feeding there for many years. The cats are all sterilised. The problem was when construction started - the cats started running out and across the road into peoples' homes where they defecated and ran on furniture.

The main bugbear seems to be that the feeder feeds right opposite the homes of the complainants. I explained that these cats were sterilised, and the complainant agreed that the population of cats had decreased. He said that he had nothing against them, but the defecation was getting to be too much.

He also said he could not understand why the woman refused to feed outside her own house, which was a few doors down. It seemed that there might be some feeling that she felt superior to her neighbours and did not want to feed outside her own house but didn't mind doing it outside theirs.

We offered a Scarecrow to the complainant and he said he would consider it.

I spoke to the feeder this morning and she said that the cats were used to being there, but I pointed out her house is not that far away at all. I suggested she try and feed outside her home - if the cats STILL run into the neighbours' homes, then the complainant had suggested he would be willing to look into alternatives.

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ST(22-8-07)

Thanks to Michelle for sending this in :-

SPCA seeks help in cat abuse case


This is reminiscent of the cat killed in I believe, Kallang, last year.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cat removed, problem started again

I spoke to someone this afternoon at a block I have been to on four separate occasions. There is a family there (and possibly more than one) that keeps feeding the cats upstairs. The woman complained the cats defecated outside her home, and she wanted to know if they could be removed. She had noticed that one of the cats which had previously been there had been taken away presumably by the town council.

I pointed out to her that the problem wasn't the cats - clearly the cats were coming up because of the neighbours who stubbornly insist on feeding upstairs. As I pointed out to her, the cat had been removed - and they had just lured new cats up.

She said she had nothing against the cats - but she wanted the problem to stop. I suggested she use mothballs.

The sad thing here is that no action is taken against people who are irresponsibly feeding cats upstairs or letting their cats wander. Why? Because you're not allowed to have cats in your flat. So the cat then wanders, causes more problems, and everyone gets more annoyed, more money is wasted and more cats killed. And the problem is never solved because you can't take any action against a person for doing what they are supposed to do - NOT have a cat in their flat.

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Alvis


Alvis
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Here's a photo from Angela of Alvis watching the National Day Rally. She said that Alvis was rapt and would follow the Prime Minister's hand movements as he spoke - just another Singaporean taking the PM's words to heart.

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Ignorance

I spoke to a caregiver this afternoon who went to see her MP with a group of other feeders last night because they have a difficult complainant. This complainant is asking for all the cats to be removed. The caregiver pointed out to her TC that she has as much say as the complainant, but they kept insisting that the cats must be removed. She said that she was very disappointed at the MP's response.

She said that she had mentioned to the MP that perhaps they could share some information about cats as he might not be aware of what cats are like, and he had said that he was very aware of what cats were like because his neighbour had cats and they came into his garden and defecate The caregiver belatedly realised she should have offered to help with that situation and says she will drop him an email to that effect. He also said that many people dislike cats.

First of all, there are many ways of keeping cats out of a yard or garden, and it's a question of trying to find the solution. Blaming the cats or getting them removed doesn't solve the issue. Secondly, a house with a garden presents quite a different situation altogether from an HDB estate. Doing mediation in both, I can say that the solutions we use are almost entirely different - and in neither case does removing the cats help. Trying to use a scenario where your neighbours' cats are entering your garden and annoying you and trying to apply it to an HDB estate is not going to be very helpful - and considering the neighbours' cats are still going into his home, I would venture that a solution has not been found. To then think that this might apply to an HDB estate will not work.

The MP apparently also said that if the cats were just not fed, then they would not be in the area and would go away. Wrong again. Cats as we all know, move into an area because of territory - and not because of food. In my frequent hawker centre analogy, just as people may eat out almost every day at a hawker centre, it doesn't mean the hawker centre is their home. It's the same with cats.

The MP also apparently did agree that removing them wasn't a solution either. The caregiver asked if they could work together to solve the problem, and said that as a leader, she hoped the MP might be able to work with them to solve the problem. The MP allegedly replied that if they could solve the cat problem, it would be a miracle.

It seems to me that the main problem here is still ignorance. The fact is that the cats are here to stay. The caregiver pointed out that cats ARE part of the environment. The fact that other people dislike cats, is not the point as she told him. The point is to work together to solve the situation.

She also said that for example, if she found the burning of joss paper to be annoying as it wasn't part of her tradition, and decided to complain about this (which she wasn't), that it would be probably ignored. The MP agreed, saying that this is part of a traditional or religious rite.

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Pre-empting

Sometimes when you know that a problem may occur, it is better to pre-empt the situation then to wait and see what develops. I received two phone calls and emails from people yesterday, one of whom said that he had an altercation with someone who was a known complainant in his area. He said that he wanted to let me know as he thinks the complainant will complain again. I told him that I thought it was important to let the management know beforehand, so that they hear the feeder's side of the story first.

At the same time, another caregiver wrote in to say that she had been having problems with a persistent feeder in the area. Her husband and herself had taken to coming down and doing spot-checks on the feeder, but she still persisted, waited for the two to come home, and then came down to toss food all over. The matter had come to our attention because of another resident, who was a complainant. The caregiver discussed calling in the NEA but she was worried they might ask for the cats to be taken away.

I suggested that she call the NEA and explain this was a littering problem, rather than wait for the complainant to do so. If you call first, you can put across the problem so that the cats aren't disadvantaged. For example, I told her that if the complainant calls up the authorities to complain, he might say it is a 'cat' problem and might complain to the TC, who might then round up the cats. Obviously, this is a littering problem and should be framed as such.

The complainant wrote back - he said that he HAD noticed that the littering was getting worse. The last time we had corresponded though I had mentioned the NEA would be the people to write to, and so he had already written to them. He was glad that the caregiver was actively looking into this and suggested working together to solve this with her.

Don't wait till something happens - especially if you know that there is an existing problem. It's best to take pre-emptive measures as soon as possible to prevent the situation getting much worse.

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No-Kill

A very interesting article on the No-Kill debate going on in the US.

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Find your inner cat

This cute link was sent in by Lyanne :-

Find your inner cat

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Feeding time


Feeding time
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Here is one of the teachers feeding and the students stopping to watch. At one point, there were easily 10 people standing or squatting quietly to watch the cats eat. The students who ran up too excitedly were shushed by the others who asked them to keep it down so that the kittens would not be too spooked. The teacher mentioned that they sometimes have a row of students who come to watch.

Undoubtedly there will be some students who don't like cats or are frightened of the cats, but the teacher who asked us to give the talk mentioned that one of the students who said he was frightened of cats came up after the talk to speak with her and take some information.

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Water changed Daily


Water changed Daily
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I loved these bowls with the little sign that says water is changed daily. There are students and teachers on a roster and no one else is to feed unless they are part of the programme.

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Meet the official school cats!


Meet the official school cats
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

The teacher who invited us to give a talk rounded up the talk by saying that they wanted to announce that these kittens are going to become the official school cats. She said that they will be sterilised once they are older, and that they will live in the school compound till they die. They are not to be removed or taken away by anyone (and students have put up notices to that effect, and also asking that people do NOT feed unless they sign up with the group).

The teacher mentioned how the students were very upset to hear that in other schools that do not support TNRM, that the cats are taken away and killed and that they were shocked to hear this.

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Kittens


Kittens
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

In order to get the students to be more aware of the kittens, the teacher had a little presentation done on the different kittens, with their names and to show the students what they looked like. These are the photos from one of the classrooms.

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Students watching video


Students watching video
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Rebecca came to help with the talk and we were both very impressed by the school and their programme. There was a presentation asking for volunteers and they could contact one of several teachers to offer their help. The teacher we spoke to said that the students had alerted the teachers to the cats and asked the teachers to do something. So a TNRM programme was born.

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Slide at school talk


Slide at school talk
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This was part of the school talk prepared by one of the teachers to talk about their school cats and their TNRM programme.

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School Talk and TNRM

I'm heading out for a school talk now. The teachers are hoping to start up a TNRM programme in the school so all the school administration as well as the students will be there. I hope it goes well!

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Population increasing

Remember this woman? Over the weekend, the person who contacted me went down and tried to get some of the cats for sterilisation and the woman drove them away. The person arranging for the sterilisation was puzzled as someone else had also spoken with the woman and she had said the same thing that she said to me - that the cats weren't hers and she wouldn't stop anyone from sterilising them.

The population of cats there is huge - the person sent me a photo and there must be 20 or 30 cats at least which she feeds. It's a matter of time before they're going to all be rounded up if nothing is done to keep the population in check. I'm checking with the person if he intends to go ahead and keep trying to trap.

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Survey on pets in MRT stations/trains

Here's a survey sent in by Mary (thanks Mary!) about allowing pets in MRT stations.

Allowing pets in MRT stations/trains

As the Land Transport Authority is usually the one who sets these regulations, which then affect the buses and trains, it's good to reflect to them that people do not have an issue with animals on trains - it would certainly allow for easier transportation of cats to the vet!

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Neighbourhood cat


Kitten at provision shop
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I saw this kitten yesterday as I was walking past a provision shop. I spoke to the shop owner and they said it was really a community cat in that the whole community looked after it - the owner let it sleep on the premises, lots of people fed it, and another resident had it sterilised three weeks ago. The kitten had a red collar on too.

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Happy to be home

I spoke with the caregiver to ask how the two cats were doing. It seems that one of the cats which is more timid (and which was sitting by itself in a corner on a shelf away from the other cats) immediately ran for a more covered location. The other cat looked unsure where it was for a few minutes, but the caregiver sat with the cat for more than half an hour. As the cat looked around and it realised it was home, the caregiver said the cat became happier and happier. She said it meowed and looked very contented to be home.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Where did the other cats go?

This afternoon, several things were happening at the same time, including some events relating to this case. The trapper called and said that she was trying to arrange with the woman who hired her to have her meet with everyone involved so that the cats could be returned. She said that she wanted it sorted out today. I told her that would be everyone's fervent aim as the main thing was to just have the cats reunited with their caregivers. She said she wanted that as well. I told her I was sure that was what everyone wanted - what was in the best interests of the cats. However she called back a few minutes later to say it was no good - the woman did not wish to meet, but she said that it was fine to go and pick up the cats at the cattery.

At the same time, I spoke with the people at the vet as this woman advised. I was told that the woman had agreed that the caregivers were welcome to check the cattery for their cats. One of the caregivers also spoke with the same woman, and was told the same thing.

However it was uncertain what time the caregivers could go down. The caregiver asked if I could go along, though I did point out I would be unable to recognise the cats. I was told that the tenant had been there since early in the morning and wanted to go home and so we needed to get down as quickly as possible. So we rushed off again (while in another town council, there were other problems of the more mundane - but equally serious - kind cropping up and I was trying to help with that as well).

I met the caregiver there while another caregiver rushed down from her workplace. This time around, the same woman allowed us in but she was much friendlier. She told me that she had not been aware of what was happening - she was just helping a friend out as her friend's cattery was undergoing renovation. The cats were in the back in the 'quarantine' sections which we weren't allowed into the last time. This time, the caregiver was allowed in and she went in and found two of the cats. One of the cats looked so happy to see the caregiver and rubbed against her over and over again. She also recognised some other sterilised cats, but those feeders were not responsible and had been leaving food all over. They had also not asked about the cats since they went missing, so she discussed it with the woman who let us in and they agreed to leave those cats there.

The shelter looked clean as it did the last time and people were washing it out. The cats were also safe and dry despite the heavy rain. Some of the cats were however down with flu as the woman told us, and it is inevitable that flu and other diseases can and do spread in shelters, no matter how well run, just due to the proximity of the cats to each other in an enclosed place.

The other caregiver rushed down but was unable to find her cats. She was so upset she looked like she was about to cry as she was so hopeful they might be there. The woman who let us in looked quite moved as well and told her not to give up her search, but the caregiver said she didn't know where to start. We asked to see the other cattery which was being renovated but were told it wasn't rented by the woman who let us in. However the caregiver stood outside and stared so hopefully in that the owner of the entire cattery came over, spoke with us, and told her it was okay to have a look, which was very kind of him. It helped to set her mind at rest that the cats might be there.

I gave the second caregiver a ride out. She was crushed - she had really thought she might find her cats tonight. She mentioned that if her cats were in a better place, and the person wanted to keep them, she would be fine with it - what was killing her was having no news whatsoever about the cats. She said she had no idea where they could be or what had befallen them. She asked where the other cats could possibly have gone and I said I just didn't know.

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Two cats found

We found two of the cats. More later.

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Busy

Horribly busy afternoon again with multiple people calling about different problems. Have to rush out again now.

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Rumours

More people calling about this case and everyone is now accusing everyone else of spreading rumours about each other. Someone called me earlier to ask about whether I had heard any rumours and I said that I heard so many - honestly I have had my fill of them. The only thing that is important is that the cats are returned to their caregivers. If they are returned, I am sure none of the caregivers will want to pursue this matter - they just want their cats back with them safely.

Monologue

I just tried to speak to someone whose name kept cropping up in conjunction with the cats missing in Jurong. Unfortunately when I spoke with her, it became a monologue on her part and I was not able to speak with her. She insisted that she had been maligned and that she was trying to sue someone for something (she didn't say what). I tried to explain that I was just calling to speak with her directly to find out what she knew as I had just gotten hold of her number. She insisted that she had been helping "Cat Welfare Society" people rescue cats and I explained that I was the only CWS person she had spoken to as I had just gotten her number last night. I did not think she had helped CWS at all in the past as I had never spoken with her.

She kept insisting I should call someone else, whom I assumed was her lawyer, so I asked for her lawyer's number so I could speak with him or her directly. It turned out however that the number was someone from a vet clinic.

I just spoke with someone from the vet clinic who rang me back and said that the woman was a client and upset that people were posting what she felt were defamatory remarks. I told the person from the clinic that this was exactly why I wanted to speak directly with the woman so I could get to the bottom of this. She said she understood and would try and mediate as she said her client was very upset.

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Charity Dialogue Session


Charity Dialogue Session
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Jacin and I went for this Dialogue session last night and both of us thought we had gone to the wrong place. First I (still) have no idea of what SA is and clearly we (and a number of others) are not under Religious Organisations or Youth, which some of the participants pointed out.

The session was on the new code of governance for Charities and Institute of Public Characters (IPC) and it's based on voluntary compliance. Quite a few participants pointed out that it isn't possible to follow these guidelines because of the nature of their charity or IPC. The people chairing the session told us that if you are unable to adhere to the code that you'll be asked to explain why but that sounds like the extent of it.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cat on a string


Cat on a string
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I went by this afternoon after going to the bank and sending in some photocopying to see the cat on a string. The man who is usually with the cat was not there - I waited for a few minutes but he didn't come out. I'll go back and check on the cat again.

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Reward to be offered

I'm posting this reward which CWS has decided to offer to help us find the missing 15 cats :-

"15 sterilised and managed cats in the Jurong area have gone missing in recent weeks. Eyewitnesses report seeing one or two women trapping cats and removing them from the area. It has been confirmed that they have not been trapped by the TC or AVA.

These cats have been sterilised and are being looked after by caregivers who have spent much time and effort on their management and wellbeing.

The Cat Welfare Society is offering a $1000 reward to anyone with information leading to the return of the cats and/or information leading to successful prosecution of those responsible for their disappearance.

Please email info@catwelfare.org or call 9628 6296 if you have any information. Thank you for your cooperation."

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Using misfortune

Someone just called me with information about this case. It seems that some people involved are now trying to make use of this situation to finger other people or get other people into trouble. Either there is genuine miscommunication, or there is actual maliciousness involved. As far as possible, I'm trying to trace down and speak to the source of information, but many of the informants do not want to come forward or pass information through others. Obviously as with any secondhand information, it is more suspect.

All I know is that more than a week has passed and we're not closer to finding out information about these cats.

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Conference on Animal abuse

Here's a very interesting conference to be held in Oxford, England on the Relationship between Animal Abuse and Human Violence. It looks very interesting - if anyone is in the area at the time, consider dropping in!

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ocean's present


Ocean's present
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

On the other hand, cats are always (or mostly!) grateful - and so are some lovely volunteers :)

This very thoughtful present came from Ocean and Ocean's family, which includes Eslina. Eslina has been helping out with the adoption board of late as Webgal, who has been doing it all along took a well earned break. Thank you Eslina for your help - and thank you to Ocean for the lovely present! :)

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Reimbursements

I've been talking to people about the catnapping case and also going through the reimbursements as well. I received a strange reimbursement with no name or return address and a note to call someone, whose number was not added. First of all, the claim forms have to be properly filled up. If they are not filled up, they will not be reimbursed. Often people do forget certain segments and if I can contact them, I will do so because it's a mistake. However if there is no identifying information, or the form is so indifferently filled out then it will not be reimbursed. I can understand that some areas are left blank but if ALL the fields are blank, then it's not helping us to get the information that we are trying to gather on different colonies which in turn is to help us get more information on sterilisation working. Secondly, I do find it strange that someone who is claiming money would instead of giving us all the relevant information, ask us to contact someone!

Sometimes it strikes me that when people are asking us for a favour, that instead of being appreciative, that they seem to think it is owed to them and that we should do all the work AND be grateful to be allowed to do the favour for them :)

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Trapper called

The trapper who took us down to the shelter called today. She said that she wanted me to know she was not involved in the trapping yesterday. She said from the description which she heard through someone, it sounded like her, but she said it wasn't. She did however add that she cannot say that she won't be trapping again in the future if someone pays her to do so, but she would target the unsterilised cats. I told her that in that case, all the cats in this area are done so she would not need to be there anyway.

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Heading out

Dropping off at the accountants to drop off some documents for the next quarter. We have been going through chequebooks quite quickly of late because of all the claims coming in.

One of the caregivers in this case called again. She mentioned she thinks that they are now using more trappers and that they are being paid to nab these cats. Seriously, with so many areas where there are unmanaged cats, why not go to those areas if they want to 'rescue' cats? I would wager the sterilised, managed cats do much worse in a shelter - not to mention the new cats coming in due to the vacuum effect.

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Catnappers tried to grab another sterilised cat

I just spoke with the caregiver who had the run in with the two women. Apparently yesterday at around 4 or so in the afternoon, she had her back door open, and saw two women coming with three carriers. Both wore sunglasses so she could not see their faces well. She went up and asked them what they were doing, and they said that they were there to sterilise the cats. She told them that all the cats there were sterilised, so there was no need for them to be there. One of the women muttered apparently in Mandarin that good intentions do not lead to just rewards. However the caregiver was a bit suspicious and followed them.

She noticed them at a nearby block kneeling down and opening a can of what she thinks are sardines, and trying to lure another sterilised cat into the carrier. She said she ran up at this point and yelled for help but no one helped. A police station was nearby so she ran in to ask for help but when she came out, they were gone.

She said she did not see them leave though she checked out the carpark. She suspects they were driving but she's not sure.

She said she's very scared for her cats if they get their hands on them.

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Henry

Thanks to Lyanne for sending this lovely article in!

Henry the Cat

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Catnappers tried to strike again

The catnappers apparently tried to strike again yesterday - and now it seems they've moved to one of the neighbouring areas. One of the caregivers told me this morning that another caregiver saw them and asked them what they were doing. They said that they wanted to take the cats away to get them sterilised - except all the cats there ARE sterilised. The caregiver went into the police station but when she came back out with the police, the duo had disappeared. I'm going to call the caregiver in a bit as she is asleep right now for more information.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Still no news on where the cats could be

On the way down to the workshop someone rang me. She spoke to the woman who trapped the cats in this case and the trapper is worried because someone apparently said they were going to beat her up. This was the first I heard about it and I told the woman that certainly we didn't condone violence of this sort, but I said some of the feeders might have spoken out of frustration.

Apparently the cats were taken from one of the caregivers' areas or in the vicinity. I spoke to one of the caregivers afterwards and mentioned this to her and she said that one of the feeders had been so frustrated, he had said he would beat up anyone who took any of their cats. Violence is clearly not the answer, though I can understand that the feeder is feeling very frustrated. I also know they're getting increasingly worried about their cats.

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Students at workshop


Students at workshop
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Here are the students at the workshop I just gave. They want to start a programme on their school grounds which is a great idea.

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Workshop

Heading out for a TNRM workshop at a junior college now.

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Rumours

I've been speaking to more people about this case. One of the common refrains I've heard from some of the people at the cattery the other night is that the cats are safer off the streets because they might get trapped by the TC/dogs might eat them/the AVA might come down and remove all the cats.

The caregiver, who has sterilised literally a thousand cats at least, and has worked in this area for the last ten years said that yes, there used to be cases of trapping, and yes there used to be dog attacks in some of these areas but this does not happen anymore. They've started working with the TC. As she said, when the TC has a complaint, they contact her - sometimes they contact her for areas she doesn't even manage and she tries her best to help. Her officer in fact was full of praise for this caregiver and said that few caregivers are as efficient and helpful as she is. The TC as a result does not go in and trap cats when there are complaints, but approach her first. She also knows the other caregivers in the area and works with them - if they have problems, they go to her.

So because there are false rumours it looks as if the cats might have ended up getting caught. One of the women at the cattery admitted removing cats from the general area, but not from the caregiver's area. Why? Because someone had misinformation and took it as the truth? They could have checked with the caregiver up or called the TC and checked with the TC directly, or spoken to caregivers who actually look after the cats in the area every day. Any of these would have brought about a clearer picture.

Rumours are harmful - they lead to panic. They lead to people reacting sometimes in a way that would not be rational as a result. They also may well have led to cats being removed from the areas where they were cared for, managed and comfortable and led to caregivers losing cats that they love and care for. It has also led to new unsterilised cats starting to move in.

It also doesn't mean that cats removed off the streets have a better life. Cats in a cattery are more likely to contact diseases because of the sheer number and proximity of cats nearby and cats do die of this as a result. Quite a few of the people who own catteries and shelters I've spoken to said that a cattery should be a last option when no other options are available - not a place to remove well managed cats and put them in.

As the caregiver mentioned to me, when she went into the cattery the other day, she didn't think at first glance the cats were hers because her cats looked fatter, healthier and happier.

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TNRM Workshop

Packing TNRM packets of information for a workshop that I'm running this evening for a group of Junior College students.

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Fencing gardens

This was sent by the adoption volunteer and suggests some of the different fences that one could use for fencing up your garden :-

Fencing up gardens

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Refusing to sterilise

I was just speaking with a woman who does not want the cats that she feeds to be sterilised. Someone had contacted us saying that he knew the woman, and wanted to get the cats there sterilised, because there were just too many of them - he sent me a photo of the area. However the woman just wasn't keen.

I spoke with her and reminded her we had met a few weeks ago. I told her that someone now had offered to sterilise the colony in another area she was feeding in. The woman kept refusing and saying she didn't want to do it. I pointed out that this was going to be done at no cost to her, nor would she have to lift a finger. She kept insisting that she didn't want it done, but alternated with saying she didn't care about these cats. She said that she just gave them some food, but they weren't hers. I asked her why she didn't want it done, and tried to explain the benefits of sterilisation but she just kept repeating that she didn't want it done but wasn't able to articulate why. She kept repeating that they weren't her cats. In the end, I told her that since they weren't her cats then she would not have any objections if they were sterilised since they weren't her colony anyway.

The person who wanted to get them done wanted to ask her permission first since they were her cats, but he also told me that she kept insisting that they weren't her cats or her colony and that she only fed them. In the end she said she could not object if they were taken to be sterilised.

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