Monday, December 29, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
I am very glad to see that MUIS is supportive of sterilisation of animals, and promotes kindness to animals. However I was disappointed to see that they mentioned that if an animal causes conflict in the family, it is permissible to kill it. Aminah, who is Muslim herself, was quite disturbed by this and sent in the link, urging everyone to write to MUIS.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I am not disputing that in any investment there is risk, but this isn't money that an investor is investing on his or her own behalf. This is taxpayers' money that has been entrusted to TCs.
A while ago some of you may remember seeing my post about how much TCs have in reserves. How does this relate to cats? Obviously because if there seems to be not much public feedback/insight into how this money is being spent, then money is being spent on things that people don't want or agree with - point in case, higher risk investments and also on things like spending money on pest control costs. Instead, if residents had a say in it, perhaps this money could be put to better use in sterilising cats - it seems arguable that it would have cost less in Holland-Bukit Panjang's case then the amount they may have potentially lost. As an aside, Teo Ho Pin is also the MP we met who told us that there should be 'zero stray policy' in TCs.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I think the main problem is that no wants to take on the cat issue because it means more work for them - the TCs don't want it. HDB doesn't want it. Just because it's unpleasant or means more work doesn't mean that it should be ignored - regulation of cat ownership, not a ban is probably going to result in LESS work overall, because there are likely to be less complaints. This is because (1) cat owners who have guidelines now are more likely to follow them as opposed to now, where anything goes and (2) people will stop complaining for frivolous reasons - or at least these complaints can be ignored if there is no good reason for them. Right now HDB deals with repeat complaints with no merit just because a cat is present.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
For those of you who saw or read President-Elect Barak Obama's victory speech the other night, he promised his daughters a new puppy. Here's a video that is about that, but which I think gives good advice on what to look for when adopting in general.
I was speaking with someone the other day who was worried about shelter animals because she felt buying an animal would ensure some sort of assurance on the temperament of the animal. Really however as this video points out, it is the animal, not the breed, or where the animal comes from, that is important.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I always wonder how someone can claim with a straight face that they love animals and then proudly proclaim that they have killed so many of them. I also don't believe the SPCA approves of him getting rid of the cats :)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Today is National Feral Cat Day in the US (16th October) and I went down to celebrate with Alley Cat Allies and the people they invited. There was a video, a silent auction and just the opportunity to speak with other feral cat caregivers and advocates.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Eventually the dog went home last night safely - but one wonders. Many shelters 'blame' the people who give up animals - but if their own policies are so terrible, are just the people who give the animals up to blame? It almost seems as if it would be easier for the shelter workers to put the animals down - and then blame the people who brought them in in the first place.
Nathan Winograd makes the same point in his book Redemption, which I blogged about earlier. Why not just make it easier for people to adopt cats and dogs? Shockingly, they just might end up taking more animals home!
Monday, October 13, 2008
These pet shop owners apparently ask potential buyers to sign a contract before selling their huskies. While it's certainly better than no screening, wouldn't it be best if they just didn't sell huskies at all?
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
I saw this sign the other day when I was out and have just sent it to CWS. If they're interested in solving the problem (and I have spoken to some feeders in the area in the past and I do think there is some validity) then this might be a good starting point to work with them. If not, they should at least take those photos off, since those are CWS' photos.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
This is certainly very disturbing. Shooting wolves from planes? Factcheck does add some clarifying details, but it certainly seems that most of it is true. Shooting animals is already terrible in my book - shooting animals with an unfair advantage is much, much worse.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
There were a lot of nice articles about animals, including an ASD article in the press on Saturday - unfortunately they cannot be accessed unless you have a Straits Times account.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
What I was impressed by was that the caregivers were not taken in by this, and one of them immediately wrote to the TC for clarification (the officer so far has been giving rather unsatisfactory answers to this one caregiver). Even more impressive though, was the fact that the other caregivers in the area also chimed in with their dissatisfaction. They wrote to query why the TC had done this, and wanted to get some answers even though their areas weren't affected directly during this occasion. I am pretty sure they will get a response to their concerted efforts.
It's this willingness to work together - and the fact that they are not isolationist in their approach (ie I only care about my cats in MY area) that makes this group so effective. If every group could work similarly, then the cats will be truly protected. Squabbles among caregivers really should have no place in dealing with the TC - if a united front cannot be presented, then why would the TC work with anyone in the area?
Friday, September 19, 2008
The woman refuses mediation and just wants to complain to everyone. I wonder if it's a ploy to get rid of her mother-in-law, whom she doesn't seem to be very happy with.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
I read this lovely book over the last few days. It's about a little cat that was found dumped in a bookdrop of a library on the coldest night of the year and how he became not just the library's mascot, but the town's symbol.
Dewey wasn't an extraordinary cat in that he didn't do special tricks or save babies from burning buildings - but he did have a huge capacity for love and that was what set him apart. He eventually became famous all over the world and brought fame to his town of Spencer, Iowa.
It's an easy read and a heartwarming book about how a cat (and a small kindness) can change lives - and especially the life of Vicki Myron who wrote the book about him.
A big thank you to Anna from Hachette Book Group who sent me the book to review.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Firstly, a whale shark isn't a 'pet' in any sense of the word. Secondly, even if the argument is that people want to see the whale shark up close, this isn't a zoo. Arguably zoos do have an important role to play - in conservation and also in allowing people to see animals up close. This is a commercial entity that is basically bringing in a novelty - what happens when the novelty is gone? Thirdly, a tank cannot replicate the shark's natural environment. When entertainment takes precedence over life and dignity, it makes one wonder.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Here's an interesting video from ACA on trapping - obviously not everything is applicable to Singapore (and it would be very difficult to get so many traps at one time) but there are some good pointers.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I know some caregivers will cremate the cats, and I can understand that. After all, everyone wants to honour a deceased loved cat. However it can be a very expensive proposition. If it's at the expense of the other community cats, then I think that it would be best to spend the money on the other cats that are alive in the colony. Those few hundred dollars could do a lot for the other cats who could benefit from the money.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Poor Salina - I wish you the best mediating in what is obviously a very difficult case, which really isn't cat related to begin with!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
At the moment I'm living in the country, and it's amazing how many birds you see out here (including wild rabbits, badgers, etc). I've been fascinated by the Canadian geese that I see flying overhead morning and evening and that are in the field down the road from where I live.
I found that they can be a nuisance to some, or that they can be hurt when they come into contact with aircraft, etc. Here's an ingenious way to stop the birds from getting into those areas without killing/harming them. I also like that rescue dogs are often used.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Some of these problems are unavoidable - but if there IS any way to plan and someone thinks their life isn't stable enough for an animal, then please don't get one. When people date and have a 'joint pet', what happens when they break up and no one wants the animal for example? Or if you know you're living in a rental apartment that doesn't allow animals and that you have to move?
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Also please remember - keep your cats in. They could get lost easily otherwise.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Just the other day, a child ran behind my car as I was reversing. Do we then ask that children be banned from the roads because they could potentially be a danger?
Friday, July 25, 2008
I remember meeting someone at a conference a few years ago, and he mentioned that because rabies is rampant where he's from (someone had just gotten bitten), sterilisation of dogs was pursued aggressively and they saw fewer people get bitten, and better results healthwise. With less dogs, there will be less attacks, and less incidents obviously. Try and round the dogs up, and there will always be those that elude the traps and will just run around reproducing, meaning there will always be more dogs.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Certainly yesterday's poster was better than this gem sent in by coboypb. Is one of the cats chasing the others? And if it's about stopping irresponsible feeding why is there no evidence of feeding at all? If I didn't read English, it'd look to me as if it said no cats - perhaps the subliminal message the TC is trying to put across?
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Thanks to Chinky for sending this in. As he very succinctly put it, this is better than a 'no feeding' poster but still isn't a responsible feeding poster. Would it really kill TCs to put up a poster telling people to feed responsibly?
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I was at a friend's house today - and this is her cat waiting for his dinner (you can see the bowl on his right) :) He would poke at her when she took too long with the food. This got my friend and I talking about the various ways your cats tell you that it's time to eat. How does your cat remind you that you've forgotten feeding time?
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Here are some photos to melt your heart - Odd couples.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
If you go to the Animal and Birds Act at the Singapore Statutes online however and look at Section 42(1) (f), you'll see that not only is abandonment a crime, it is defined specifically as cruelty to animals.
Monday, June 30, 2008
She has spoken with the feeder several times and she says that she doesn't want to get the feeder into trouble because the feeder's husband doesn't like her to feed. The irony in this case is that she says the TC has been quite sympathetic but that the area is a mess and she can see why there are complaints.
After the TC called the last time, she said that she spoke with the feeder again. The feeder threatened to stop feeding - but then left food again that same night. The caregiver explained that the cats might get rounded up and killed, but the feeder was unmoved and said that if that was what happened, then so be it.
I told the caregiver she may have no choice but to let the TC know whom the feeder is. Perhaps if the feeder's husband finds out and is disapproving, that may be a factor that will cause her to stop - and stop putting the cats in danger.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I realise the irony about all the talk about obsessive pet owners who spoil their pets and then posting this photo, but I swear this wasn't an expensive toy! I actually bought it in a supermarket which goes to show it can't have cost too much :)
Scout loved it when we opened it for her.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Say you had a person who liked children so much that they decided to go out and say kidnap a few. Would that person described as someone who loves children? Chances are that person would be locked up. When it comes to animals however, any behaviour is explained because the person is an 'animal lover'. It seems that there is a bias that if you like animals then you're probably not too sane to begin with. Tell that to the 71.1 million households that have animals living with them in the US alone - I don't know of an equivalent study in Singapore.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Thanks to Chinky for sending in this poster. I believe that the section that the poster may be referring to is Section 17 of the Environmental Public Health Act. You can look it up at Singapore Statutes Online. However that section refers to 'throw or leave behind' food or food containers. Caregivers aren't doing that - they are feeding the cats but are going back to clean up afterward.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Again thank you Chinky for this.
Here on the other hand, is an example of a bad poster. This came from a bigger poster on feeding pigeons as well. This poster also makes no sense - if the cats are fed, they are LESS likely to go into garbage bins. Hungry cats do that - but well fed cats are far LESS likely to do that.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
First, the cats on this island were killed because supposedly they were killing the iguanas. Here's an article on the various things that are killing the iguanas - if you look at it, it seems that the iguanas went extinct after an army base went up during World War II and several of the iguanas have been killed by cars (20 out of a population of 220 or so at the time). So my question is - why cats? It seems odd again to me that cats are singled out. Why not ban cars on the island, or aircraft since they seem to be a significant factor in why the iguanas are dying? I also wonder what percentage of the iguanas dying can be linked to the cats? Also is it not possible that it's just greater human activity (with all its attendant issues) that has led to the population of iguanas dropping?
Secondly, there was an increase apparently in the iguana population, but at the same time this may well have been due to the fact that iguanas were introduced or other factors. If you introduce say X number of iguanas and they are old enough to reproduce, then it's not a surprise really that the population would increase. So why were cats killed as a first result before taking all these other issues into consideration?
Fortunately a group called Animal Balance was started to deal with this and to do TNR on the islands. They are working with the local authorities to get all the cats and dogs sterilised. I saw a presentation that the founder did at a conference a few years ago and now have a renewed appreciation of the work she is doing.
It seems that one of the problems is importation of animals - which is supposedly not allowed. While it seems that Sea Shepherd has a problem with the cats and dogs being there as well, they do not want the cats to be killed and are working with Animal Balance though they want the law on dogs and cats to be strictly enforced. What I did find interesting in the editorial as well was that it seems that many birds were seen killed by traffic - and the presence of cats was noted. I am not sure however that this correlates with the cats killing the birds or lizards - just because the cat was there doesn't mean the cat necessarily killed the lizard or bird.
At the same time, having a group like Animal Balance working there means that the animals are in better health and less likely to have disease. It would be almost impossible to stop people owning cats and dogs as well, so it's best to ensure that they know how to do it responsibly.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I'm posting this after reading some letters and thinking about some comments that people have made to the press. I am sure that most people when speaking to the press mean well - they want to share information/get the message out and the press can be an incredibly powerful ally. After all, they have the reach that none of us have and is a great way to get your message out there.
On the other hand, remember the power of the press can work both ways. It's a double edged sword and has brought even Presidents down. It can also be very harmful if the wrong message gets out.
So here are a few basic pointers I think are worth bearing in mind when dealing with the press.
Firstly, what is your message? I have spoken to caregivers who were thinking of writing in or going on television who did not have know what message they wanted to impart. If you don't know what you're trying to say, you can't convey it. You are also far more likely to say something that can be harmful to your cause.
Secondly, keep it concise. You need your message to be short. If it's in a letter, then check what the word limit is - most forums will have one. The less you put in there, the less the editors will have to cut out.
On television it's even more important to be concise. When you see someone on television in advertisements, you rarely hear them give long, rambling discussions. They speak in soundbites - short, pithy, easily remembered sentences. These should be as short as possible - around 30 seconds at most.
Thirdly, focus on one issue at a time. There are often many reasons for why something happens. For example, why are cats killed? Is it because of complaints? Abandonment? People who aren't sterilising? Irresponsible feeders? The list goes on. Too many issues cloud the whole discussion. Focus on one or two of these issues - you can also mention the rest at a later time. What are the most important issues right now in response to what you want to get across?
Fourth, weigh the pros and cons. If you're going to the press, what do you hope to achieve exactly? There must be an end goal. If the end goal is just 'press attention' I suggest you re-think it. That attention has to serve some purpose. Also weigh the bad press and backlash you are going to get in response - and there will always be backlash. For example, in this case of the Jurong dogs, the backlash is obviously one, that ALL animals could get complained about because there will be complainants who like neither cats nor dogs. Two, it can be blown up into what becomes a schism in the animal welfare groups - ie dog versus cat.
Fifth, remember you set the agenda. You don't have to talk to the press. If they ask you a question that you're not comfortable with, then you can refuse to answer. Sometimes saying nothing is better than saying something harmful. It's best in fact if you are doing an interview - radio, television, etc - to get a copy of the questions beforehand so you can prepare.
Sixth, if you DO get thrown a difficult question, you can choose to answer it or not. However if you can answer in a calm, reasonable manner, then do. If you are able to bring up facts, even better. For example, a 'controversial question' may be about why all cat feeders are crazy, unmarried women. If you are able to, then it would be a good time to contradict that and say that this is untrue and that caregivers cut across all races, genders and marital status. The more factual your comment, the less likely they are going to be able to drum it up into something 'controversial'.
Finally, always be polite and act reasonably. If you're going on television, dress sensibly. Wearing a t-shirt that says "the more I meet people, the more I like my cat" for example may be amusing to those of us who see it is a joke. To the general public however it may spell crazy cat person who doesn't care about people's concerns.
I am sure there are many other little pointers people who have dealt with the press can share. If you'd be willing to share some of those pointers, please do!
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
If something can be done to ensure that all feeders are responsible caregivers then there really won't be a problem. The issue is that often when letters like these are published, it focuses attention on the wrong thing - the dogs and not the feeders . Nothing is going to happen to the feeders. After all, not sterilising is not illegal. However irresponsible behaviour of the feeders is going to lead to more animals being killed.
It would be good if the responsible caregivers - both dog and cat caregivers - speak up about sterilisation and what behaviour should be practised. With one voice, they should decry the practices of irresponsible feeders - whether they feed dogs, cats, monkeys or lizards. If an animal is hungry, it will eat - it's not the cat or dog's fault that it didn't get sterilised obviously.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Unfortunately he is at it again with this new letter. Again he refuses to acknowledge that these aren't pet cats but community cats. Also I love how the vacuum effect is dismissed as 'not practical in our highly urbanised theory' - and some people say the same about evolution. Just because it doesn't suit your point of view doesn't mean it's not true because the facts speak for themselves. As I've said time and again, there shouldn't be ANY cats left in his estate if the vacuum effect isn't true.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
So should pets and community animals really be treated differently? I believe so. The reason obviously is that in terms of a pet, or companion animal, someone has decided to take this animal in, assume responsibility and will care for it. I would say it's similar to adopting a child - you can't then decide to let the child run riot without supervision because the child wasn't yours originally, or abandon the animal or child when you get tired of the responsibility.
On the other hand, community cats are on the street - no one 'owns' them. What they do have are a group of caregivers who are helping to take care of them. They help sterilise them, feed them, clean up responsibly and help to ensure they don't cause problems.
Now the problem arises usually when the boundaries between the two cross - for example, it's often the case that a home owner will allow a pet to roam, and this pet then defecates outside someone else's home. Then the community cat gets blamed. We've seen this played out time and again.
We can argue that people should get over their fear of pets, or community cats - but for some people that fear is deep-rooted. It doesn't necessarily mean that everyone frightened of cats or dogs want them killed (I used to be frightened of cats but I never wanted them to be killed), but here both community cat caregivers and pet owners can play an important role.
By choosing to feed somewhere more unobtrusive, it brings less attention to the cats - and will also mean the cats are less likely to run into people who are frightened of them.
Pet owners can remember to leash their dogs - and here's a thing that irks me no end, keep their cats in! If you know that the cat is defecating outside a neighbour's home, or there is a chance they might and you KNOW your neighbours are not okay with it, why would people not keep their cats in? I just heard of a case I tried to mediate with and the cat owner in this case refuses to keep her cats in. Her cats have been caught, sent to the AVA, she had them released and she still releases them. Why take the risk seriously?
Do I think her neighbour was right to trap and send her cats in to the AVA? Of course not. But knowing that her neighbour is doing this, why not keep the cats in? The neighbour complains that her cats are defecating in their garden - and she claims they do not, but as long as the cats are let out, this argument will never end.
It doesn't mean she can't continue to pursue whatever courses of action are available to her - but at the same time, keep your cat safe - and indoors! What happens if you're too late one day and your cat is killed? All the outrage in the world is not going to bring your cat home.