I spoke with a caregiver this morning. It seems that the town council officer gave her 24 hours to remove a cat because it hissed at someone. She mentioned that she quickly had it removed because she was worried. Another caregiver was however quite unhappy about this, thinking the TC officer had been unreasonable and I tend to agree.
The caregiver who called me also felt the officer was not being fair, but she's worried that if she complains, that he won't call her in the future. Also she said that the cat was actually wandering around upstairs on the third floor of a block.
I asked her if she had spoken with the officer about not removing the cat and asked if she thought it was aggressive. She said the cat hisses but is defensive. I also asked if she had tried to find the feeder so the cat won't go up as the cat is highly unlikely to be walking upstairs otherwise. She said that she was worried that the people in the block would mind her asking. She also said that they might not admit to being the ones who fed the cat or who were the cat's owners.
I told her that if she doesn't try, then she'll never know whether they do come forward or not. In addition, if you knock on peoples' doors or slip flyers underneath, they may mind, but what other options are there?
I also told her that she has to be more assertive with the officer. There is a big difference between being aggressive and rude and being more assertive. The problem is that this particular caregiver tends to be easily intimidated - by other caregivers, by the TC, by residents. As such, she tends to give it.
If the officer has two competing parties - one party complaining loudly that the cats be removed on one hand, and a timid, shy caregiver on the other, who will the TC listen to? It's much easier to lean on the caregiver and get them to remove the cats.
Is this fair? Of course not - but if you happen to have an officer who is trying to resolve a problem as quickly as possible, they'll try and work on the party who is less likely to complain. It's human nature. In this case, if the officer tells the caregiver the cats are a problem she removes them promptly. Problem solved for the officer.
So it is absolutely essential to be a bit more firm when dealing with officers. It's not about being hostile and unfriendly - it's about not being a pushover. Either that or you have to be prepared to keep removing cats for the long haul whenever you get a call.