Thursday, January 31, 2008
I do wish though that instead of flying dogs in (presumably I am guessing so that they are well trained) that they would adopt dogs off the streets instead. In an earlier post, I wrote about the strict rules the US military has on animals. There are some groups which also try and reunite the dogs with the soldiers once they have returned to the US. In times of stress, the bond that you form with an animal is probably even more profound - and I can't imagine being separated forever from an animal I share my life with, especially knowing that the animal might be in danger.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I found this quite unusual - first of all, if the complaint was about defecation, then what did she do to offer solutions and explain what she is doing? Secondly, if her consideration is that she 'only wants to help the street cats' then the cats aren't in any danger because according to her, the family isn't going to trap the cats (whether this is true or not, I have my doubts - some people if they feel that they have been pushed beyond a certain point, will trap). Also, if her 'only' concern is the cats (which she said), then the issue of the family telling her off is really secondary, because it has nothing to do with the cats. It has to do with her being unhappy at being told off. Sterilisation however, IS directly relevant - to the cats.
By now, most of you may have heard about how the Complaints choir's public performances had to be cancelled because some non-Singaporeans took part in it.
Here's a video of the performance - it's a bit long to watch and you may want to just go to their website to read the lyrics. Unfortunately cats get complained about too (complete with meowing) - but as JaQ who sent me this (thank you!) said, that's a pretty typical complaint as as all of us know all too well.
It's an interesting project because the things people complain about are reflective in a way on both the things complained about as well as the psyche of the people complaining, which I am sure was the point.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Relocation should only ever always be the last option. Removing the cats just means new cats will move in. You cannot keep removing cats forever - nor does it help.
In this case, I urged her to call up the TC and complain. She is thinking of waiting to see the MP, which is fine - but she can also make a complaint based on the behaviour of the officer. For example, the officer does not seem to know what is allowed or not allowed under the bylaws, and is trying to threaten her - all of which is pretty bad customer service. You can, and should, complain to the TC if the officer is in any way rude or threatening. It's just bad service - and every town council officer is the face of their TC and should be expected to adhere to a certain standard of service.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Some of you may remember this case. E_Cat and Aliah were able to get into the woman's house again finally last Wednesday.
They found that most of the cats were plumper and that this cat with an eye infection was doing well too. 5 of the cats were let out to run around.
Unfortunately, 5 of the cats were back in cages, and two of them were still unsterilised. In addition, one cat had died. She had also taken all the fencing that E_Cat had put up for her to prevent the cats from falling out the window.
It seems that she had gotten the letter we had sent her last year asking to be let in, but had ignored it.
E_Cat and Aliah have asked her to adopt out half of the cats and she has agreed. CWS has agreed to pay for the two unsterilised cats. If anyone knows someone who might adopt these cats, drop me an email and I'll let E_Cat know. Thanks!
Thanks to Tarsier Girl for sending this in. She reminds me very much of Scout (above), who has come to live with us - though Scout had a deformed fourth paw and now has three (and a half) legs. And she too is very adept at getting around with three paws.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
However as I read the email I realised that she mentioned that there were several cats including kittens. I wrote to ask her if she was sterilising the cats. She said that she was not and that she wanted someone from CWS to do it as she was scared to see the cats trapped and sterilised and she wanted to take care of the 'feeding'. There is no one else in the area except her as far as I know.
I wrote back to say that if she continues to feed without sterilising the cats, the population will grow. This will lead to more cats and hence more complaints - and it is likely that neighbours will start trapping the cats when the population grows. I asked her to please consider sterilising.
Imagine this - someone comes into your estate. You don't know anything about cats but you do know that since she arrived there are far more cats than there used to be including kittens. It's not a surprise that they might get annoyed.
She just wrote back to say that she wanted everyone to pretend that she had never written at all.
It still surprises me that some people feed without thinking of the consequences. Yes I know some people are poor - but there are resources to help those people, including CWS having programmes to help those in financial need. If they keep feeding without sterilising though, the population will grow, especially if the cats are being fed well. This means more cats are likely to be born - and to survive into adulthood. And this will mean more complaints - which means at the end of the day MORE cats are likely to get trapped and killed.
Here's the thing I've noticed. Yes there are some really difficult officers - but there are also some really difficult feeders. The rest however are basically people who are trying to do their job. If you can work with them and show that you are trustworthy - and expect that same level of trust from them - they generally reciprocate.
I've noticed that in the areas where the cats are pretty safe, that the basis of most of them is a good working relationship with the TC or the officer in charge of whichever area this is in. It does not mean you have to be best friends - and after all, this is a working relationship, so a certain degree of formality should be there. Don't expect to have the officer's number as a matter of course for example unless they're comfortable giving it out - think of it this way, if you're working at a job, do you want someone to call you at home when you're watching television and trying to relax to ask you about some work related matter? Generally most people would not. If you do get the number, try not to call unnecessarily after office hours unless it is an emergency. Having said that, there are several people I know whose officers do give out their numbers because they are comfortable with them enough - and they know these residents won't abuse it.
I just saw an email that a caregiver sent to his MP - and in it, he specifically mentioned that he wanted to say that he had a good working relationship with his officer. I thought that was a very nice email to send. The MP wrote back to say he was glad that residents and the TC were working together. The officer will certainly be happy to have been acknowledged by a resident to the MP - and this will likely have a positive effect on their working relationship too.
If an officer is unprofessional, rude or basically unhelpful, then you should bring it up - but praise should also be given where praise is due.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I think though that there are a few things that I realised from this. First of all, it can be very disappointing and distressing when you think of all your work going down the drain and that's completely understandable - so it's good to step back, think about your next step, and when you are calm enough to then decide what you want to do. Take that time out - you've been disappointed and you need time to regroup - and then decide on your next course of action without being too clouded by emotion.
Secondly, it's important to find out whom or what the exact obstacle is in your programme. If the problem is a certain person who refuses to listen to reason, then you may want to go to the next person in hierarchy and speak with them. If there is a specific issue that they are worried about (abandonment, increase in the number of cats), then you need to know what it is so you can counter it as well. You then need to decide what you need to counter that evidence - could it be statistics you've been keeping in the area? Other people who can bolster your case with supporting evidence? You need to decide what is important to your case and then gather what is necessary.
Thirdly, remember at the end of the day if you are dealing with a town council officer, a person from a statutory body, or someone who is from the authorities, that they are there to serve members of the public. Don't be intimidated by them just because they hold a position. They are there to serve you and members of the public. They are in fact accountable to members of the public - as the many letters to the forum page where people write in to complain about a variety of things happening show. If you notice, every one of those letters which involves a town council, statutory board or government agency is promptly responded to - and that is because they are accountable to members of the public.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I read Redemption over the weekend and thought it was a really good book. It was thought provoking and a good summary of the No-Kill movement and what's been happening in the US. Not everything obviously is applicable to Singapore (I don't think we have an increase in homes wanting animals as in the US because of the HDB rule for one) but much of it is good common sense - for example, if you want people to come and adopt from a shelter, you need to be open at hours that they can come (ie after office hours) and not when they are working because then you're cutting out the people you most want - people with jobs. Obviously he says that the backbone of no-kill is having a low cost spay-neuter programme because people are much more likely to sterilise when it's cheap or free.
Winograd comes up with basically several steps to follow to basically be No-Kill but the most basic one is that there has to be a will to do it and not to be entrenched in what is commonly thought. For example - there are irresponsible people abandoning animals, hence we have no choice but to kill. He believes one does not follow the other - there ARE irresponsible people and thus shelters exist. However he believes in tapping into the community to try and find solutions - and that if the community knows a shelter is no-kill, then they are much more likely to want to help. Again, with smaller households and the no-cat rule, I think finding fosters is harder here too - but even if not every step can be replicated, certainly going down that road is a start.
Monday, January 21, 2008
She said that she spoke with the complainant who had spoken with me a while ago. The complainant she said was quite nice and had used mothballs, sticks in their flowerpots and bleach but said they could not do so all the time. Here's the strange thing - the complainant used to feed the cats too! At the same time, the complainant told the caregiver that it could not be the orange cat defecating as he was 'friends' with the orange cat.
The caregiver is at her wit's end at this point. She asked for advice. I asked her to emphasise to the complainant that the cats would be killed - all of them, including his friend the orange cat.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
At the same time, increasing disputes between neighbours, also reported in the Sunday Times, is also something I know many of you will not be surprised by - and often the cats are caught in the middle. Is it because we're just getting too intolerant? Or are we living too close to one another or is a matter of both these factors and more? Possibly it's also due to our belief that the authorities will take care of everything. For example, the woman who complained that her neighbour doesn't bathe and wants to start a petition to get the authorities to do something. I can appreciate it can be unpleasant to have a neighbour who may smell bad, but what can the authorities do? Force the neighbour to have a shower? Some things you just have to grin and bear - or perhaps just stand downwind.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I've been by and the cats are sterilised and there are only three of them -I do hope that the condo won't remove the cats but will work with the caregivers to allow them to stay.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Dispute over welfare of 130 cats to involve authorities
You can also click on the accompanying video. Sadly the losers in this are once again the cats. It also unfortunately does give the impression that feeders fight among themselves and aren't very united even when they are supposedly all working for the same cause. It does reinforce a negative stereotype.
I do not know the situation in this particular instance (though I do know both feeders) but I think this shows once again why shelters cannot work. No matter how well you try and run it, it's a huge drain on resources and so many more cats could be helped with the money. Imagine what can be done with $30000 a year to help the community cats and how many cats could have been helped with that same sum of money.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
It was a shame that a more balanced viewpoint was not put across though Selina from the SPCA did speak well about TNRM. It would have been better to perhaps try and find caregivers and to interview them rather than to lie in wait for them. That would I think have prepared the people who were to be interviewed and would have meant that someone who was willing to go on camera might be found. Passers by also looked pretty apprehensive when a camera was shoved into their face - and caregivers who are often made to feel guilty or even criminal about their behaviour are probably even LESS likely to want to be interviewed on television and is I think understandable. It would also give a better idea of whom caregivers are - they certainly aren't all (or even mostly) women having marital problems (though I know that was given as just an example) but come from a wide range of occupations, ages, races and gender and people all feed for many different reasons. Ask ten different people and I would not be surprised if you might get ten different answers.
I hope the colony there doesn't get into trouble after this piece.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
One of the journalists contacted me but unfortunately only did so after I had left CWS, and I explained that I could not speak as a representative, and that it was best to contact the Society directly. I did say however that if they needed members of the public to speak in some context, I'd be happy to. I understand the journalist did contact a few animal welfare groups so hopefully we'll see some of that during the programme!
Kaori has written to the home. He thinks it unlikely that they'll let the cat stay at the home, but being extremely sweet about it, he would like to give the man some closure. As such, he's asking if the home will let him bring the cat for a visit.
Monday, January 7, 2008
I'm not suggesting that children are the exact equivalent to animals - but I DO think that for many people, the animals are part of their families, and it is a wise company that appreciates that and makes arrangement for staff that are sent overseas for example. I would think staff would be much more inclined to go abroad - and to be more loyal to a company that takes care of the welfare of themselves and their families, both human and animal.
Even for those employees who aren't the most responsible of owners, it would be helpful. It would certainly help to cut down on abandonment for example if employees are posted overseas - they would be more inclined to take their animals with them and there might be less dumped animals when people go to their next posting.
Michelle has been quite busy so was only able to pass her all the CWS files on Saturday - this photo was taken after a box or two had been removed from my room. The car was so packed that I wasn't sure everything could fit into it! Note Pinball in the left hand corner directing operations :)
Friday, January 4, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Singapore hospitals may get first robotic seals
The first thought I had was why a robotic animal when one could have a real one - but the article says it is to cut down on allergies, scratches, biting, and other inconveniences like having to work around volunteer's schedules, if they bring in live animals.
That's life isn't it? The whole point of life is that it IS messy and often inconvenient, but that's what makes is special. You can programme a robotic seal to replicate the behaviour of affection, but not affection itself. I'd take the real animal over a well-trained robot, programmed to show affection anytime. Kind of how I think most people would still have rather interaction with real people rather than robots. What's next? Replacing doctors and nurses with robots who don't spread infection, and who would be sure to give the 'right' clinical diagnosis based on the symptoms the patient shows?
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
And here's an interesting article about how cats were used to get rid of a rat problem - note, the cats didn't have to KILL the rats just leave their scent around for the rats and mice to decide to leave the area alone. That's one thing people often ask - if cats kill rats and mice - but often they just need to be present for the mice and rats to move away. That's certainly been my experience when I moved once - the mice all vacated the building once my cats moved in.