Thanks to Chinky for sending this in. It's surprising that it seems that Mr Lee is unaware that people have been working for many years to repeal the ban on having cats in flats. CWS has been working on it since its inception and that has been more than the 7 to 10 years that he mentioned. SPCA has also been working on this issue for many years.
During my time with CWS, we got the support of vets, gathered more than 3000 signatures in less than 3 weeks, met the HDB twice with two separate proposals (available online on the old CWS website - it is probably up on the new one as well). Even the AVA had no objections. Before I left CWS, we had sent in another request to meet with the HDB with our new proposal but were turned down flatly as they felt there was no need to revisit this issue.
CWS would have been happy to revisit the issue and we took HDB's concerns into our new proposals - but what happens when the HDB won't listen? I am sure that the many of you out there who have written and gotten HDB's stock reply will sympathetise.
It's also disingenuous that Mr Lee mentioned the case of Mr Tang. There was no active campaigning to change the law.
So where the arguments illogical then? As most of you know, our suggestion was that all cats be sterilised, microchipped and that there be a limit on cats in flats (subject to a compassionate period for existing cats as they did with the rule on dogs). There would be a register maintained, which we suggested that the RCs could help to maintain. CWS also offered to help with mediation in terms of complaints and advising irresponsible cat owners. We even had a town council willing to implement a pilot project with their RC, but again this was turned down by the HDB.
I was also taken aback that Mr Lee is so quick to tar the entire community of people working with cats with the same brush especially as he is an ex-committee member of the Singapore Cat Club. After all, isn't this the same community we're talking about?
Of course it is the duty of every citizen to obey the law, but as Mr Lee is well aware there is no law against cat feeding. In fact, his entire letter is an example of what he claims to dislike in others.
There is already a law against littering which is the same law that should be used against people who do not clear up after cat feeding. Why have an additional law to ban cat feeding specifically unless there is a particular bias against people who feed cats?
Mr Lee mentioned that "Those who feed cats near the homes of others may not experience their thievery, fighting and bad behaviour". Perhaps Mr Lee is in an estate where there are no responsible caregivers running a TNRM programme. With Mr Lee's experience, it would be great if he could start one. Certainly if the cats are fed, they would not need to 'thieve' in his words, and sterilisation would stop the fighting, though I am unclear what ‘bad behaviour’ he refers to.
If Mr Lee is serious about changing the law to allow cats in HDB flats, I am sure that people working for animal welfare would be happy to have him on board. One wonders though what his suggestion would be for the many community cats that cannot be housed even if the rule is relaxed.