Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gathering support

I've recently learnt about a case where a previously successful TNRM programme seems to be in shambles. Several years ago, a condominium tried to outlaw cat feeding, among other things. However, there was a public outcry, and residents within the condominium spoke out against in.

In addition, the condominium decided to try and implement a TNRM programme. At the time, there were about 30 cats. The condominium management decided to fund the sterilisation of the community cats instead of spending the money (which worked out to a few thousand dollars a year) to trap and kill the cats.

At the time that I left CWS, the programme was still in place. There were some complaints, but the cats were all sterilised and the one recalcitrant feeder seemed to have been persuaded to stop. The last time I met with the management, we were told by some members on the management committee that they had seen a decrease in the number of cats and no new kittens born.

Unfortunately, as time passed, many of the caregivers moved out of the estate. I understand that now there are only 6 or 7 cats left - certainly a huge drop from the original pool of cats. However, at the last AGM, the management committee managed to change the bylaws to outlaw feeding by gathering enough votes to do so. They are not taking action against a feeder there.

This is something that is always a worry - that there are a few committed caregivers and that when they leave, the programme will fall apart. The idea of planning succession is a good one, but it isn't always easy to find someone willing to take over. Some of the time, no new caregivers come forward. On other occasions, the existing feeder doesn't like other people getting involved. Another huge problem is that while it is almost always possible to find feeders, finding caregivers isn't that easy - people either do not have the inclination, the personality or the time to be a caregiver.

What you can do however, if you are in an estate is to sign up with your Residents Committee or Management Committee. This will at least meant that you are in a position to influence what happens in your area. It also means that you are given a heads up should something be happening.

It's also a good idea to rally support early in your community. If you are a caregiver, note whom seems friendly and supportive and try and find a way to get in touch with them. It may be essential should you need to show that there are people who want to allow a TNRM programme to run.

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