Friday, July 31, 2009
July 31, 2009
Cruel of owner to abandon defenceless puppy
ON TUESDAY, I visited Lower Peirce Reservoir in Old Upper Thomson Road. Next to the fishing area, I saw a little puppy emerge at dusk from the dense undergrowth. A good breed, it was not more than three months old. Just before that, I heard a commotion from some monkeys. I do not know if they had been attacking the puppy.
I thought it incomprehensible and cruel for someone to abandon a puppy like that. It came out twice but as I approached, it went back into the undergrowth. At least if it were a big dog it could fend for itself. This was just a scared little puppy and I felt so sad at man's inhumanity.
I know the Government and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are doing all they can to educate people to have pets only if they are able to look after them. I feel more has to be done, especially in educating younger children as they often get their parents to buy pets for them. Later, they cannot cope with their pets and abandon them. We cannot give in to a child's every whim.
Perhaps more needs to be done, like implanting microchips in pets or imposing more rules on ownership. Heavy fines should be levied if the dog can be traced.
Miriam Jayasuriya (Ms)
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Why tough decision to put down animals must be made
I REFER to the Forum Online letter by Jeanne Nicole Chan, "Trapping and dumping strays and pets unbecoming in gracious Singapore", on Saturday, in which she asked, "Is there really no way to strive for a 'no kill' shelter?"
The reasons the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) would perform euthanasia include terminal illness or injury where there is no possibility of recovery, behavioural problems that pose a threat to other animals or humans, stray overpopulation, disease transmission, and old age where the quality of life is impaired by major loss of functions.
Sadly, this includes the lack of shelter space which results in shelter overcrowding. Overcrowding threatens the lives of all the animals in our care due to stress, weakened immune systems and increased risk of disease transmission. This requires the SPCA to make difficult decisions about euthanasia based on health, physical, emotional and psychological suffering, and the best interests of the animals receiving care at the shelter.
While some individuals argue that a shelter can easily achieve "no-kill" by refusing to accept surplus animals once it is full, one needs to understand that the consequence of such a move could result in an increase in the number of animals being abandoned on the street or being given up to another shelter or organisation if they have room to take on more. This begs the question: Does the SPCA refuse to accept animals and refer them elsewhere so it can achieve a "no-kill" label?
This no doubt would cause people to question why the SPCA is then abandoning its responsibility to provide shelter (even if it is temporary due to our adoption selection process) to unwanted strays and pets.
To put things into perspective, the SPCA receives 22 or more animals daily (which include those that may be chronically old, sick or injured). This means an average of 600 animals taken in a month, and over 7,000 animals in a year. With only 1,100 being adopted on a yearly basis, the SPCA cannot possibly find homes fast enough for all the animals that come through its doors.
Over the years, the SPCA has moved from blind acceptance to counselling. This includes education on responsible ownership to understanding reasons for giving up the animal to encouraging people to take their pets home again. In most cases though, despite our efforts, we end up taking in the animal and bearing the burden of having to decide the animal's fate.
We dream of the ideal where we do not have to put animals down because they are part of a surplus; and while the SPCA hopes to put into effect this policy some day, it will be able to realise this vision only with the help of a society that respects animals and treats them humanely.
Deirdre Moss (Ms)
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Address root cause
05:55 AM Jul 30, 2009
Letter from Melissa Lim May Lin
I WRITE with regard to the plan to cull pigeons in various constituencies, including Marine Parade GRC.
Pest control companies have been hired by the Town Council to control the pigeon population in the area.
I have seen dead pigeons lying around, resulting not only in unsightly surroundings, but more importantly, a danger to the children and pets around the area.
As I understand, pigeons have gathered in the area because residents throw food either out from their windows or at street level. The pigeons would not have otherwise congregated and hence become pests.
I find it appalling that instead of addressing the root cause - by conducting ample investigations into finding who these errant residents are and issuing them a warning or punishing them for littering - the Town Council is utilising collective funds to hire pest control companies to cull the pigeons.
I would imagine that a proper investigation into the perpetrators of littering would be more cost-efficient than addressing the symptoms of the problem. The Town Council should take measures to deal with the littering problem, rather than add to it by culling pigeons.
I need not emphasise the inhumanity in the act of culling.
Aside from that, I hope the Town Council understands that the use of funds for such a purpose which does not address the root cause of the problem is worrying.
This is especially so because of what I term the vacuum effect, where a population of animals (pigeons in this case) are removed but because the root cause (i.e. food) remains present in the space, another population will enter - thus resulting in a never-ending cycle of culling, and no ease to the situation at hand.
Funds should be spent on addressing residents' real problems, not symptoms.
Do recognise our passion for stray cats
05:55 AM Jul 30, 2009
Letter from Dr Tan Chek Wee
HDB residents like myself, who team up with fellow residents over a common interest of improving the lives of stray cats, by applying "trap, neuter, release and manage", generally dislike being called "cat lovers" as the term conjures up a negative stereotypical portrayal.
We prefer terms like care-givers or care-takers. We do not want more cats but want to achieve less cats humanely instead of killing them as has been done here for more than 25 years.
But eventually we will have to "let go" of the cats under our care that go missing for reasons we will never find out. However, we will continue to care for strays because being neutered, they have a better quality of life as the instinct to fight and roam is reduced. Being less of a "nuisance", complaints about them to the Town Councils are also reduced. Most stray cats in Singapore, especially those in HDB estates, are victims of abandonment. They are therefore homeless cats.
In my estate, there is an elderly lady who has been allotted two plots of land by the Town Council to plant herbs. This is in recognition of her passion for herbs.
Will the Town Council similarly recognise the passion of some residents for stray cats and support them by offering reimbursement of sterilisation fees? The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority has publicly indicated this financial support but for reasons unclear, no Town Council has yet to put this into practice.
Don’t take food meant for wild animals
REGULARLY hike up Bukit Timah Hill for my daily workout.
The sounds of burbling streams and whispering trees, along with the occasional encounters with reptiles and playful monkeys, make every trip unique and delightful.
However, I am troubled to see visitors to the nature reserve helping themselves to wild fruit such as jackfruits, mangoes and durians. It may be a thrill to harvest these seasonal fruit, but the visitors do not realise that they are, in fact, robbing wild animals of their food.
If this situation goes unchecked, animals such as monkeys may turn aggressive in
their search for food. They will start looking for other food sources and thus become a nuisance to nearby residents.
I have seen monkeys patrolling the overhead bridge across Jalan Anak Bukit towards Beauty World Shopping Centre. If they wander into the building, imagine what chaos could ensue when they raid the shops there.
Sadly, I have also come across some long-tail macaques killed along the stretch of PIE next to the nature reserve. Were the animals trying to look for food too?
Let’s be more considerate to the animals of the nature reserve.
We must protect these creatures and not deprive them of their food supply.
I implore the authorities to monitor the situation and put up educational posters to drive home the message of conservation.
Mr Simon Nagarajan
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
07:10 AM Jul 29, 2009
Letter from Bhaskaran Kunju
I refer to "Sparrows, pigeons can be a nuisance, too" (July 28), a reply to my letter "Rethink shooting of crows" (July 27).
The writer mentions that "Crows do attack people when it is their breeding season" unlike sparrows or pigeons. This is a fallacious statement. Firstly crows do not attack people at random when it is breeding season, they only do so if they believe they are under threat while roosting. This is not a unique trait to crows and can be seen in sparrows and pigeons as well. In fact the oriole, which is another common species in Singapore, is just as aggressive if not more ,and is a threat to other birds as well.
I think there is a need for us to break out of this misinformed mentality of crows as devious and dangerous cretins. Apart from that I await a reply from the National Enviroment Agency over the other issues I have raised.
Subject: Culling of Pigeons in Marine Parade
I am writing with regards to the current move to cull pigeons in Marine Parade GRC, where I am working at the moment.
Many a time, I have noticed the pest control vans around the area, and it has come to my attention that these companies have been hired by the town council to purportedly control the pigeon population in the area. I have personally also encountered carcasses of pigeons littering the ground, resulting not only in an unsightly surroundings, but more importantly, danger to the children and pets around the area.
As I understand, the pigeons have gathered in the area because of errant residents throwing food either out of their windows or on the ground level. The pigeons would not have otherwise congregated at this area, and hence be unwittingly accused of being pests in this area.
I find it appalling that instead of addressing the root cause – by conducting ample investigation into finding these errant residents, and subsequently either issuing them a warning, if not punishing them for littering – the town council is utilizing collective funds to hire pest control companies to cull pigeons.
I would imagine that proper investigation into the perpetrators of littering would be more cost-efficient than addressing the symptoms of the problem. Just like many residents in this area, I am sure we would prefer that the town council takes measures to deal with the littering problem, rather than add to it by culling pigeons.
Furthermore, I need not emphasize the inhumanity in the act of culling. My main point of contention here is that expenditure is being incurred to hire pest control companies to deal with the pigeons – which are in my opinion blameless given that they are attracted to food being thrown out by residents. This expense can be reduced if the town council conduct proper investigation into finding the littering culprits instead.
Aside from the above, as mentioned before, the culled pigeons are a danger to children and pets. I have personally seen children playing around the area. Should they touch these poisoned pigeons whilst playing, they risk getting ill themselves. The same can be said of the pets of residents in the area. I believe the town council would agree with me that such dangers in your area is a great cause of worry for everyone.
I hope the town council will take my points into consideration. I understand that I am not the only one who has lodged a complaint about the culling of pigeons. Many people have protested about the inhumanity and cruelty of culling, but aside from that point, I hope the town council understands that usage of funds for such purposes which do not address the root cause of the problem is worrying. This is especially so because of the vacuum effect, where a population of animals (pigeons in this case) are removed but because the root cause (i.e. food) remains present in the space, another population will enter – thus resulting in a neverending cycle of culling, and no ease to the situation at hand.
Like all residents, I want the surroundings and estate to look presentable and comfortable. If any resident is responsible for doing otherwise, I expect them to be appropriately admonished and punished. There is little need for culling especially it is such an inefficient and short-term measure that does nothing to resolve the problems. Funds should be properly spent on addressing residents’ real problems, not symptoms. As such, I would like the town council to cease the culling with immediate effect and to begin a thorough investigation into finding and punishing the littering perpetrator(s), thus putting our funds to proper use.
Thank you for your kind attention. I look forward to receiving your favourable reply soon.
July 29, 2009
Animal welfare: Focus on sterilisation and education
I REFER to Saturday's Forum Online letter by Mr Tan Tuan Khoon, "Sterilisation not good enough - which is why culling is required".
Culling keeps the population of strays down but it cannot be a long-term solution. What society needs is education. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has been running a responsible pet ownership programme, but more needs to be done.
If we do not raise awareness on sterilisation or re-homing and adoption over buying, the number of strays and abandoned animals will continue to rise and so will the number of animals that have to be culled.
A combined approach is good. Focus on sterilisation programmes, but at the same time educate the public about responsible pet ownership.
The laws in Singapore need to be more supportive of animal welfare work.
The HDB and AVA have not responded to repeated calls to allow cats and old, docile dogs to be kept in flats.
Pet shop owners, unlike those in other countries, are not required to ensure that the potential pet owner is aware of the responsibility and commitment that go into the purchase of an animal companion. Only the sale of the animal and the bottom line matter.
There are no laws governing or policing puppy mills and the welfare and condition of pet farms in Singapore.
More resources are spent on culling exercises than on sterilisation programmes. The sterilisation of strays continues to be paid out of the pockets of animal lovers. Sterilisation programmes currently receive no assistance from the authorities in charge.
Responsible pet ownership begins with respect for every living thing. If we are willing to work together and channel resources to sterilisation programmes, I believe we will one day no longer need to kill young and healthy animals which simply need to be re-homed and re-adopted.
Fiona Foo (Ms)
11:10 AM Jul 28, 2009
Letter from Jeslyn Long Jielin
I refer to "Rethink shooting of crows" (July 27) and agree with many points made by Bhaskaran Kunju.
Firstly, the noise from the guns is extremely disturbing. In my opinion, the sound of gunshots, coupled with the shrieking of the wounded birds, is infinitely more unpleasant than any possible disturbance created by the crows each day.
Secondly, I see no reason to single out crows for persecution as opposed to other bird species that are commonly found in the urban environment. The public impression of these racuous black birds may be that of vermin and disease carriers, yet there is no scientific evidence to prove that their presence is significantly detrimental to human health. Certainly, there is no evidence to indicate that they are more likely to spread disease than any other species of bird.
Thirdly, I agree that crows are attracted to an area as long as there are available food sources. Even if the crows are removed, another kind of animal or birds be it pigeons, mynahs or rodents would move in.The solution in this case would be to eliminate food sources through more secure and efficient disposal of trash.
Lastly, I would like to say that indiscriminate killing of animals /birds is not something that befits a civilized society. In this day and age, surely there are more sophisticated methods of dealing with human-animal/birds conflicts? I have heard of companies that make use of a variety of creative solutions, such as netting, visual and auditory deterrents in dealing with unwanted avian guests.
In any case, the relevant authorities should consider alternate options. Lethal control of problem animals/birds should be a last resort, not the first.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Rethink shooting of crows
05:55 AM Jul 27, 2009
Letter from Bhaskaran Kunju
I WRITE with regard to the culling of crows as carried out by the National Environment Agency (NEA). I live in an HDB estate in the northern part of Singapore where the culling of crows is carried out about once a month. The amount of noise the gunshots generate is enough to startle anyone, especially since no warning or notice is given beforehand.
There are a number of schools in the vicinity. Culling has even been carried out directly in front of a primary school, while school children were on their way home.
While the shooter may be a marksman, I find it discomforting that the NEA has allowed firearms to be used in such locations.
The culling process was started in the 1980s to reduce the crow population. I strongly believe that the numbers have dropped significantly given the culling process and our rapid urbanisation.
It is time the NEA reconsider the status of crows as pests. Apart from the population numbers, which the NEA should make public to justify its actions, the other contributing factors for the culling have been the supposed noise from the birds and their being scavengers. Crows, however, are not the only scavengers. Any bird that becomes accustomed to living in densely-populated areas with few natural preys resorts to scavenging.
It is common to see sparrows and mynahs eating the leftovers in eateries and leaving behind their droppings. Is this not also a nuisance and unhygienic?
In addition, crows do not breed as much as has been mistakenly repeated. They brood once a year and only an average of three eggs are hatched successfully. In comparison, pigeons brood as many as eight times a year.
We should also not be paranoid about the possible spread of bird flu, which is more likely to be spread by migratory birds. Pigeons are known to spread diseases as well.
I am not asking the NEA to switch its culling focus to other intrusive birds but pointing out the flawed rationality in its programme. If the issue is about aggressiveness or incessant noise, then the NEA should only act on such instances of disturbances.
I do not wish to launch into a plea of humanity against the killing of animals but it is indeed inhumane to be shooting birds when alternative methods are available to deal with them. One method is for people to be more responsible in the disposal of trash and in the clearing of leftover food in eateries.
The real cause for the population explosion of birds, if any, are these food sources. Another alternative method is to install plastic owls to scare the crows away.
If the NEA is pressing on with its culling programme and the culling has not reduced the bird population, then obviously there is a fundamental flaw in its methodology.
I am also appalled that an annual crow- hunting competition is held by the Singapore Gun Club and endorsed by the NEA. This seriously goes against the very values of the NEA as an environmental-protection agency.
To support this urgent call to use alternative humane methods of reducing the crow population, write to TODAY at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address and contact number
Saturday, July 25, 2009
July 25, 2009
Trapping and dumping strays and pets unbecoming in gracious Singapore
I REFER to the special report on animal welfare, 'Suffer the little critters' (June 21).
I read with disgust that bizarre behaviour like cat trapping and dog dumping (literally) is happening in our supposedly gracious society.
What can be done to stop such acts, including those of Mr Tony Tan Tuan Khoon ('I help stray cats end their suffering', June 21)? Did the cats suffer? I am sure they did, after, and not before, they were trapped.
I love cats, and have come to know that almost every estate in Singapore has dedicated cat lovers who feed, clear up and sterilise cats. So I cannot concur that Mr Tan is helping the cats in any way. Can such people be penalised under the law?
Microchipping should be compulsory for all dogs to enforce a stronger sense of pet responsibility. The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) puts down many animals because of space constraints, as is often pointed out. As a former volunteer, I find it ironic that only a thin wall separates those awaiting homes from those awaiting death. And the number on the 'condemned' side of the wall is sometimes double or even triple that on the 'adoptable' side. Is there really no way to strive for a 'no kill' shelter?
As there are advertisements to 'Save Gaia', perhaps the authorities should consider ads to 'Save animals'. After all, children should be taught to be kind to animals, as well as the planet.
Jeanne Nicole Chan (Ms)
Friday, July 24, 2009
Is this a free-roaming home cat?
There seemed to be a name and some details on the tag attached to the string round his neck. He wouldn't permit a closer approach to remove the string.
I hope the caregiver will trap him for sterilisation even if he were a home-cat as his owners are irresponsible! Just look at the wound on his head and body, that resulted from his un-neutered status!
Subject: Please say a little prayer for this poor dog !
Date: Thursday, 23 July, 2009, 11:28 PM
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Hit-and-run Human:Fined or Jailed. Hit-and-run Animal: You could face the same penalty.
Mon, Jun 16, 2008
The New Paper
If you hit someone on the road and flee from the scene of the accident, you will get into trouble with the law.
But what if you knock down an animal? Well, don't think you can just drive off.
Be it a person or an animal, the same law applies.
Under the Road Traffic Act, if you are involved in an accident where a person or an animal is injured, you have to stop your vehicle and help the victims.
If not, you can face a fine up to $3,000 or be jailed up to a year.For a subsequent conviction, you can be fined up to $5,000 or jailed up to two years.
Lawyer Luke Lee told The New Paper: 'Animals are protected under the same law as humans.'
And those who injure an animal in a hit-and-run case face the same penalties if the law is violated, he added.
Ms Deirdre Moss, executive officer of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), said: 'Most people, unfortunately, do not think that such cases are important just because (the victim) is an animal.
Student Andrew Teo's dog was one such victim. On 4 Jun, the 23-year-old took his 2-year-old miniature schnauzer, Vodka, for their usual evening walk. At 9.45pm, they were about to cross Choa Chu Kang Crescent when a white van sped towards them.
Mr Teo said he was standing on the pavement while Vodka, who was on a leash, was already on the road.
On seeing the van, Mr Teo tried to pull the dog back, but Vodka slipped out of his collar and dashed across the road.
It was hit by the van and blood oozed from its right ear and nostrils.
Mr Teo saw the van had stopped a few metres away and two men came out. Mr Teo said that when they saw him, they quickly got back into the van and allegedly drove off.But he managed to take down its licence plate number.
Three passers-by, two of whom are Mr Teo's neighbours, helped him move Vodka onto the pavement.
He said: 'By that time, I knew Vodka was dead. His body was intact, but you could feel that his skull had been crushed.'
Mr Teo took the dog to its vet to get a death certificate and then went to a police station to make a report.
A police spokesman confirmed Mr Teo's report and said they are investigating the accident, which happened between Block 662 and Block 691A at Choa Chu Kang Crescent.The road has no pedestrian crossings or traffic lights, but Mr Teo and other residents said that it has low traffic even during the day.
The vet's medical report declared Vodka dead on arrival. It suffered severe trauma to the head and chest.
Mr Teo is upset that the van occupants did not stop to help and feels they must take responsibility and be punished accordingly.
Motorist William Neo, 28, was unaware that the penalty for hit-and-run cases is the same for both humans and animals.The project coordinator feels that motorists need to be better educated on road rules.
He said: 'Most people would probably think hitting an animal is much less serious than hitting a person.
'Informing motorists of the consequences would make them think twice about driving off after hitting an animal.'
The SPCA said that when pets are injured in road accidents, the owners should alert the SPCA and try to move the animals to the side of the road.
But those with little experience in handling animals should not try to pick them up. They should wait for SPCA staff members to arrive, while alerting motorists to slow down and drive cautiously - the traffic police will generally assist in this area.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Here's a definition of the vacuum effect from Alley Cat Allies. Here's a definition of attrition. Now that we have our definitions out of the way, we can talk a bit about what they really mean to us in terms of TNRM :)
Some people deny that this happens - and most of the time it's because they've never dealt with a colony being removed.
However, most people who DO work with cats, or who have had issues with the cats will have noticed that the vacuum effect is very real. This includes a condominium I know that used to spend a few thousand a year getting 'rid' of the cats or town councils that asked why there are new cats coming in when the existing ones were removed and killed. This also includes a caregiver I know who removed the cats from the area thinking it wasn't safe on the streets. When she went by the next day, there were four new cats waiting.
We see how nature abhors a vacuum every day in nature. We see it when water floods in to fill an empty space, or when air does. I'm sure one day we may even understand WHY it happens, but we can already see its effects. We may not all understand how gravity works exactly (or maybe that's just me:)), but we don't deny it exists.
Many people may not have much exposure to cats - and that's where caregivers like you guys come into play. That's also why it is so important that caregivers are accurately able to explain concepts to people who may not know much about cats.
I spoke recently with a caregiver who said that natural attrition would kill off all the cats in the area. It's natural (no pun intended) to be confused when so much literature tells us that natural attrition will kill off the cats. BUT, if you accept that the vacuum effect exists, then there is no way that natural attrition can kill off ALL the cats. Will natural attrition kill off cats? Yes, of course it will. Cats can't live forever after all. It may even, when coupled with sterilisation, bring the population down dramatically depending on the size of your colony. But to have NO cats in the area? Not if you accept the vacuum effect because logically new cats will move in when there is a vacuum.
At some point, the colony numbers after the cats have been sterilised, will drop to such a point that the territory CAN accommodate more cats - note I said, territory, NOT food. Even if you try and remove all newcomers, new cats are going to keep showing up. Some of you may remember the analogy I once gave. If you have a castle with four entrances, and you have five or six guards posted at each door, chances are you'll be able to defend the castle. If you have two guards, chances are that some intruders are going to sneak in. It's the same with the cats.
The vacuum effect does not respect your intentions, good or otherwise. The vacuum effect does not care whether you removed the cats to adopt them or relocate them. It does not care if the cats died a natural death or were killed in animal control somewhere.
Some of you may wonder why I'm splitting hairs about this, but it's very important that a person or organisation who agrees to a TNRM programme knows what to expect. Some expecting that all the cats will die out after they have lived out their natural lifespan and that there will be zero cats is going to be in for a big shock. They might well think the programme is a failure.
Some complainants may also ask why not just remove all the cats NOW. If they are all taken away, then why wait for them to be sterilised and eventually die. In other words why wait for natural attrition to kick in, when we can have UNnatural attrition?
I know some people will say that complainants may not want to hear that the cats are always going to be there. I believe that if you're honest right up front, but say that a managed, sterilised, cared for colony will create less issues than an unmanaged, growing cat population, most people will see the sense in that. Yes, the colony may always be there - but it doesn't NEED to cause any problems. Removing the cats and killing them just means the same issues come back over, and over again. It may of course take more than one conversation to get someone to agree but don't give up. There's tons of resources online and it's a good idea to take the information with you - one good resource is ACA's website.
At the end of the day, your argument has to be logically consistent to you, before you can convince someone else.
July 23, 2009
Monkeying around on Bukit Timah Hill
I REGULARLY hike up Bukit Timah Hill for my daily workout. Nature's symphony in the woods, quiet streams, lofty trees, occasional encounters with reptiles and the company of playful monkeys make every trip delightful.
However, I am troubled to see regulars and visitors to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve help themselves to fruit such as wild jackfruit, mangoes and durians. Perhaps there is a thrill to collect seasonal fruit from the wild, but do these people realise that their selfishness will rob certain animals of their natural provision?
If this situation continues unchecked, monkeys, in particular, may turn aggressive towards humans for food. Instinctively, they will scout for other food sources, becoming a nuisance to homes in the vicinity.
I have seen monkeys patrol the overhead bridge, studying how to get into Beauty World Shopping Centre. If they succeed, imagine what chaos that will cause.
Sadly, I have come across some long-tail macaques killed on the Pan-Island Expressway near the nature reserve. Were they looking for greener pastures?
Let us be more responsible to the inhabitants of the nature reserve. We must protect these creatures, not deprive them of their food supply. I implore the authorities to monitor the situation and post educational posters to drive home the message.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I attended a meeting with the feeders, the people who were facing problems, and two other mediators this evening.
One of the mediators had gone down over the weekend and set stones down in the garden to prevent the cats from defecating there. Aminah - I remember you asked your town council to do this, and they eventually did, which also stopped the defecation problem there.
The good news is that there will be a 6 month trial period and if the situation is good, the programme can continue. We mentioned that it's a good idea to keep the lines of communication open during this period - and not have an accumulation of problems till later.
The bad news - unfortunately there does seem to still be quite a lot of distrust in the room. I do hope that the different groups will be able to start anew.
This is why it's sometimes useful to have mediators come in. They're not privy to all the bad blood that may have occurred in some situations, and can hopefully bring a more objective eye to the situation. Some caregivers are wonderful at caring for the cats, but may not be the best at mediating. This is why designated mediators can really be helpful. As we have discussed before, one of the main advantages is that mediators may be able to help out as well on a more flexible schedule - ie they obviously won't be called in every day - but they'll still perform a crucial role in a TNRM programme.
What was really helpful today was that one of the mediators drafted an agreement so that both sides knew what was expected from each side. It would be also good, and I am sure they'll be adding this in, to put in what the expected results will be in 6 months - or our dreaded Singaporean KPI :)
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
|Seven Cats to be abandoned...|
Picked up Good Boy from the vet and on the way home saw a girl sitting at the void deck with a large cage holding 5 cats and an empty carrier. I approached her and found out that they were going to release them. Then I saw cat number six working around and asked the girl to place him back into the carrier. Made some calls while waiting for her mother. Thankfully the cats were accepted at a cattery. The mother gave me $300 after I told her the usual boarding fees and requested that she should give at least as much as she can for the boarding. She said they are shifting out to stay with her sister until they get their new flat... in a few months time and that she would then take the cats back also would visit them at the cattery... we exchanged tel. numbers
They had already called the AVA and SPCA before decing to abandon the cats downstairs....sigh!
I had also called the police just in case... at least there is a record and her particulars were taken. I was taken aback when one of the officers said that abandonment was actually not a crime unless there was abuse. This cannot be true!
The daughter helped me to bring the cage to my place and then came back a while later with cat number 7. All the cats are sterilized and tipped.
Later at night Damy came to collect the cats, to board over night and then bring them to the cattery the next morning. The cats were very tame and very frightened... didn't make a sound while they were here.In Singapore, cruelty to animals is a crime. Under the Animals and Birds Act, anyone who is found guilty of such an offence including abandonment of any animal, can be imprisoned for up to 12 months, fined up to $10,000, or both
Monday, July 20, 2009
Why is culling ineffective?
In areas where culling is carried out, there will be an initial reduction in pigeon numbers. However, this effect is very short term as the population will almost certainly have returned to or even exceeded the previous level within a few weeks. This is because pigeons control their own numbers according to the food source available.
Approximately 90% of pigeons die in their first year and the main cause of death is starvation. The mortality rate of adult pigeons is very low, typically around 11% (2). Therefore when culling is carried out on a pigeon population, the vacancies left by the dead birds are quickly filled by young birds.
This means that killing adult pigeons in a flock discriminates in favour of young birds who would otherwise have perished. It has no long-term effect on the level of population, as it merely rejuvenates the flock.
A culling programme was carried out in Basel, Switzerland; a city which had a population of approximately 20,000 pigeons. From 1961-85, 100,000 pigeons were culled by shooting and trapping. Despite this, the population remained stable.
In 1988 a group called Pigeon Action was founded to establish an ecological and long term solution to the city's pigeon issue. They began a programme of public education campaigns which warned against feeding pigeons and installed pigeon lofts from which eggs were removed. As a result, the population was halved within four years.
What are the three most important things in your life?
Family, my cats and love. These things enrich and complete me.
Zaobao, 20 Jul 09
环境的污染是猫所为吗？流浪猫不求什么，只求一餐温饱，也不曾给人制造麻烦，但有关部门一接到投诉，不管三七二十一把猫捕捉置于死地，那请问人为的破坏 环境清洁又何讲，是否也把责任推到猫身上呢？如果把所有的猫杀了，你们认为环境会清洁吗？在此请有关部门不要只听投诉而捕捉猫儿，忽略了同情猫的人的悲 哀。
Why cull stray cats? By Chen Ya Juan
I am living in the vicinity of Bedok Reservoir Road, all these while, whilst busy commuting to and fro from work, I have not paid attention to the natural flora and fauna around the area.
However, towards the end of last year, I lost my job and was jobless s for a couple of months, I encountered a depressing scenario, and i.e. there are residents who have lodged complaints to the relevant authorities about cats polluting the surrounding environment.
Upon receiving the complaints, the authority swiftly acted upon it by calling in the pest control company to capture the stray cats and sent to AVA for culling.
Do cats have the capability to pollute the environment?
The maintenance of stray cats are not high, they are contented with 1 full meal day, they do not create a nuisance for humans but when the authorities received complaints, regardless of any reasons, they sent the stray cats to hell. How do you explain the pollution created by humans, should we also push the blame on the stray cats?
If all cats are culled, would the environment we live in be pollution free?
I hope the relevant authorities would not just act blindly against any complaints but to look further into the compassion and agony of the residents who look after these stray cats.
The authorities should pay more attention to residents who throw their rubbish down from their flat and to my observations; it is a common sight to see broken plastic bags with all kind of rubbish strewn all over the floor.
Cats aside, there are also dog owners who walk their dogs and let their pet dogs **** and urine anywhere without clearing the mess but no one make complaints against the dog owner.
I am a dog owner myself and I know the faeces and urine are from dogs.
I remember that the authorities have said that they will not cull or capture stray cats that have been sterilised but these promises have been ignored despite the residents who spent a lot of time, effort and money to sterilise the cats.
We cat lovers have spent countless time and money to send the stray cats for sterilisation but at the end of the day all efforts are wasted because they still end up in the gallows.
Why did the authorities go back on their words not to cull sterilised cats?
Can’t you spare the poor cats’ lives?
I hope Aljunied Town Council and the AVA would be able to provide us, the cat lovers a satisfactory reply on what course of actions are done to the stray cats after they are captured?
Suppport Chen Ya Juan by writing to the Aljunied Town Council at
Mr George Yeo
Minister for Foreign Affairs
MP for Aljunied GRC
Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed
Senior Minister of State (Foreign Affairs)
Vice Chairman of Aljunied Town Council
MP for Aljunied GRC
Mrs Lim Hwee Hua
Minister, Prime Minister's Office
Second Minister for Finance &
Second Minister for Transport
MP for Aljunied GRC
Mr Yeo Guat Kwang
MP for Aljunied GRC
Vice Chairman of Aljunied Town Council
Madam Cynthia Phua
MP for Aljunied GRC
Chairman of Aljunied Town Council
July 20, 2009
Removing cats will only result in endless cycle of culling
MS LAU Vun Ping's letter, 'Free loan of pet traps does not solve the problem of strays' (July 8), raises an issue that the Cat Welfare Society (CWS) strongly opposes - the free loan of cat traps by the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to residents annoyed at the nuisance caused by strays.
Removing cats does not solve the problem as new cats will move in to fill the vacuum, resulting in an endless cycle of culling. Traps, in the hands of people who are unfamiliar with or do not love cats, can also lead to mistreatment or intentional ill treatment of these animals. This runs counter to AVA's mission to promote animal welfare.
Instead, CWS encourages people to trap, then neuter the cats before releasing them back to the estate where they are managed by caregivers. This trap-neuter-release-manage (TNRM) method will effectively, and humanely, solve the cat population issue in the long run.
CWS urges AVA to reconsider its practice of loaning out traps and offering euthanasia for free as a way to resolve cat nuisance issues of private home owners and inform people about sterilisation as an alternative. It is more effective and better use of taxpayers' money to sterilise than to cull.
Ang Li Tin (Ms)
Cat Welfare Society
Sunday, July 19, 2009
A revealing look into the lives and motivations of four self- proclaimed “cat ladies:” Margo, Jenny, Diane and Ziggy divulge their stories with raw and occasionally uncomfortable honesty. Margo finds that caring for her three cats fills the void of profound loneliness. Jenny, a 35-year-old real estate agent, uses her 16 cats as an excuse for not getting out there and finding love. After retiring, Diane, a once-successful banker, fills her schedule by rescuing abandoned cats. And Ziggy has given her life to cat rescue, but in so doing has found a purpose for living. One thinks she’s gone too far, taken in too many. Another thinks there’s room for more. Cats fill their needs for love, affection, nurturing, purpose, company, trust and dedication. But how many is too many? Where do you draw the line? Christie Callan-Jones presents the delicate balance of the “cat lady” psyche, taking us beyond stereotypes to explore the extreme edge of pet ownership and deeply felt emotions. This quirky and unexpectedly moving film sensitively captures the struggle that each “cat lady” battles on a daily basis and asks the question: Might we all be just one “cat” away from our own obsessive addiction?
Join Facebook's Appeal to Car Owners NOT to KILL Cats over Alleged Scratches
Saturday, July 18, 2009
July 18, 2009
Feeding strays should not be made an offence
I WAS saddened to read Tuesday's Forum Online letter by Mr Edgar Chen ('Feeding cats is as bad as littering'.)
I have observed that feeders of stray animals have become much more aware of the need to be responsible and considerate and most do clean up afterwards.
To suggest that feeding of strays be made an offence punishable by a fine is tantamount to saying: Let these abandoned animals die a slow and agonising death by starvation.
Instead, let's educate and persuade feeders to be responsible, and instil in pet owners that owning a pet is a lifelong commitment and that the animals should not be abandoned when they grow tired of them.
Chai Nyim Fooi
Friday, July 17, 2009
This Malay family said they looked after Mak-Hitam as a kitten when they moved into this flat in 1985. She gave birth to several litters of kittens that they said were very cute and quickly snatched by nieghbours.
In 1995, a neighbour took Mak-Hitam for neutering.
Pak-Cik said he bathed Mak-Hitam with a cat shampoo once a month in the master-bedroom bathroom. He also said that Mak-Hitam was safe from the town council.
Pets also have a tough time during downturn
I READ with concern the report, “Animal-care groups have hands full coping with abuse cases” (my paper, July 6).
It is sad that there has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of animal-abuse cases, compared with last year.
Pets, especially dogs, are also having a tough time during the economic downturn.
Some owners badly affected by the recession would abandon their dogs after failing to find new homes for them.
There is nothing crueller than to strip dogs of their natural survival instincts and then abandon them.
The authorities should do something urgently about animal abuse before it develops into a major problem.
There should be stricter laws to punish the offenders and get them to reform.
Mr Nelson Quah
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I was contemplating how to end of the week in the practice of Ahisma, the first Yama in one of four limbs of yoga. Then this story came across my desk yet another time. I have seen this story in several different formats over the last year and each time it brings a smile to my face and opens my heart:)
Today is the day I move this story forward and share it with you. It is a perfect example of the practice of Ahisma, of non-harming and non-violence.
This is ‘Faith’
This dog was born on Christmas Eve in the year 2002. He was born with 3
legs - 2 healthy hind legs and 1 abnormal front leg which needed
to be amputated. He of course could not walk when he was born. Even his
mother did not want him.
His first owner also did not think that he could survive. Therefore, he
was thinking of ‘putting him to sleep’. By this time, his present owner, Jude Stringfellow, met him and wanted to take care of him.
She was determined to teach and train this dog to walk by himself.
Therefore she named him ‘Faith’.
In the beginning, she put Faith on a surfing board to let him feel the movements.
Later she used peanut butter on a spoon as a lure and reward for him to stand up and jump around.
Even the other dog at home also helped to encourage him to walk. Amazingly, only after 6 months, like a miracle, Faith learned to balance on his 2 hind legs and jumped to move forward.
After further training in the snow, he now can walk like a human being.
Faith loves to walk around now. No matter where he goes, he just attracts all the people around him. He is now becoming famous on the international scene. He has appeared on various newspapers and TV shows. There is even one book entitled ‘With a little faith’ being published about him.
His present owner Jude Stringfellew has given up her teaching post and plans to take him around the world to preach that even without a perfect body, one can have a perfect soul’.
It is a privilege and an honor to live in a place where technology gives us access to the special stories in the world. It is also a privilege to live in a part of the world where we are able to have the time, the resources, and space in our lives to do something so compassionate. Compassion towards this dog has transformed many lives, including no doubt, that of the current owner.
I have often said: It is difficult to imagine the positive aspects of right action over the long haul. Each time we practice Ahisma (non-harming, non-judgement) we acrue energy. It is said that the energy of every thought, action and deed is stored in the universal field. Through right action and right thought, one small piece at a time, your life can become almost unrecognizable. You may look back and and say I couldn’t have imagined the impact of this decision at the time.
For every person whose life has been touched by this story we give thanks to Faith and the one who had Faith and practiced Ahisma.
July 16, 2009
SPCA clarifies: We do not provide cat traps
I REFER to Tuesday's Forum Online letter, 'Feeding cats is as bad as littering', in particular to the sentence where it is mentioned that the writer borrowed a cat trap from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to trap three cats.
The SPCA would like to clarify that it does not rent out cat traps and has not done so since 2003.
Although there are many people who would love to provide a home for a stray cat, this is not always possible because they may have cats already, or because they are not permitted to keep them. If the HDB policy were to change, the SPCA believes that there would be fewer strays on the street.
The SPCA promotes responsible feeding of stray cats which cannot be regarded as littering, provided the feeder sets the food down in a container and remains there to clean up after the cats have finished.
We would also advise that feeding should be carried out away from public areas in a quiet corner out of consideration for other residents. We salute all individuals and organisations who are helping the animals and taking ownership of the problem despite the obstacles and limited resources.
As much as we are encouraged by the latest statistics showing a gradual decline in the number of stray cats, there is still much need for compassion, empathy and respect for all strays while applying the humane sentiment, to live and let live.
Deirdre Moss (Ms)
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
HDB’s cat ban elicits incredulity
Popular local blogger Mr Wang blogged about his brother’s art exhibition in Hong Kong. The interesting thing is its his “brother’s sixth exhibition of cat paintings, all of which are inspired by his real-life pet cat”. If this cat minion were in Hong Kong, this would an exhibition I’d go to. I was particularly piqued with this remark by Mr Wang:
The interesting thing is one reader’s reaction to the HDB cat ban:
Are you sure this is the case? I think this sort of statement spells disaster for credibility.
I think feeding strays is illegal or frowned upon, but not having legal pets.
I think this sort of reaction is good. People do tend to want to believe the positive where there’s a choice, never mind the reality. But this also shows how incredulous people find the ban to be. I’m interested to know the reactions when more people realise just how ridiculous Singapore’s pet and animal control policies are. I’ve responded (adding AVA’s pet cat brochure which extols the suitability of cats as indoor pets who do not need to roam for good measure), but of course it depends on whether Mr Wang approves my comment. I hope he does.
Forget awareness, I cannot believe in this day and age such things should be shocking news. What people need to do is acknowledge reality, not just about the pet legislations in place but also the whole animal population control situation – and the laughability of it all. TNRM is the way to go, culling is ineffective and an expense taxpayers should not be expected to subsidize. When the Singapore government and the bureaucrats running rings around their fingers see the light depends on more and different Singaporeans speaking up.
Katherine Varjian, a 65 year old woman may face jail time for feeding hungry, abandoned stray cats in the City of Beverly Hills. Ms. Varjian has been feeding and spaying / neutering cats in a spec...
Katherine Varjian, a 65 year old woman may face jail time for feeding hungry, abandoned stray cats in the City of Beverly Hills. Ms. Varjian has been feeding and spaying / neutering cats in a specific area of Beverly Hills working to reduce the number of homeless animals born there. She should be applauded for her efforts instead of possibly being sent to jail. Many citizens and humane advocates support Ms. Varjian's efforts. We ask that Beverly Hills citizens reconsider the way they look at animals that for one reason or the other were dumped onto city streets or were left unsteralized, thus becoming pregnant and bringing new kittens onto the streets. Ms. Varjian is working to REDUCE the tax burden on citizens for the cost of capture, holding, feeding and in most cases, killing animals in our shelter system. Prevention is the answer. Also, these cats provide a FREE service - pest control that you can't find in a bottle or through a pest control company.
I hope that the Beverly Hills Conference and Visitors Center will also support Ms. Varjian and show the world who comes from far and wide to shop, dine and be entertained in the City, that Beverly Hills cares for ALL its inhabitants... even if they don't live in a mansion, stay in a 5 star hotel or do business on Rodeo Drive.
Missy Woodward - Animal News Journalist
Christi Metropole - Founder - Stray Cat Alliance
Donna Baker - Founder - Feral Cat Caretakers
Ben Harding - Stray Cat Alliance
Katherine Varjian - Defendant
Tina Varjian, Esq.
Jasmin Hartmann - Kitten Rescue
Bill Dyer - In Defense of Animals
There was a Beverly Hills City Council meeting on 7/7/09 to put in language that will make it illegal to feed stray cats in which 3 residents supported not feeding the strays and there were about 100 people including many residents who supported Ms. Varjian's efforts and TNR. Included among the supporters was probably an unprecedented turnout of representatives from many animal organizations including Kitten Rescue, Stray Cat Alliance, Coalition of Feral Cat Caretakers, In Defense of Animals, Last Chance for Animals, Best Friends and the Humane Society of the United States.
The Beverly Hills City council appeared to be wanting to be a humane compassionate city but also appeared to be confused and not educated on the issues, despite an outpouring of ideas and offers from the humane community.
MY PAPER WEDNESDAY JULY 15, 2009
Don’t cull pigeons, fine errant residents
TWO days ago, I came across three dead pigeons and one in the throes of death in my neighbourhood.
I spoke to the senior property officer of the town council and he said the town council had hired a pest controller to poison the pigeons.
He said it had been done as some residents persisted in throwing food out of kitchen windows to feed the birds, despite posters and flyers telling them not to do so.
The officer had also received complaints about the pigeons and said he had no choice but to cull the birds.
I quote from United Kingdom animal-rights group Animal Aid’s website: “There are many places worldwide where attempts have been made to control pigeons by culling.
“Culling methods have included poisoning, shooting with air rifles and trapping.
“However, modern scientific research shows that culling is completely ineffective, as bird numbers can increase above pre-cull levels within weeks of the cull being carried out.”
Leaving poisoned breadcrumbs out in the open for pigeons poses a danger to pets and curious children.
The sight of a dying pigeon also distressed a few kids walking by it.
I appeal to the town council to continue educating residents and to step up efforts to identify the recalcitrants who continue to throw food down, so that they can be fined.
This is the problem that has to be nipped in the bud.
The issue would not be solved by culling the pigeons.
Dr Tan Chek Wee
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
To: **** Singh (a town council senior property officer)
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 10:44 PM
Subject: Poisoning of pigeons
|Dear Mr Singh|
I have noticed on several occasions many dead pigeons in the vicinity of the pavilion and the koi pond between blocks 90 and 91. I learnt that this is the work of the Town Council with the help of the pest controllers.
While I understand that the Town Council is doing its best to manage the area, and I appreciate the effort put in and the work done, I definitely do not agree to the poisoning of the pigeons for whatever reason there may be.
There is a student care centre in the void deck of one of these blocks and a childcare centre at block 93, and this area is popular with these children as well as children who were brought there by their guardians or caregivers.
I am sure you would not want any of these children to be affected by the poison meant for the pigeons.
Not only that, it would be very distressing and traumatic for the children, at their tender age, to witness the death throes of the pigeons and ultimately their death en masse.
Furthermore, it is absolutely inhumane, and not an effective method to control the population of the pigeons in this manner, as I am sure you have experienced it yourself from the numerous poisoning sessions in the past.
I have included here a website,
that has information on controlling the population of pigeons in a humane manner. Not only that, the website also has information on the following :
The following can be found under the 'Media' link and from the headings alone, I am sure the Town Council can relate to the problems it faced and the consequences of the actions it has taken.
Experts Dub New Mayor’s Bloody Spectacle Illegal - 13th August 2008
Virtual Consultancy Service Brings Pigeon Control into the 21st Century - 28th July 2008
Experts Call for Action to Deter Roof-Nesting Gulls - 28th July 2008
U-Turn Council Dubbed 'The Worst in Britain' By Experts - 12th June 2008
Scottish Government Leads the Way with New Gull Control Legislation 3rd June 2008
Experts Dub Council Plans a Waste of Public Money 27th March 2008
Pigeon Experts Condemn Extreme Cruelty in Leamington Spa
Pigeon Experts Condemn the Use of ‘Pigeon Pill’
Bath Council Wastes Public Money on Inhumane Bird Control Programme
Praise for Surrey Heath Council over Pigeon Control Programme
I urge you to visit the website and perhaps, the Town Council could 'borrow' their ideas or contact them for advice.