Category Archives: Missing in action

New Paper 20090228: Serious about changing law on strays? Join animal-welfare groups

This is the new-paper-printed version of Dawn’s repartee to Mr Lee Chiu San’s letter, which succinctly sums up the history of cat welfare in Singapore. Dawn deserves a medal for dealing with such bigotry with such serenity

The Electric New Paper :

Serious about changing law on strays? Join animal-welfare groups

28 February 2009

I WAS taken aback to read Mr Lee Chiu San’s comments in ‘Feel sorry for strays? Commit to repeal ban’ (The New Paper, 24 Feb).

It seems Mr Lee is unaware that people have been working for many years to repeal the ban on having cats in flats.

The Cat Welfare Society (CWS) and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have both worked on this for many years.

During my time as Director of Operations with CWS, we received the support of more than 30 vets, gathered more than 3,000 signatures in less than three weeks, met the Housing Development Board twice with two separate proposals (available online on CWS’ website).

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority also had no objection to cats in flats. I am also aware of many individuals who have written to the HDB asking them to change the rule.

CWS proposal rejected
CWS would have been happy to revisit the issue and we took HDB’s concerns at our previous meetings and incorporated them into our new proposals. Our last request for a meeting to discuss a new proposal was turned down.

CWS’ suggestions were that all cats be sterilised, microchipped and that there be a limit on the number of cats in flats (subject to a compassionate period for existing cats as they did when the rule with dogs was changed).

A register could be maintained by the Residents’ Committee (RC).
CWS also offered to help with mediation in terms of complaints and advising irresponsible cat owners. There was also a town council willing to implement a pilot project with its RC, but again this was turned down by the HDB.

It was disingenuous that Mr Lee mentioned the case of Mr Tang. There was no active campaigning on the part of Mr Tang to change the law.

So quick to tar community
I was surprised 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 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 Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage programme, which involves responsible feeding, sterilisation and mediation of complaints.

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.

FROM READER DAWN KUA SU-WEN

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Mummy, where are you?

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Since Tuesday, Bambi has been missing. We can only hope that she has been catnapped by someone for demojoing. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that she will return soon.

Her baby is still around but of course even more scaredy without her around. btmao has only been able to feed him by leaving the food outside his hidey hole and retreatign 2 metres away. Our plans for Bambi and BambiBaby has been delayed of course, we only hope they are permanently derailed.

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SOS: Izzy is missing, please help to keep a lookout

Izzy has gone missing since the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, 20 Apr 2008. Though he is well now, he does have a recurring problem with his gums, so he needs his dad’s tlc. Please, if you see him, contact Beng at yeonardo at gmail dot com or HP: 96850465.

Izzy is a large, plump classic tabby with a long tail and a tipped ear. He hangs out in the Oxley Road area.

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(Click here to see more pictures of Izzy)

If you’re around or know of friends living/active in the Oxley Road area, please help to keep a lookout for Izzy. He responds to his name, if the mood suits him. Thank you.

EDIT: Here’s the MISSING poster Beng has put up in the area, with contact details. (calsifer’s note: Izzy is not a Bengal though, but a DSH with lovely classic tabby markings. Bengals have more angular faces, and have differently patterned bodies than the classic tabby markings Iz’s got, and aren’t likely to be plump like him:))

(Filched from here)

EDIT 25 Apr 08: Izzy has been located and positively identified. He’s hiding on the roof of a private property carpark, among some ventilation structure, and is quite scared, which makes it difficult for Beng to get him out and down. Beng and friends are working on Izzy’s rescue.

Area 3: Marcus missing

Today marks the seventh day that Marcus has missed btmao’s breakfast service. This has never happened before.

Last Tuesday, 8 April was the first day btmao reported that Marcus has missed breakfast.

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Missing a meal is not alarming in itself, but with ranking members of the gangland disappearing (Macy, missing since June 2007 and Martin, Marcus’ surrogate parent, MIA since late November 2007), we got a bit worried. But we told ourselves he would appear the next day… which stretched into the weekend.

And right on Saturday, btmao called while on feeding duty – a pack of 4 dogs were harrassing first Mary and then Marty and Henny. Luckily all 3 escaped and are are fine. We fear Marcus may have fallen to them or a similar pack.

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Mary is the only gangland member left now.

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She was always an outcast among the gang (mostly through her own contentious fault), but she has proven herself the survivor.

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Take care, Marcus. We think of you, and wish you well, wherever you are.

Area1 cat: Iggy

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Meet Iggy, who first appeared in Area 1 in July.

He was elusive at first, and we, or rather btmao, only saw him in the distance. Then as time went by, he became more settled in, and wasn’t so difficult to sight. But I caught my first glimpse of him only on Sep 1. I managed to feed him, like btmao had before. But he was obviously new to the idea of being caregiven as he sometimes seem to be bewildered by the concept of kibbles.

He was very wary though, and wouldn’t allow us near.

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After that, from time to time, when he appeared, we would feed him. He started getting comfortable and eventually settled down in the area and was most often found lazing in front of Ian’s home.

Up until October, he was always spotting a few wounds here and there – which we could not help him with as he wouldn’t allow contact. But as they always appear to be clean and healing, we were not too worried.

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Healing wound on his chest

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Face, and muzzle wound

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Closeup of the muzzle wound.

By end of October, btmao was getting somewhere with program close contact for him. She was in fact able to scruff him already. We were ready for operation-rob-Iggy-mojo.

But before we could get it done, Iggy disappeared. By early November, we knew he was gone for good . We do not know where he’s gone, but we have an idea what happened to him.

Ian’s family had previously confessed to moving cats from the area elsewhere when we asked them if they’ve seen this or that cat. Granted, these were not their cats: they claimed that the new cats were aggressive and picking fights with Ian, who is a free-ranging pet. We then told them not to do so, as their action, dumping, was tantamount to abandonment and while they have got rid of their problem, they were getting the cats and people in the areas who got their “presents” into trouble. We told them that any new cat appears, we will try to sterilise and to please tell us about it if they find new ones.

We’re not sure if our message got across, as after that, the cats which appeared, were good looking cats, Izzy and Isam. Izzy of course we moved to foster care eventually and got adopted out. Isam, due to his temperament, we sterilised and just released back. But the family, in the most el-cheapo way possible, started to lure these two handsome guys to their homes, AFTER we got them sterilised, and even though Ian was not happy and fights happened, the family was tolerant of the problems and actively encouraged every cat to get along.

When we moved Izzy into foster care, the family even asked if we’ve seen him around. Now Isam is their free-ranging pet cat too. Before you say we’re biased, previous “intruder” cats that we sterilised were all so-called ordinary cats, and every one of them got dumped, that is, the Iggy treatment.

I had met the family’s father when Iggy was settling in at the front of their house. It was in the carpark where I was preparing to feed Ivan. I asked him about Iggy and if he knew where the boy came from. He said he didn’t know, but seemed proud that he’s got the handsome boy settling in with his brood. He was obviously expecting the usual, that we do the dirty work and he reap the harvest of having another beautiful cat without having to pay for the sterilisation or put in effort.

Frustrated, I had told him that we would appreciate if he could help keep a lookout for Iggy, and if he knows who is his owner or if someone takes him in, to let us know so we can arrange for his sterilisation and to get his family to be responsible and pay for his sterilisation. I also said that it’s getting costly to keep sterilising cats who in the end turn out to be pets belonging to other people, who should be responsible in the first place.

The man’s face changed colour immediately, but he nodded. I don’t know if he really got what I was trying to say because he and his family only ever nod, and then we’d see them continuing whatever it is they’re doing which we felt were detrimental to the cats’ safety. It was shortly after that Iggy went missing.

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Beautiful markings on his legs

Given that Iggy was settling well and had taken to lounging in front of their house with Ian, and that they fed him like he was a pet too, I can’t help but put two and two together.

In any case, Iggy is now no longer around and we can only hope that he is doing well wherever he is.

Area3: Martin missing

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Last Monday, since btmao sighted 3 large dogs in the field next to the gangland, Martin has beein missing. Mary and Marcus also went missing on Monday itself, but have since kept their breakfast appointments. Only Martin remains missing. It’s been a week now, and we’re very worried for him. Scouring the area turned up no bloody mess or other clues as to whether he is alive and well, injured or… worse. But this is not the first time that Martin’s encountered dog packs: when he was growing up, there was a lot of construction work gonig on in the area and therefore dog packs running around. We’re quite confident he’s able to avoid them and escape unscathed. The problem is, where is he now? Did he get lost while trying to lose the dogs’ attention?

Please send a kind thought for Martin’s well-being. Already, tiny Macy’s been missing since June (for no reason that we can discern) – Martin’s absence may undermine the stability of the gangland, as he’s the boss who keeps the peace and integrity of the gangland borders.

Macy, where are you?

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Macy’s been missing for a month. We’re worried and have no clue where she went, but as of her disappearance she was healthy and looked fine.

For the past weeks, we’ve been hoping to see her familiar shape again, waiting with the rest for the daily grub. She’s done it before-go AWOL, but her record was slightly more than a week only.

Martin and the others are all still there so it’s not a rounding up/cull. No one bothers anyway since they live in a non-human habited area.

Such is the danger of living a homeless life. We can only hope that she’s safe and happy wherever she is. Please think of Macy and send a kind thought for her safety. Thank you.