Monday, May 14, 2012

Town councils should not entertain unreasonable complaints

Town councils should not entertain unreasonable complaints
Letter from Tan Chek Wee Updated 10:23 PM May 10, 2012

Every evening, my neighbour would be at the void deck to feed a community cat, one of a number of cats that another resident and I had brought to the veterinarian for neutering.

Since we started doing this about seven years ago, residents have told me that there have been fewer cats.

Recently, a resident reprimanded my neighbour for feeding the cat, citing reasons such as "dirtying the area", "increasing the cat population" and that "feeding cats is illegal". The resident threatened to complain to the town council.

Fortunately, the block's noticeboard has a poster stating that cat feeding is not illegal but littering is, and my neighbour always clears up the leftover dry food placed on a piece of paper. I told her to refer the resident to the poster.

A few weeks ago, a property officer of the town council emailed the Cat Welfare Society to say that there was feedback of "too many sterilised cats" in several blocks and to ask that some cats be relocated.

Perhaps some property officers are unaware that the presence of these cats means that there are residents who put in effort, money and time to trap the cats for sterilisation or engage professionals to do it.

Such active citizenry should be respected.

Perhaps property officers should be made to attend a "cat management" course organised by the animal welfare groups and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority, so that the solution to every complaint about cats is not to cull or relocate them.

We cannot stop people from complaining, but the town councils could stop entertaining unreasonable complainants.