Wednesday, June 25, 2008

TODAY: Where's the 'heart' in heartland?

Today, June 25 2008
Where’s the ‘heart’ in heartland?

Town Councils should accord cat caregivers the same respect asthey do other residents

Letter from Helen Gamp

IN MY estate and the adjacent one, several residents like myself go beyond just ad hoc inter-racial harmony events, to forge a bond through a common goal of managing the cats in our community humanely. We trap cats, most of whom are abandoned, for sterilisation and offer assistance to the Town Council to resolve feedback about cats.

In the neighbouring estate — that is under another Town Council :— we started sterilising the cats about two years ago and the Town Council has agreed to let us, the caregivers, look into complaints and not engage pest controllers to round up the cats to be killed at the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority.

Based on our knowledge about “community cats” and from talking to complainants as well as residents who may need to be educated on responsible pet ownership, we can resolve problems without the need to kill. This is important to us as we feel this is what the “heart” is about in a “heartland”.

However, we are disheartened by our recent discovery that a particular Town Council officer instructed the estate cleaning supervisor to direct his workers to trap cats and release them elsewhere. This came to light when a resident found a sterilised cat, bearing a left tipped ear, in a trap. We spoke to several workers, who admitted that they had trapped cats and released them in parks elsewhere.

This perhaps accounted for some of the missing cats over the last few months.

All we ask of the Town Council is to accord us the same respect as every other resident but we find that residents who complain seem to be accorded more rights especially if they complain aggressively.

When the Prime Minister was sworn in, he said that Singaporeans, through hard work and dedication, have built a cohesive and progressive nation that is founded on the principles of meritocracy, social justice and compassion.

We hope this inspiration can be translated in the paradigm shift of Town Councils and others as well. Instead of according due respect to residents such as ourselves, who are in fact following the Government’s repeated appeal for active citizenry, we are instead treated with disdain.

(Click to enlarge)

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