Of saving dogs and catching stray cats...

The Straits Times | Aug 15, 2011

Of saving dogs and catching stray cats...
Li Xueying

PM says not all issues are best solved by Govt, and hopes S'poreans will do more

ON JUNE 2, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote on his blog saying he had asked the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority to review its practice of culling stray cats.

The deed, however, raised some fur.

Surely the minister has other pressing priorities and should not be worrying about catching cats, a reader protested in a letter to Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao.

While Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong concurs, he laughingly related how he was involved in coming to the rescue of a dog.

But in his cat and dog story at yesterday's National Day Rally is a wish: He hopes, in future, the Government can do less - and Singaporeans more.

Speaking in Mandarin, he said he also hopes that in the long run, the Government and people can strengthen their relationship.

'We will do our best to find solutions for various problems,' he said.

But he added: 'I hope Singaporeans can also be more proactive.

'As our society matures, Government should not take charge of everything, such as cats and dogs.'

With a smile, he told of how he had to personally help a resident in his Teck Ghee constituency tackle a problem about a stray dog.

She loved the dog, but could not adopt it.

'The dog had been caught, and she wanted me to stop the authorities from culling the dog,' he recounted. 'Fortunately, this story has a happy ending, as someone later adopted the dog.'

Drawing from the anecdote, Mr Lee said: 'Whether it's about a minister catching cats, or a prime minister saving dogs, the Government has the responsibility to solve problems big and small.'

But he added: 'We seek people's understanding: Some problems or disputes may not be best tackled by the Government.

'I hope that in future, the Government can do less, and Singaporeans do more.

'The more proactive Singaporeans are, the better Singapore would be in responding to unexpected situations.'

This, he said, would make the society more mature and flexible, and more confident against international competition.

Responding to the call yesterday, Ms Veron Lau, vice-president of the Cat Welfare Society, agreed that 'we should move towards this model'.

For instance, pet owners should take responsibility if their cats roam the streets, or for picking up the droppings of their dogs.

But on the issue of cat culling, she said, the Government needs to take the first step of establishing policies before society can take over.

'We are trying to rise to the challenge, but at this stage, it can't happen overnight,' she said.

'The burden now falls on society, on people who use their money and time to sterilise cats. The Government needs to develop the policy and support system, and then nurture society to take over.'

Source: The Straits Times

ZAOBAO | July 6, 2011
喂饲流浪猫应负的责任

回应谨回应《联合早报·交流站》于6月30日刊登的叶健波读者投函《养猫贻患》:

  猫福利协会一向提倡负责任地喂饲邻里猫和饲养宠物猫,也在协会网页上设有宣导负责任的喂猫方式和饲养宠物猫的册子。协会也经常和其他的动物福利团体与农粮兽医局主办路展,来宣扬和教导公众关于饲养宠物猫及喂饲邻里猫的正确方式。

  在农粮兽医局实施流浪猫绝育计划前,我国每年大约有1万3000只流浪猫被人道毁灭。可是,不间断的捕抓和毁灭行动并没有解决流浪猫为患的问题。因为当一批流浪猫被捕抓之后,空置出来的地盘很快就会被另一批流浪猫“填补”。这些猫儿大多数都是一些没有被结紮和遭遗弃的宠物猫。它们很快地在占据的新地盘上繁殖,数量也越来越多。这也就是所谓的“真空效应”。因此,捕杀流浪猫只是应付问题的短暂方法,是治标不治本的。

  既然捕杀流浪猫不能根本地解决问题,就得从绝育和管理着手。自农粮兽医局在1998年实施流浪猫绝育手术后,有许多志愿喂养流浪猫的义工们自掏腰包为流浪猫进行结紮。因此,我国流浪猫的数量已受到控制。结紮后的流浪猫性格会变得比较温顺,减少了打架和叫春的情况。新加坡国立大学在2010年的一项研究报告也显示,结紮后又得到照料的流浪猫个性比较友善温顺。猫的数量也在绝育之后减少了大约一半。

  猫福利协会不赞同不负责任的喂猫方式。喂养猫儿不是犯法的,但乱丢食物或没有将剩余的饲料清除掉却是违法的。如果在叶先生住家周围喂猫的那一位猫义工没有将剩余的饲料清除掉而造成环境污染,叶先生可向国家环境局举报,只需告诉环境局喂猫的时间和地点便可。叶先生也可以发电邮至info@catwelfare.org,协会将提供他如何预防和防止猫儿进入他家草坪的方法。

  猫福利协会非常赞同也感谢站长向恨猫者提议对猫儿以宽容之心对待。然而,站长提议爱猫者把流浪猫领回自己家里当成家猫来养的做法是不实际的。领养流浪猫的确能使它们的数量减少,但是因为地方有限和之前提到的真空效应,把所有的流浪猫带回家后,不但不能有效地控制流浪猫的数量,反而会使数量和问题增加。

猫福利协会副总裁

刘韵冰

Source: zaobao.com

Berita Harian | Jun 26, 2011

Usah kejam pada kucing
Hingga 5,100 kucing terbiar dihapuskan syarikat pengawal haiwan perosak tahun lalu

PADA Ramadan lalu, presiden Persatuan Kebajikan Kucing (CWS), Cik Fareena Mehr Omar, menerima laporan mengenai sebuah keluarga Melayu/Islam yang melepaskan dua ekor kucing peliharaan mereka di Changi Village.

Apabila beliau membuat lawatan ke rumah mereka di kawasan Ubi, keluarga itu langsung tidak rasa bersalah dan mengatakan kucing-kucing mereka pasti selamat kerana 'di situ ada banyak makanan'.

Kira-kira sebulan kemudian, dua kucing itu tidak lagi ditemui setelah pihak berkuasa mengerahkan syarikat pengawal haiwan perosak menghapuskan kucing-kucing yang terbiar di situ.

Dalam satu lagi kes pula, sebuah keluarga Melayu di Tampines melepaskan tujuh ekor kucing dewasa yang dimasukkan ke dalam sebuah sangkar dan ditinggalkan di kolong blok, bersama beberapa barang perhiasan rumah yang dibuang.

Cik Fareena berkata kes-kes pemilik kucing melepaskan haiwan peliharaan mereka biasa ditangani persatuannya sepanjang tahun.

Namun, semasa Ramadan, apabila ramai keluarga Melayu/Islam mula mengemas rumah untuk menyambut Syawal, kejadian sedemikian meningkat lebih dua kali ganda.

Walaupun tiada data-data rasmi, Cik Fareena berkata sebahagian besarnya dilakukan pemilik Melayu/Islam, berdasarkan pemerhatian lebih 500 relawannya di serata pulau, yang menjadi 'mata dan telinga' persatuan itu dalam mengesan kes-kes sedemikian.

Para pencinta kucing juga sering memberi maklum balas kepada CWS, kadangkala lengkap dengan gambar dan rakaman video, mengenai perbuatan jiran mereka melepaskan kucing.

Menurut Cik Fareena, para relawannya dibahagikan kepada kelompok di kejiranan mereka, dengan setiap kelompok merangkumi lima hingga 15 blok flat.

Di kelompok masing-masing, para relawan itu memberi makan kepada kucing-kucing terbiar setiap hari.

Lantas, mereka dapat mengesan tiap kali terdapat 'muka-muka baru' yang dilepaskan.

Memberi contoh, pada Ramadan tahun lalu, para relawan CWS mengesan 27 ekor kucing yang dilepaskan di satu kelompok di Jurong West.

Di sebuah kelompok di Eunos pula, 45 ekor kucing dilepaskan manakala jumlah di Bedok dan Tampines mencecah 25 dan 17 ekor kucing.

Pada bulan-bulan biasa, secara purata, tiga hingga 10 ekor kucing dilepaskan di kejiranan-kejiranan tersebut.

Trend ini konsisten sejak beberapa tahun lalu.

LEPASKAN KUCING SAMA SEPERTI MEMBUNUHNYA

Menurut Cik Fareena, ada salah tanggapan bahawa kucing yang dilepaskan tetap dapat hidup di luar.

'Realitinya, apabila anda melepaskan kucing samalah seperti anda membunuhnya,' tegas beliau.

Ini kerana kucing yang terbiasa dengan kehidupan di rumah sukar menyesuaikan diri apabila dilepaskan. Ia terdedah kepada penganiayaan dan mudah ditangkap oleh pegawai penghapus haiwan perosak.

Malah, banyak juga yang 'membunuh diri' dengan bersembunyi di dalam longkang-longkang dan enggan bergerak kerana terlalu takut.

'Ada satu kes kucing yang dilepaskan di bawah pokok. Ia langsung tidak bergerak kerana terlalu takut, walaupun seluruh tubuhnya diselaputi semut,' keluh Cik Fareena.

Sejumlah 5,100 kucing terbiar dihapuskan syarikat pengawal haiwan perosak tahun lalu. Pada 2009, 5,400 ekor kucing dihapuskan manakala 6,800 ekor pula dihapuskan pada 2008.

Baru-baru ini, dalam tulisan blognya, Menteri Pembangunan Negara, Encik Khaw Boon Wan, mengarah Persatuan Pertanian-Makanan dan Ternakan (AVA) agar menyemak amalan menghapuskan kucing-kucing terbiar.

Menteri Negara (Pembangunan Negara merangkap Tenaga Manusia), Brigadier-Jeneral (Kerahan) Tan Chuan-Jin, juga ditugaskan bekerjasama dengan AVA, pertubuhan kebajikan haiwan dan penduduk bagi mengorak pendekatan lebih ihsan terhadap masalah kucing terbiar.

KEMBIRI KUCING HURAIAN JANGKA PANJANG

Minggu lalu, Majlis Bandaran Sembawang mengumumkan ia tidak akan lagi menghapuskan kucing-kucing terbiar di kejiranan Chong Pang, sebaliknya akan bekerjasama dengan pertubuhan pencinta kucing untuk mengembiri haiwan-haiwan tersebut.

Langkah sedemikian disambut baik oleh CWS.

Menurut relawan CWS, Cik Suzana Sainol, program pendekatan persatuan itu mendedahkan ramai pemilik Melayu/Islam yang enggan mengembiri kucing mereka.

'Ada yang mungkin bermula dengan niat yang baik, memelihara hanya dua atau tiga ekor kucing.

'Tapi apabila kucing-kucing mereka tidak dikembiri dan mula beranak, keadaan menjadi tidak terkawal dan mulalah sesetengah mereka melepaskan kucing-kucing ini,' ujar beliau.

Cik Suzana menerangkan antara sebab yang diberi ialah kos mengembiri, antara $80 dengan $230, bergantung kepada jantina dan klinik yang menawarkan khidmat tersebut.

Beliau menambah, kucing yang tidak dikembiri juga menimbulkan masalah lain, terutama semasa musim mengawan.

Lantas, bagi menggalak keluarga Melayu/Islam mengembiri kucing peliharaan mereka, CWS telah melancarkan program mengembiri pada kadar bersubsidi, antara $25 dengan $60.

Selain isu kos, Cik Fareena berkata ramai orang Melayu juga ragu-ragu mahu mengembiri kucing kerana menganggap ia salah dari sudut agama.

Ini walaupun fatwa Muis yang dikeluarkan pada 1994 memutuskan bahawa mengembiri kucing atas sebab-sebab maslahat adalah harus.

MEMBENARKAN KUCING

DI FLAT HDB

Kini, Lembaga Perumahan dan Pembangunan (HDB) tidak membenarkan pemilik flat memelihara kucing.

Antara lain, tabiat haiwan itu seperti menggugurkan bulunya, mengiau dengan kuat serta buang najis di tempat-tempat awam, mengganggu suasana kejiranan.

Namun, pertubuhan kebajikan haiwan seperti CWS berpendapat perubahan dasar itu mungkin dapat menjadi huraian jangka panjang kepada masalah kucing-kucing terbiar.

Pendekatan yang serupa seperti memelihara anjing boleh digunakan dengan mewajibkan orang ramai memohon lesen untuk memelihara kucing dan memasang cip komputer mikro pada kucing.

Bagaimanapun, Cik Fareena akur ini bukan satu langkah yang mudah.

'Sekarang ini pun, ada kelemahan dalam sistem pemeliharaan anjing dan untuk sistem ini dikuatkuasa bagi kucing, mungkin memakan masa.

'Namun, ulasan Encik Khaw yang mencerminkan pendekatan pemerintah yang terbuka untuk bekerjasama dengan pencinta kucing dan masyarakat secara umum memberi pertubuhan seperti kami harapan,' ujarnya.

Source: Berita Harian

The Straits Times | Jun 25, 2011
Animal issues symptomatic of people problems

NATIONAL Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan's recent announcement of a review of policies towards the humane treatment of cats is a welcome one ('Culling stray cats not the way: Khaw'; June 4). As we fully engage on this issue as a society, we must recognise that animal issues are symptomatic of larger community and people-related issues.

Cat Welfare Society is a volunteer- run charity that believes in resolving issues in our community through the active participation of volunteers from the community.

Volunteers were there when a low-income family reached breaking point when they let three cats breed to 40 in their flat. They did not know how to ask for help for fear of being evicted or having their cats taken to be culled. Volunteers not only helped them sterilise and rehome their cats, but they also helped the family to seek financial and other assistance from social welfare.

Volunteers were there when there were complaints of cats defecating in corridors. They tracked down and counselled the cat owner who was not aware his cat was causing a nuisance in his block.

Volunteers were also there when an elderly man who lived alone had to be rushed to hospital leaving two cats at home. They allayed his worries about his cats until he could be reunited with them.

If animal issues could be resolved by simply removing the animals, we would not continue to face the same issues time and again. What does work is when there are active members in the community who work in tandem with town councils, even social services, to address the underlying community- and people-related issues manifesting in animal-related inconveniences.

On June 16, volunteers attended to an issue of chronic cat abandonment at a block of three-room flats in Eunos. In the course of their investigation, they encountered a mentally challenged middle-aged couple and an elderly cat feeder burdened by the abandonment.

There are those of us who feel that by paying taxes or donating to a charity, someone else will look into the social issues in our community. For the social workers and volunteers dealing head on with these issues, the burden is tremendous.

At some point, it is up to each and every one of us to do something for the people in our community with a need and make a difference.

Veron Lau (Ms)
Vice-President
Cat Welfare Society

Source: The Straits Times

ZAOBAO | Jun 24, 2011
来函:踊跃参与,尽一己之力

国家发展部部长许文远最近宣布将检讨政策,人道的处理猫的问题,我们对此深感鼓舞。在社会充分参与这个课题的讨论时,我们必须意识到,动物的课题反映了社区和与人们相关的更大课题。

  猫福利协会是一个完全由义工组成的慈善机构。协会深信只有通过志愿者的踊跃参与,才能解决社区里的问题。

  有一家低收入家庭原本只有三只猫、但因为没有及时为猫儿进行绝育导致猫儿的数量激增到40只。主人不知如何对外求助。他们深怕会被建屋发展局驱逐,猫儿也会被人道毁灭。就在他们最彷徨无助的时候,义工及时出手相助,不但帮他们的猫儿进行结紮和送人领养,还为他们向政府部门寻求经济和其他方面的援助。

  在接到有关猫儿在组屋走廊上排粪的投诉时,义工会追查猫儿的主人,告知他们猫儿的行为所带来的干扰和为猫主人提供辅导。很多时候,猫主人对于猫儿的行为所带来的干扰毫不知情。如果在没有把详情告知猫主人的情况下就把猫儿带走,不但会使他们对感到愤怒、也会让他们在不知情的情况下又再领养另一只猫,让同样的问题一再发生。

  义工们也曾经在一位独居老伯伯因病入院而无法照顾遗留在家中的两只猫儿时帮助他。义工们的帮忙不但解除了老伯伯的担忧,也在老伯伯出院后让他与猫儿团聚。

  如果动物造成的问题能够通过带走他们就简单的获得解决,我们也不会一而再再而三的面对同样的问题。有很多动物的问题,其实也与社区和与人相关的问题有关。因此,只有通过社区里的活跃份子、市镇理事会、社会服务团体等多方面的携手合作,才能解决它们。

  上个星期四,当一群义工在友诺士的一个三房式组屋调查和处理不时有猫儿被遗弃的事件时,遇见了一对精神有问题的中年夫妇,和一位因猫儿被遗弃而饱受困扰的年长喂猫人士。义工为其中一人打扫走廊。

  有些人或许会认为只要缴税和捐款给慈善机构,就会有人解决社区里的问题。对处理这些问题的社会工作者和义工来说,他们的负担是很沉重的。有些时候,我们大家应尽一己之力、帮助社区里有需要的人。

猫福利协会

Source: zaobao.com

The Straits Times | Jun 04, 2011
Culling stray cats not the way: Khaw
Kimberly Spykerman

More humane approach possible if responsible owners spay their cat, he says.

Yahoo! News | Jun 03, 2011
Khaw calls for AVA to review culling of cats
Fann Sim

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has called for the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) 'to seriously consider reviewing its culling programme for cats'.

Writing in his blog, Minister Khaw said that an elderly resident had gone to him last week to ask for help after her pet cat was caught by the AVA and was concerned that it will be culled.

"I told her AVA came under my Ministry and I would intervene," he said.

Minister Khaw added that the following day, the AVA checked and said that her cat was not with them and they would look out for it and return it to her should it be sent to AVA subsequently.

"Stray cats are a source of complaints in Housing Development Board (HDB) estates but killing them is not the best way to go," Minister Khaw wrote.

"The right thing is for cat lovers to own the problem, eliminate the nuisance created by irresponsible behaviour, and sterilise the cats to control their population."

"Where there are enough cat-lovers out there willing to own this problem, we can avoid culling in those estates," he added.

When AVA terminated their sterilisation programme in May 2003, volunteers took it upon themselves to sterilise stray cats.

Veron Lau, vice-president of the Cat Welfare Society (CWS) said, "The sterilisation supported by volunteers have helped seen culling numbers go down."

While CWS can continue to support the sterilisation of cats, Lau feels that more must be done to curb the stray cats problem.

"There is not enough done in terms of educating the public."

Other than looking into a review of the cats culling programme, many cat lovers have also asked Minister Khaw to review the domestication of cats in HDB flats. Currently, HDB does not allow cats to be domesticated at home.

Ronald Ng posted on MND's Facebook wall and said, "I hope Mr Khaw would be more compassionate to allow HDB residents to domesticate cats and have more humane way to remove stray cats from the streets of Singapore in a decade (that's 2 terms)."

Minister Khaw also wrote that he will seek Minister of State Tan Chuan-Jin's help to work out a compassionate and mature approach towards the stray cats problem.

NGOs such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) welcomed his suggestion.

"AVA could work together with animal welfare associations to help bring down the number of stray cats population but it would be more effective if they had the authorisation to do so in the first place," said Deirdre Moss, executive director of SPCA.

She added, "When the minister endorses it in a positive manner, I think it's great and positive step for animal welfare that he's commenting on this issue."

Additional reporting by Faris Mokhtar

Source: Yahoo! News

ST Forum | Oct 07, 2010
Sterilisation works better than culling-only practice

Ms Fong Yuet Ming questioned the premise of a "no kill" policy maintained in certain animal shelters where space and resource constraints would lead to a large number of animals being turned away to face the consequence of being rounded up to be culled ("Questions for no-kill animal shelters" ST Forum, Sept 29).

She asked if there are humane alternatives. The well-run shelters that our Society has the privilege of knowing not only take in unwanted animals, their volunteers actively undertake stray animal sterilisation projects to control the population and integrate these sterilised animals into the community with proper management. This in the long run reduces the need for more cats and dogs to be sent to shelters or be culled.

It is certainly not enough for shelters to be started on little more than good intentions without thought to long term sustainable solutions to the stray issue.

The statistics are encouraging. Culling rates continue to drop year on year in correlation to decreasing estimates of the community cat population, largely attributed to the relentless sterilisation effort in the last 10 years. This decrease is unprecedented in any of the preceding years when culling was the only form of animal control. This is good news not only for people concerned about animal welfare but the people who don’t like animals and want less of them.

It is imperative that sterilisation efforts be intensified at a national level to accelerate this momentum, instead of being impeded by impatience and polemic on both sides – animal-phobes as well as those who drain resources to compulsively shelter animals.

We encourage everyone to be part of the solution by participating in your local sterilisation effort.

Veron Lau
Vice-President
Cat Welfare Society 

Source:ST Forum

The New Paper | Speak Up July 01, 2010
Removing animals without addressing human behaviours will not solve the problem

READER Lin Xiumei wrote in her letter 'Stray cats made life miserable' (The New Paper, June 21) about the kinds of trouble that stray cats can cause.

But the trouble mentioned does not stem from the cats as much as it does from the behaviour of the neighbour in feeding the cats in the corridor, luring the cats up to her flat. The Cat Welfare Society also does not condone such a practice. There are good feeding practices and there are bad ones.

Issues that arise between neighbours are often a result of inconsiderate behaviour. Reader Joe Lim, in his letter on June 15, highlighted some of these. There are also other types of anti-social behaviour and these sometimes involve animals, evident in the complaints about people letting their pets roam unattended, not picking up their dog's poo and littering when they are presumably doing the animals a favour by feeding them. As such, this is less an animal issue than a human one.

But in many such cases, it is the animals that are villainised and they suffer the consequences of being culled. In the meantime, irresponsible behaviour go unaddressed and persist to bring new headaches to neighbours and put other animals in danger.

There is a growing concern among people in Singapore for the welfare and humane treatment of pets and community animals and this is indicative of a progressive society such as ours. There is far more awareness from cat owners now about keeping their pet cats strictly indoors and from caregivers who look after community cats with good feeding habits and sterilising them to control the population. Their actions need to be contrasted with those who disregard their neighbours' concerns.

Education and enforcement are key. Education on responsible feeding is underway in many estates through notices and the work of Town Council officers and volunteers to take appropriate action against irresponsible feeders.

VERON LAU
VICE-PRESIDENT
CAT WELFARE SOCIETY

Source: The New Paper

联合早报 | 观点 July 10, 2010

当一个尽责的爱猫人

读了《联合早报·交流站》于6月19日刊登的孙红梅读者投函《养野猫是否间接助长鼠患》,及于6月25日刊刊登的包津梁读者投函《应教育爱猫人士正确喂猫》,猫福利协会(Cat Welfare Society)希望借此机会回应并教育喂养猫儿的人士有关于喂养邻里猫应知的事项。

猫福利协会要澄清,喂养猫儿并不犯法,可是随意乱丢垃圾却是触犯法律的行为。我们鼓励所有爱猫人士负起应有的饲养责任,在喂猫时应利用碗盘或硬纸板等容器盛放食物,而不是直接放在地上。猫儿进食后留下的残余食物必须马上清除,以免引来其他动物抢食。

另外,我们也鼓励爱猫人士对猫儿进行绝育手术,以便有效地控制猫儿的繁衍。

至于文中所提到的鼠患问题,根本原因并不是因为对猫儿过度喂养引起,而是随意放置以及乱丢食物残余所造成的。

为了杜绝鼠患,我们应该把焦点放在问题的根本,也就是乱丢垃圾的行为。这也是为什么猫福利协积极教育大众负起应有的喂养责任,以免衍生其他问题。

最后,我们非常赞同包先生的提议,制作相关的录影带分发给公众,让大家更能了解喂养邻里猫儿的应有责任。

我们呼吁所有爱猫者做一个尽责的爱猫人!有责任的饲养可以促进居民与猫儿的和平共处。

公众若有任何关于邻里猫的询问,欢迎与协会联络。我们的网址是www.catwelfare.org。

猫福利协会副主席
刘韵冰

Source: zaobao.com

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