Friday, November 4, 2011

Pilot Scheme For Strays

Caregivers of strays and pet owners welcome the pilot scheme regarding feeding station for stray cats and registering of cat in HDB in near future. However the proposed scheme is likely to see teething issues in these areas :

1) The need for strays feeders to register with Cat Welfare Society (CWS) and feeders will be fined if they do not clear up within 2 hours. Those caregivers from CWS are responsible feeders. It is normally those who are not with any animal welfare groups who mess up the place. What is the likelihood of these folks registering themselves with CWS so that they can be identified to be fined ? For the scheme to be successful there must be active ground outreach program to identify and educate these feeders. Only then can CWS hope to get them to register themselves.

2) Most cats are territorial. Some estates have more profound strays issue than others. In certain HDB estate zones, there are more than 2 strays per block. To have only 1 feeding station per 3 blocks of flat will not work. It is more practical to have 1 feeding station per block.

3) The scheme allows registration of 1 cat per flat. What happen to those who have more cats? If forcefully implemented, then the rest will end up as strays or terminated. This will defeat the whole aim of the scheme which is to nurtured a more compassionate society. For the initial phrase, be more flexible and let owners registered all their cats with the understanding that they need to be responsible to ensure their pets don't give problem. Let this batch live out their live spans. Have a cut of date for registering for the initial batch of cats. After which it will be 1 cat per flat registration.

4) The key to success in this scheme is compulsory sterilization both pets and strays. The current program run by SPCA and CWS for strays sterilization is not 'user friendly'. It involves balloting for limited sterilization vouchers at SPCA or reimbursement and patronizing only approved vet clinics for CWS. If SPCA and other animal welfare group could come together to implement mobile vet services, this could enhance the success of the sterilization program and improve animal welfare.

This pilot scheme is a step in the right direction towards a more compassionate society. It is only when any culture has a sympathy for its animal companions, that it has a chance to become sensitive and caring in all respects.

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