March 29, 2009

Western Australia RSPCA's

Five Freedoms for Animals

The RSPCA believes that all animals have the right to five basic freedoms:

* Freedom from hunger and thirst: by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour
* Freedom from discomfort: by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
* Freedom from pain injury and disease: by prevention by rapid diagnosis and treatment
* Freedom to express normal behaviour: by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind
* Freedom from fear and distress: by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

I believe we have room for great improvements in this call for freedom.

March 23, 2009

On behalf of a rescuer

"Dear all,

My friend and I found this maltese in beach road, near the army market, tied outside a police post. Was told by the police that he was left there since morning and under the rain for the entire day until we passed by at about 5pm.

He fur was all matted and he had a stong stench coming from him. We brought him straight to the groomer to have all his fur shaven off and afterwards to see the vet.

Vet said he is about 8 years and is healthy except for a heart murmur which is not clinical as yet. He is very active for his age and loves going out. He is very intelligent and behaves like a 3 year old. From our observation, he seems to like other dogs. He got quite attached to my friend and I after that few hours together but we are unable to keep him. I'm sure he will be able to adapt fast to his new home.

Thinking back about how he was abondoned under the rain really pains me alot. I couldn't hold back my tears in front of the SPCA guy as I knew that if I let him go, his life will end already.

Every dog, whether young or old, deserves an equal right to live. He has many more good years to come as long as his heart remains as it is. Please give this boy a second chance to live life to the fullest. Do consider adopting him and giving him a nice loving home?

Best regards,
Denise 91811125"

March 15, 2009

We are not animal police

officers and our telephone numbers are not animal rescue hotlines.

We are but a small clique of animal activists doing our bit to better the animal welfare scene here.

March 6, 2009

I apologise, cats do

contract diseases that can be transmissible to humans, as an animal science major corrected me, but very rare, just like how the last outbreak of rabies is pretty faraway from us.

March 3, 2009

Sharing the contents of a letter

I'm passing to a senior caregiver who recently encountered an agitated housewife worked up over the issue of stray cats feeding. This is a case-specific letter of support.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing in fullest support of Mrs K's feeding of community cats and would like to share with you some pointers pertinent to and the benefits of her excellent service to this community:

1. Cats, domestic or stray, use their claws to grip onto grooves or crevices to climb -- for example, the bark of a tree. Where there are no grooves on the roofs of cars, there is no need for cats to utilize their claws, hence it is unlikely that cats will scratch the cars. Moreover, cats' claws, unlike dogs', are retractable, so when there is no need to use them, the claws remain unprotruded.

2. The stains on the floor are not caused by the cats or by cat feeding. If you'd noticed, the stains are deeply ingrained and have been present for a long time, probably as a result of used furniture, discarded cardboard boxes and so on dumped there. If you'd lived here long enough, you'd know that the current location used to be a provision shop with shelves, boxes and other objects placed along the footway previously.

3. All, if not most cats, in the neighbourhood have been sterilised in a humane move to reduce and manage street cats' numbers. Residents and shop owners are thankful for had it not been Mrs K's sound management of the community cats, we would have many stray cats running around. Obvious benefits include:

* Cats keep the number of pests down. Residents in the building and nearby houses, as well as the eateries, are spared from rats problems, as the presence of cats helps prevent pest intrusion in natural and effective ways.
* Infected cats are sent to the vet's to control the spreading of diseases such as feline flu, although there are no known cat diseases that are transmissible to humans. The cats are very well taken of.
* With the cats sufficiently-fed -- coupled with the fact that they are sterilised -- the community cats are satisfied of their basic need and distracted from entering residents' kitchens or rummaging through discarded trash to seek food. Cats-related nuisance is totally, if not greatly, reduced.

4. The statutes of Singapore does not forbid the feeding of community cats. In other words, it is okay to feed, but not litter. Mrs K does not leave trays and containers lying around but collects them and picks up surrounding litter (in fact, other litter left by passer-bys), keeping the environment clean and upkeeping hygiene.

5. It is part of the cats' natural healing system to regurgitate food to remove toxins from their bodies. However, we do not see or smell cat's vomit in this neighbourhood, nor see this as any sign of a problem. As a matter of fact, unpicked dogs' faeces along our pavements are more conspicuous and disturbing.

6. Feeding community cats, keeping cats in households -- these are common to our neighbourhood as a generally cats-friendly estate, as well as to residents -- a handful of whom have been living here for decades.

7. Community cats have been around for years. Residents and retail owners in this neighbourhood are not only tolerant but also supportive of the cats and cats feeding as these cats are well managed and feeding approaches are ethical and hygienic.

8. Cat feeding here is supported and endorsed by the Residential Committee and on a previous account, supported by a local cats welfare organisation.

9. Mrs K has been doing this community a great favour by sterilising, feeding and medicating cats out of her own expenses, in terms of time and money. We are nothing but appreciative of her efforts in making this neighbourhood a gracious one.

I would also like to share that I have been living in this neighbourhood for over 20 years and can vouch for the cats' caregivers involved that what they are doing is adding socio-environmental value to the estate, bringing more benefits to all of us. Cats are among the cleanest animals for they self-groom to keep their coats proper and are integral to our urban ecology.

Just like how we learn and adapt to live harmoniously with our neighbours, we do the same with these cats, and all the more so, with Samaritans like Mrs K who help control the cat population by her own means.

I encourage you to consider my comments and seek your understanding and good heart in this matter. Should you have any query, you may direct it to the residential committee or phone me at [mobile number] .

Thank you for your support.


Resident, [Name of estate]

Letter's modified to protect identities.

March 2, 2009

For three occasions, I'd been trying

to help an elderly stray feeder who tends to community cats in her estate capture a black-tabby cat suffering from an injured lip. But all to no avail for the moment he hears a motorcycle rev up or a stranger saunter past, he'll scurry lightning fast out of the strayfeeder's hold.

The feeder, Aunty S, suggested to prop the carrier vertically upright with its gate open so that when she's got hold of the tabby, she could put him in swiftly while I'd force the door of the carrier shut, in case the cat bolts its way out upwards. Our black-tabby with white socks is only familiar and friendly with his stray feeder, that's how wary he is.

So Saturday 4am, we decided to carry this out, perhaps in our final attempt, to catch black-tabby. I completely overslept and awoke nearly one hour after our stipulated time, drove to the feeding point, found the strayfeeder gone and drove to her home.

In good cheer, Aunty S carried out her post-feeding morning chores and with a smile, she told me there's no need to send black-tabby to the vet clinic anymore for he's recovered so much that he now eats twice the amount than when he was down with the injured lip. Thanks to Bonjela, the cream we use to treat mouth ulcers. Aunty gave it a try by dabbing a minute amount on tabby's lips, and it worked!

On Pommy's front: our Pomeranian look-alike is definitely looking good and doing well. It seems that after the infection on his wound, our boy has lost some weight, not just visually, but tactile-wise, when we felt his markedly protruding ribs.

In the clean, sterile environment of the clinic, Pommy's wound looks so much better and he seems to be adapting so well to the ward. Big thanks to J and Y for assisting with tending to Pommy; we took him out of his cage and cleaned him up a bit. The discharge around his eyes, [removed] a giant mother tick on his back, a few baby ticks on his ears, dirt in his dense pomeranian-like fur.

And probably with all the fingers and hands stroking him, Pommy almost fell asleep, droopy-eyed, tucked into J's laps. Ah, so lovely!

Even when his injury seems unsightly, Pommy is most powered up by boiled chicken shreds we fed him with. Eagerly, he moved about at the fragrance of the meat. Ambitiously, he ate from our hands, wolfing the shreds in nanoseconds.

On the same day, we phoned Uncle to give him updates on Pommy and the costs involved in this. Flatly, he told us he does not want to take Pommy back anymore for the sheer cost and time involved in taking care of him. In the long run of things, he doesn't see himself committing to Pommy.

Strange enough, he's happy that Pommy is alive and kicking for in bright spirits, he actually went around telling his neighbours (other farmers), "My dog didn't die. He is alive, he is alive!"

At times, we will never be able to make sense of how Uncle and his generation of farmers approach animals and animal life -- be it functional dogs to guard their farms or pet dogs to keep their grandchildren company. His is a generation of:

* It doesn't matter if dogs are chained up in the day. They are born to be tough.

* Table scraps of vegetable stalks, fish tails, prawn heads, mixed with porridge or wet rice -- dogs can survive on these.

* It's cruel and defies the order of nature to spay cats; let the mother cat give birth to her litters. I have use of these cats to keep rats out of my premises.

I'm still grappling with the chasm between them and the league of animal advocates I know of. And grappling with how to educate him on the ethical treatment of animals.

Email us at if you would like to pitch in to help Pommy.