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29 June 2006

Monday, April 03, 2006

HDB bans cats - government body chronically misconceived

HDB bans cats, period. Doesn't matter what you keep in your flat, as long as it's not prohibited by AVA, is not a large dog nor a cat. Here's what the HDB says about pets, on its website: Home > Keeping Of Pets > Overview Overview HDB has to consider the overall sentiments of the HDB residents when setting policies and rules. Not all residents like pets, or are comfortable with neighbours keeping pets. HDB has allowed one dog of an approved breed to be kept in an HDB flat. The approved breeds of dogs are the smaller dogs which are generally more manageable. Please click here for the list of approved breeds of dogs. Cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats. HDB also allows flat owners to keep other pet animals such as fish, hamsters, rabbits, birds, etc which generally do not cause nuisance to the neighbouring residents. (source) Chronically, HDB refuses to look the flaws of its' cat-ban in the face. It continues to insist that "cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats as they are nomadic in nature and it is difficult to confine them to flats. Cats can shed fur, dirty public places, make noise and cause disturbance. Despite the prohibition on cats, HDB has been receiving from residents numerous complaints relating to cats.As our priority is to promote a pleasant living environment and good relationships for all residents in our housing estates, HDB will maintain its existing policy on not allowing cats to be kept in the flats." Contrast the leeway allowed to keep other fur-shedding animals, and even nuisance causing yapping small dogs. How does HDB dodge the issue? Let us count the ways: Letters in The New Paper (Jan 2006 to Present) The following are letters from the public, and a column published in the New Paper since January 2006 and HDB’s sole response on the anti-cat rule. Very noteworthy is the fact that the HDB has only responded to the letter "Why is HDB against cats in flats?". * Feline Attraction (New Paper, January 16, 2006) (Add'l ref) * Why is HDB against cats in flats? (New Paper, January 22, 2006) * HDB won't allow cats in flats (New Paper, February 11, 2006) * SPCA: Allow cats in HDB flats (New Paper, February 16, 2006) * Cats' bad habits no worse than dogs' (New Paper, February 18, 2006) * HDB must update its knowledge about cats (New Paper, February 23 2006) * Ban both cats and dogs from HDB flats (New Paper, February 23 2006) * Pets can be therapeutic to elderly (New Paper, March 1, 2006) * Cats are purr-fect pets, yes, even in HDB flats (New Paper, March 7, 2006) * Cats less noisy than some HDB residents (New Paper, March 17, 2006) (Discussion threads: HDB's chronic misconception of cats - contains letter communications between members of public and HDB on this ridiculous ban. Highlight: HDB's shameless application of the template reply, evne after the claims have been refuted!) The Cat Welfare Society Appeals (2001 – 2002) Summary The HDB Ruling and Your Cat 14 Oct 02 - With the ongoing effort of Catwelfare Society to appeal to the Ministry of National Development to relax the rulings against keeping cats as pets in HDB flats, its easy to get lost in the letters and responses. Dr. Lynn Yeo has kindly compiled the incidents into an easy to read chronological summary of the ongoing exchange for your convenience. Included is also a summary of the details of the proposal. by Dr Lynn Yeo A SUMMARY OF EVENTS - 6 September 2001 CWS writes to the Minister for National Development, appealing for a review of the HDB rule against the keeping of cats. CWS submits a Proposal for MND’s consideration. - 16 October 2001 CWS meets with officials from MND and HDB to discuss the matter. - 26 February 2002 MND turns down CWS appeal, citing concerns about irresponsible ownership and difficulties of implementation as the main reasons for the rejection. - 5 July 2002 CWS submits an amended Proposal addressing MND’s concerns and providing workable solutions. CWS reiterates that the fundamental basis for the Proposal is responsible pet ownership - only those who abide by the strict guidelines will be allowed to keep cats. - 8 July 2002 HDB ruling on cats is brought up in Parliament. - 2 August 2002 MND turns down our appeal again, citing the same reasons as before. - LATEST UPDATE: 2nd September 2002 CWS writes to MND expressing disappointment with the negative response. The latest official response did not appear to have taken our suggestions and amended proposal on board. CWS has requested another meeting with the MND and HDB to further discuss the matter and clarify our position. We are awaiting their reply. - CWS PROPOSAL AT A GLANCE: The Proposal was submitted to support our appeal to the MND and HDB to consider changing the rules which presently disallow the keeping of cats as pets in HDB flats. The following were cited in support of a change in the rules: 1. A large number of HDB dwellers would like to keep cats as pets. In a survey conducted over a period of 2 weeks, an overwhelming 2,500 respondents expressed the desire to keep cats in HDB flats and supported a change in the rules. 2. 32 veterinary surgeons supported our Proposal and testified that cats are ideal apartment pets. 3. Contrary to belief, cats once sterilised: * do NOT roam and will happily stay indoors * do NOT caterwaul because there is no longer an urge to mate or fight for territory 4. Cats are easily toilet-trained and when kept indoors do NOT pose problems for either the owner or neighbours. Cats are clean, quiet, spend 80% of their time sleeping, and do not need to be walked. 5. Cats make excellent pets for the urban dweller and provide companionship for people of all ages. Disallowing cats in flats would deprive the majority of us from these benefits. 6. The existing rule discriminates against cat lovers. Cats are the only domestic animals not allowed to be kept as pets. CWS RECOMMENDATIONS: CWS has recommended the following which address all the concerns raised by MND and HDB: 1. All cats in HDB flats must be: Sterilised; Vaccinated; Electronically tagged (mircochipped). This will ensure that pet cats will not breed, are healthy, and the owners can easily be identified. The tag will also allow appropriate action to be taken against irresponsible owners who abandon their cats. Microchipping is a simple, safe and painless procedure. A small chip about the size of a rice grain is inserted under the cat’s skin by way of a quick injection. The chip contains information about the cat and its owner. 2. The cat(s) must be kept indoors at all times, and the owner must make sure that windows and doors are appropriately fenced up and secured so that the cat(s) cannot run out of the flat. 3. There should not be more than 3 cats per household to ensure sufficient space and attention for the cats. 4. A compassionate transitional stage where owners of more than three cats will be allowed to keep their cats until their natural death. With natural attrition, the number of cats will eventually be adjusted to the stipulated 3 per flat. 5. Only residents who comply with all the above terms and conditions will be allowed to keep cats in HDB flats. They must be registered with the local RC or Town Council as the legal and responsible owner of the cat(s). 6. CWS will assist MND and HDB with the registration process and help ensure that all the stipulated conditions are complied with. This will help ease the strain on their existing manpower resources. Chronology * Letter to Ministry of National Development: Revising the HDB pet rules (September 6, 2001) * CWS's New Proposal to HDB/ MND (July 5, 2002) * Another appeal to let cats into HDB flats (July 7, 2002) * Cats Are Still Not Welcome in HDB Flats: Reply from MND (September 1, 2002) * MEETING WITH HDB 23RD OCTOBER 2002 * Letters to the press on this issue published during this period - Cats Make Great Pets in HDB Flats (11 Jul 02) - Sterilised Felines Won't Be a Nuisance (Straits Times, July 11, 2002) - Time to treat animals with grace (Straits Times, July 18, 2002) An Appeal/Study In Support of Allowing Cats In Flats, and Sterilisation of Strays In Place of Culling Overhaul of HDB Cat Ownership Policy Dr Sing Kong Yuen, a veterinarian at Toa Payoh Vets, analyses and displays his letters to the authorities in regards to issue of overhauling the HDB Cat Ownership Policy. Link (Alt Link) Other Letters Mentioning Cats * Traumatised by animal cruelty – even after 18 years (Today, 23 March, 2006) [ref case] "When we moved into a flat, we were only allowed to keep dogs. It's a shame because cats are clean animals which adapt themselves better to a flat." * Psst... mr brown, your help's needed. Desperately! (TODAY, 20060406) Please consider adding your voice to the appeal: 1) write to these addressees: here, here 2) think about the arguments to refute their claims: here, here, here Go to: Casefile: Cruel Singapore. Hack-care Singapore. (Special recommendation: Singapore's Love-Hate Relationship with Trap-Neuter-Release Management ) c

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