Time to revive Stray Cats Rehabilitation Scheme
I AM writing to urge the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority’s (AVA) Centre for Animal Welfare and Control and the town councils to revive the Stray Cats Rehabilitation Scheme and step up awareness among the public that offenders caught abandoning pets are liable on conviction to a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment.
The presence of stray cats and dogs is the result of irresponsible pet owners abandoning their pets. These strays end up scavenging at food centres and rubbish bins for survival. Like humans, they mate and multiply. As their numbers increase, we complain of their defecation, noise from cat fights, caterwauling and scratches on cars.
If we can set up old folks’ homes to house elderly folk abandoned by their children, if we can run campaigns to raise awareness for Aids and yet continue to permit the oldest trade in the world, why can’t we make a humane effort to control strays rather than just cull them and teach the public responsible pet ownership.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the AVA put down 10,000 to 15,000 stray cats a year. Since 2002, the AVA has, on average each year, impounded some 3,500 dogs and 5,700 cats and received 4,000 and 5,000 calls complaining about stray dogs and cats respectively. SPCA receives some 700 abandoned pets every month but fewer than 20 per cent are successfully found new homes.
Controlling the population of stray cats and dogs requires a multi-pronged approach. As stated in the AVA’s media release dated June 13, 2003, culling of strays is one necessary method to control the population. But when will such a cruel exercise be stopped?
The Stray Cats Rehabilitation Scheme sterilised some 3,000 stray cats before it was stopped in 2003. These sterilised cats would have remained at 3,000 to this day, if they survived road accidents or illness. A pair of cats can mate and produce up to 324 progeny in about two years. Assuming an equal number in sexes and using only simple mathematical calculations, the scheme has effectively saved at least 486,000 homeless cats from being born in 2005. This naturally translates into fewer public complaints for the AVA and the town councils, and savings in costs incurred rounding up and culling these cats.
Phyllis Tan (Ms)
Filed under ava, Blog, letters, tnrm