Friday, February 17, 2006

The HDB letter that made little sense & its responses

It will be interesting to see how HDB responds. This is what happens when you have a policy made on poor understanding and feeble reasons.
This is HDB's letter.

HDB won't allow cats in flats
The New Paper, Friday 10 Feb 2006

I refer to the letter "Why Is HDB Against Cats In Flats?" (The New Paper, 21 Jan).

We wish to explain 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.

We thank the writer for her feedback.

-- Mrs Foo-Ho Yoke Ming
Deputy Director (Branch Operations)
Housing & Development Board

And here are two of the responses that came in.

SPCA: Allow cats in HDB flats
The New Paper, Wednesday 15 Feb 2006

I refer to the letter "HDB won't allow cats in flats" (The New Paper, 10 Feb) by Mrs Foo-Ho Yoke Ming, Deputy Director (Branch Operations) Housing and Development Board.

The letter contains statements about cats which do not, in SPCA's opinion, justify the prohibition on keeping of these animals in HDB flats.

Cats are clean animals and make excellent apartment-dwellers. They are independent, do not need daily walks and are quite content to be indoors.

SPCA is of the opinion that cats should be permitted to be kept in HDB flats on the proviso that they are sterilised, micro-chipped and confined indoors.

Cats are by nature very quiet once sterilised, as the mating instincts would no longer be present. They are easily trained to use kitty litter in a designated space so there is no reason for them to go outside.

The SPCA has been lobbying for a more humane solution in reducing the number of stray animals in Singapore.

If HDB amended the rule on the prohibition of cats, it would undoubtedly reduce the number of stray cats in HDB estates and in turn the numbers of complaints it receives.

-- Deirdre Moss
Executive Officer

Cats' bad habits no worse than dogs'
The New Paper, Friday 17 Feb 2006

I refer to the reply, "HDB won't allow cats in flats" (The New Paper, 10 Feb) from Mrs Foo-Ho Yoke Ming, Deputy Director (Branch Operations) of HDB.

She said that cats can shed fur, dirty public places, make noise and cause disturbance.

With all due respect, I must say that dogs also exhibit these traits, not to mention their inclination to mark territory by peeing in various public spots they pass.

Yet certain breeds of dogs are allowed in flats.

I don't have any problem with this but I am not happy with the reasons given for banning cats.

The reply also mentioned that it is difficult to confine cats in flats.

I have seen cats in private flats happy to be kept indoors. I agree with Ms Deirdre Moss of the SPCA in her letter, "SPCA: Allow cats in HDB flats (The New Paper, 15 Feb), that cats become quiet and retiring after they have been sterilised.

I urge the HDB to review this policy.

-- Idham bin Jantan

~5-Cat Style


the letter b said...

my blood boils. i've always believed that there are many anti-cat types who work in HDB and town council. but this Mrs Foo or whatever she calls herself is a fine example of a creature - as opposed to human being - who exhibits less common sense than the average community cat.

CatDonna & Cats said...

This is crazy.

The official letter is clearly a badly written one. It's full of unsubstantiated assumptions ["nomadic", "dirty"] and illogical sequences [prohibiting cats in HDB flats will apparently promote a "pleasant living environment" but clearly this ban is highly disputable and its goal hasn't yet been achieved].

It's sad when government representatives embarrass themselves and their organisations with their ignorance and unwillingness to carry out some rudimentary research.

Anonymous said...

This reply destroys the world-class professionalism that HDB has been striving very hard to achieve.
It is another "template" reply with the oft-heard "civil servant" catchphrases such as "cat nuisance" and "nomadic".
With this reply circulated internationally, this is one big shame!

mrs budak said...

This is a standard letter that HDB takes out from its archives whenever someone. More than one year ago, HDB replied to my feedback:

This is despite my original feedback addressing all the points raised!!! I gave what I felt were very workable suggestions for HDB which requires no additional work on their part! For example, I suggested that all cats kept in the flat must be 1) sterilised; and 2) microchipped, at the owners cost.

These people's brains really not functioning.

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