The challenges of feeding street animals

Here are some news from Korea:

I must say that I can personally identify with some of the challenges mentioned in this article from Korea.

Firstly, a few years ago during the time when I was feeding Daffodil, Rosie, Ginger, Heidi and Timmy as CNRM-cats, one of my former neighbours actually came over to my gate to scold me outright for feeding street cats in front of my gate (and I was using proper bowls and cleaning up after that). Technically, in front of my gate is not my property anymore and that is why now, I feed Gerald, Creamy and Samantha INSIDE my porch. Inside my porch is my property. So if anyone comes over to scold me, I can pretty much tell them to *mind their own business* (the vocabulary and expressions will depend on my mood when it happens).

Secondly, in my many sole attempts at appealing for some kindness and understanding from neighbours through the neighbourhood group chat, I was told that “if you want to care for these animals, put them inside your house”.  Yes, absolutely intolerant of the very presence of street animals on “their” street. But hello, when did you own this street or this Earth, for that matter? But as you know, there is absolutely no point in reasoning with such people. They think they own the Earth.

I also think that inculcating “tolerance” here isn’t really very healthy or useful. Tolerance, to me, means that you just put up with it but you actually do not like it. So, there comes a time when you would reach your breaking point and you will explode. So it’s not tolerance that we need but understanding. Or at least, acceptance. We need people to understand that this Earth belongs to the animals as well, and people need to accept that the animals have every right to live with us. You may not like them, but please do not harm them. And please do not take the easy way out and call the councils either. That is definitely harming them.

The law does not work in our favour. Do please read the Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171), particularly Clauses 80, 81 and 82 on the abatement of nuisances. You will understand why. And as much as we have tried, changing these laws is an impossible task. Recently, we just spoke with someone of great importance. The conclusion is: Get people to stop complaining.

Thirdly, I want to share this from more than 25 years ago when we were living in our old neighbourhood. At that time, we only had Mac and Bobby, our dogs. Bobby had declared Mac to be his lifelong enemy so Mac had to live in our backyard while Bobby lived inside our house. If the two met, they would fight. It was the type of fights that would cause grievous harm to poor Mac. Unfortunately, our backyard faced the neighbour’s kitchen (well, they extended their kitchen right to the back without leaving any space at all). And at that time, the neighbour was an extremely loud person whose manner of speaking was to shout. All day. Each time she “spoke” (read: shouted), Mac would bark at her. So you can imagine the din with Mac practically barking all day. So, she made two reports against us to the council and the council came to check. On the second visit, luckily Mac knew something was going on, I quickly asked Mac to be quiet (he did it) and I asked the officer to come into the house, led him to the back to listen to the woman’s incessant shouting. I explained to the kind officer why Mac barked and explained that the woman was practically shouting all day. Luckily the officer understood and even offered for me to report the neighbour (yes, that shouting woman) for “disturbing the peace” (sebagai kacau-ganggu). I was so lucky that we met an officer who was reasonable and understanding. I don’t think we will ever be so lucky again nowadays. Note: I chose not to report the shouting woman as “kacau-ganggu”. I will not sink to her level.

Well, back to my present neighbourhood now, after years of appealing for some understanding from some of them, I am quite happy to share that I think I may have broken through to one of them. The operative word here is “may”. I continue being the lone voice in my neighbourhood, appealing for some kindness to street animals. So if you are also in my position, all I can say is, hang in there…but never ever give up.

If we don’t speak up for them, who will, right?







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