SingaporeD’Leedon Condo issues notice to remove 2 cats, Mimi & one-eyed son,...

D’Leedon Condo issues notice to remove 2 cats, Mimi & one-eyed son, without holding EOGM

“The cats,  though harmless, have caused some annoyance to the subsidiary proprietors or occupiers of other lots” – 6th Management Council of D’Leedon Condo

“Harmless” Felines

Although the management council of D’Leedon Condo observed that the community felines were “harmless”, they elected to “remove the cats from the estate” with notice just a couple of paragraphs later. The council also decided not to accede to the demands of some residents for an EOGM to be convened so that all interested residents have their say on the matter. Just a month prior, the council had sent a letter to all residents to state that, having received legal advice, they would convene an EOGM on the issue.

This decision did not go down well with residents who campaigned for the cats. The cats have been living at the carpark of D’Leedon condominium for the last 7 years, and many residents have grown close to them over the years.

Janice Kara, who started a petition for the cats that has more than 2,000 signatures, is of the view that the cats would not be able to fend for themselves if they are removed from the estate.

This comes as devastating news to my neighbours and I who spend at least an hour and a half daily with the cats. As much as we would like to adopt them into our homes, we are unable to and sincerely hope they could continue living in the carpark of our condo. If kicked out of their own homes, they will likely be unable to fend for themselves as they have been taken care of and fed by loving caregivers for more than six years.

One concerned resident even penned a letter to the Chinese press about this issue.

However, these pleas did not persuade the majority of council members. In this article, we attempt to retrace the circumstances leading to their removal.

Mimi and Blackie

In an urgent call for adopters on 21 May 2022, Mimi and her one-eyed son, Blackie, were described in the following terms:-

Mimi our fishball, is a clever and playful feline who we can guarantee will warm up to you. She has been living in the D’Leedon condo carpark for 7 years with her son Blackie. Though sassy, and a frequent chill princess, she is an absolute rubber and loves giving little love bites to get hoomans to pet her…

Blackie is a very friendly boy with a loud meow. He cannot live his life without daily cuddles, kisses, chin rubs and sitting on hooman laps. He’s got one eye but that doesn’t stop him from having fun and showering you with love. He’s an extremely adventurous and manja fella, not to mention a spoilt little rascal.

Just before we return to the human side of things, witness Mimi and Blackie’s manja-ness for yourself.

- Advertisement 2-

Finding a forever home for Mimi and Blackie

- Advertisement 3-

These 2 cats have been living outdoors for no less than 7 years, and have been cared for by the community. As such, their caretakers foresee some difficulty in finding a forever home for Mimi and Blackie. In their experience, outdoor cats take some time to adjust to indoor settings. This process of settling in usually involves a lot of anxiety, stress, and noise – for both the cats and the humans.

In an attempt to rehome the cats, the caretakers spent close to SGD 1,000 for vaccinations and medicals.

However, more than the financial costs, the caretakers lamented the inability to spend time with Mimi and Blackie at the condominium car park.

“The painful thing is we can no longer spend time with Mimi and Blackie. This is more painful than the monetary cost…

And of course the fact that they can’t stay because of unjustified reasons makes it much much worse.”

The caretakers were given 2 weeks’ notice to find fosterers and/or adopters for Mimi and Blackie

12 April – The promise to convene an EOGM

In a letter dated 12 May 2022 from the MCST to all subsidiary proprietors of D’Leedon, the council noted that an unparticularised group of residents who consider the “community cats and the feeding of these cats in the carpark to be a risk and safety and a nuisance, particularly to car owners.”

In that same letter, the MCST also represented that they would be convening an EOGM to allow residents to have their say on the matter. Although this was not a requirement, the Council revealed that they will be convening an EOGM based on legal advice.

The caretakers supported the convening of an EOGM as they believed that all residents should step forward and have a say. They also undertook to respect the outcome of the ballot, whichever way it may go.

Volunteers who sympathised with Mimi and Blackie went from door to door to explain to residents about their plight and encouraged them to vote at the EOGM.

However, some residents of D’Leedon were averse to the idea of convening an EOGM.

If the matter had gone for a vote, it is likely that majority of the residents would not have a strong position on the issue. As stated in the MCST’s notice dated 17 February 2022, the most residents are neutral.

May 2022 – U-Turn on decision to convene an EOGM

In the May 2022 meeting of the 6th Management Council of d’Leedon (elected in November 2021), there was a clear departure from the position the council took in the letter of 12 April 2022. In the said letter, the MCST informed all residents of d’Leedon that, having received legal advice, an EOGM shall be convened to determine the issue concerning the community cats.

However, the position of the MCST shifted some week later. The minutes of the meeting in May 2022 noted that the decision not to convene an EOGM was based, amongst other things, on an email from a BCA which, according to the minutes, “clearly emphasised that that the prescribed by-law cannot be amended“.

The Prescribed By-Law on Animals

The prescribed by-law in question is appended below for easy reference:

Keeping of animals

14.  A subsidiary proprietor or an occupier of a lot shall not keep any animal upon his lot or the common property which may cause annoyance to the subsidiary proprietors or occupiers of other lots.

On its surface, and without having the benefit of legal advice, it appears that this by-law refers to animals which belong to residents. In the case of community cats like Mimi and Blackie, it is unclear who exactly the owner(s) are.

Leaving aside the issue of ownership, it must also be shown that the animal may cause annoyance to others. It is unclear how high or robust the threshold of “may cause annoyance is”. For example, could residents call for an EOGM to set a minimum threshold? Or could they ask that the question of whether an animal may cause annoyance be determined by an independent party/fact-finder. Surely it cannot be the case that this by-law is invoked in even the most slightest cases of alleged annoyance?

The MCST cited the email from BCA, relevant legislation, and a decision of the Strata Titles Board from 2020 to justify the decision not to convene an EOGM.

When we reached out for comment, the MCST responded as follows:-

MCST is always guided by BCA and the BMSMA in our decision making.

The MCST’s decision not to convene an EOGM was referred to as a “flip-flop” by the Cats of D’Leedon Facebook page.

The alleged complaints about Mimi and Blackie

The following screenshots capture some resident’s concerns about the community cats. We begin with a resident who bemoaned the voicelessness of cars and requested for more empathy for cars and drivers. If we understand this message correctly, the resident also decried cats intruding into the privacy of cars.

Another penned a message that started by calling the cats “innocent”, before stating that the cats had inconvenienced some neighbours.

In the 12 April letter, it was alleged that the cats “are a risk to safety and a nuisance, particularly to car owners.”

During the council meeting, the cats were accused of resting on top of cars, scratching and damaging car paint.

When responding to the allegations that the cats damaged car paint by scratching, the caretakers made reference to what a doctor said in a 2009 letter to The New Paper about why it is difficult for a cat to scratch a car.

As far as the caretakers are concerned, the allegations against the cats have not been definitively proven.

“A few residents have lodged complaints about the cats, that they sleep on top of their cars and have caused not just dirty paw prints but scratches too. Yet, no proof of their accusations regarding damages being inflicted by the cats on their cars have been provided.

In 2009, a vet in Singapore explained before that it is difficult for a cat to scratch a car. The car paint is of an industrial grade that acts to protect vehicles from the elements and the most violent and abrasive pelting action derived from cars travelling over great speeds over gravel-filled and debris laden roads.”

The caretakers also responded to allegations that the cats soil the cars:

“Moreover, some have even accused the cats of leaving pee in the carpark. They have submitted a photograph of what they claimed to be cat urine at a carpark lot, but their photo has been verified by a vet to be motor oil rather than cat urine. The cats do know where to urinate and poo, instead of leaving it all over the carpark as per what the few residents have claimed.

As much as I try to sympathise with the few residents who love their cars dearly, I think it is unacceptable to kick the cats out just because of their reasons.”

At present, although the caretakers are disappointed with the outcome, they are doing their best to help Mimi and Blackie find their forever homes.

As for the cats themselves, they are, understandably, not pleased with being forcibly evicted.

The Council, as stated in the minutes of the meeting, will now focus on making “d’Leedon the premium choice condominium”.

Since you have made it to the end of the article, follow Wake Up Singapore on Telegram!

The post D’Leedon Condo issues notice to remove 2 cats, Mimi & one-eyed son, without holding EOGM appeared first on Wake Up Singapore.

- Advertisement -spot_img