target: The Home Owners Association of Broadacres Country Estate
we've got signatures,
help us get to 1,000
by August 22, 2012
We would like the support of all animal lovers to help us keep dear Damian alive - many of you may have seen his picture of when he fell in the bubble bath shared over and over again. We are taking the matter to court, and we feel that we will have a better case if we have this petition. It is time that owners stand up for their rights when it comes to Body Corporates bullying tenants.
We DEMAND that the body corporate come to an agreement with the owner to either agree to them putting up a electric fence around their property. You requested that the owner rectify the situation, yet you fights agaisnt everything that is trying to be done to rectify the situation to keep the cat safe and away from the neighbours.
We further demand proof of the fact that Damian is the cause of the urine puddles and spray.
Let’s step back a bit to describe our upset and outrage. First of – this is our kitty, Damian, a 6 year old neutered male:
We adopted Damian in October 2006 and named him after Saint Damian, a patron of physicians, surgeons and protector of children. As a little kitten, Damian was playful, enjoyed the outdoors and loved going on adventures with our neighbor’s cat, Jack – both of them being black as the night, we often mistook the one for the other.
Damian suffered a traumatic experience in January 2008, where he got kicked by one of the visitors to our complex and subsequently broke his left leg. It took months of physiotherapy and several surgeries to get him to walk properly – Damian’s trust in humankind was shattered and he became shy and retreated when we have visitors. He is paranoid and scared about shoes since that tragic event.
n January 2008 we moved into Broadacres Country Estate, a pet- and children-friendly estate with consisting of a few hundred residential houses. The move was a sad day for Damian, as it meant saying goodbye to his friend Jack, but Damian quickly adjusted and was back to his usual.
On the 21st of December 2011 we found out, that a resident of our estate baited Damian and captured him with a cat-trap and shipped him off to the SPCA. Luckily we managed to pick him up in time, as the SPCA would have closed for the festive holidays, and Damian would have been euthanized the following week if he was not picked up in time.
The resident claimed, that Damian frequently visited her home since January 2011, harassed her cats and marked her house, appliances and entertainment system – a behavior we have never seen in our cat and the described aggression. The owner quoted him to be “… a feral, aggressive and deranged cat”.
The estate manager of our estate had no complaints about our cat until we contacted the Home Owners Association (HOA) and was also not aware of the illegal removal of our cat from the estate. According to the estate rules, the HOA is allowed to remove nuisance pets if no solution can be found and the owner of the pet has been notified – something which did not occur.
The resident describes herself as a pet-lover with two cats of her own and then mentioned that Damian would visit her house between 11pm and 5am on a frequent basis. Although she never physically saw our cat spraying in her house, “puddles” of urine was sufficient evidence for her actions. Although veterinarians agree that even in neutered cats an occurrence of this marking behaviour is rare (about 5-10% of cats could demonstrate this behavior), it was clear to us, that an attraction to that specific house or it’s environment was the cause of this and only introduced this attraction in the last 12 months.
As a logical person, I would have thought that if this was going on for 12 months, the issue would have been reported and attempted to be resolved with a higher sense of urgency. Although we have other cats visiting our home on a weekly basis to nibble on food or just escape from the rain, we have never had any issues and even Damian in his own territory tolerated cats visiting.
For the last 57 days I have kept a journal of Damian’s whereabouts, and as we always lock all our windows at night, Damian was only absent on 3 occasions – in none of them we have received a complaint that he visited the neighbor’s house.
As reasonable people we tried to mediate and resolve the problem and went as far as to replace the neighbor’s cat-flap at our expense with a collar controlled electro-magnetic cat-flap which would ensure that Damian would not visit her home. All our attempts, suggestions and proposals to resolve the alleged nuisance fell on deaf ears.
It came as a shocking surprise, when we received a formal letter from the Home Owner’s Association (the complainant originally drafted the HOA rules and was a member of the HOA) on the 17th February 2012:
As such we would like to request and urge you to find a solution to remedy this situation, failing this, the directors will be invoking clause 4.6 of the Homeowners Association Estate Rules to have the cat removed.
4.6 The Directors reserves the right to demand that an owner or tenant remove a particular pet from the Estate should that pet – in the opinion of the HOA – become a nuisance within the Estate.
Rehoming a 6 year old cat is not a reasonable request as this would result in a traumatic experience for Damian and he would not live a happy life. Since the complainant also suggested euthanasia and has already once baited our cat we will now be forced to litigate this matter. Quite frustrating, considering that the replacement of the resident’s cat-flap would have resolved her complaint more than two months ago.
Equally frustrating is the lack of compassion and disregard for pets and singling out residents – one should consider, if this was a fair request, then any roaming cat (and there are plenty in our estate) would need to comply to the same rules and should equally not be allowed to roam freely.
Show your support by visiting Damian’s Facebook page by just liking his pages and friending him on Facebook. Forward this page to friends and pet-lovers alike. http://www.facebook.com/damiankitty I leave you with the following quote as food for thought:
“Acknowledgment of the intrinsic value of animals means that animals have value in their own right and as a consequence their interests are no longer automatically subordinate to man’s interests.”
Update 2012-02-22: The Broadacres Country Estate Home Owners Association has refused the installation of an electric fence on our property to contain our cat. We are now forced to litigate.
Update 2012-02:20: Since we are unable to come to a solution with the complainant, we have notified the HOA about our intent to install an electrified fence around our boundary walls – this way our kitty will be protected from the evil outside and still has the luxury of playing outdoors. Let’s see what the mileage on this very last attempt is.
Update 2012-02-18: Damian was fitted with a microchip – this way we can avoid illegal capture and drop-off at the SPCA.
A simple cat flap is all that is needed to save our cat from certain death. This specific situation demonstrated how so-called “animal lovers” turn and instead of trying to find an acceptable solution will rather suggest euthanasia than accept a compromise.
UPDATE 13 March 2012:
For the last almost 4 weeks we have kept Damian inside, since we are too worried that he would be taken again or hurt. Not an ideal scenario as he
is used to being outside, but we would rather keep him safe.
We asked the HOA for permission to install a fence inside our property, so that Damian would be safe and there would be no further allegations about him being a nuisance. The
HOA declined our request and in a mistake on their part, they kept me CC'ed in their email communication, mentioning that they are eager for us to do anything so that they can serve
us a legal letter / fine us.
I have the fence guys ready to go and our case is with lawyers at the moment (they have been looking at everything for the last week) and I am still waiting for feedback. So all in all
not much progress yet - it feels like eternity and we try to keep Damian busy and entertained as much as this is possible inside the house. I guess it upsets him more to see that little
Tyson is allowed outside, but not him.
I will keep everyone up-to-date once we have some news / progress - at the moment it feels rather sluggish - doesn't it?
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