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Sinking Fast - Tired Of Fighting

Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by Labyrinth1119, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. Labyrinth1119

    Labyrinth1119 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 28, 2018
    Hello my fellow feral friends! I am very new to this community, but have already found so much support and help; I am forever grateful.

    The last 4 months for me have been exhausting and non stop fighting for my colony, which I have taken care of for 13 years. In February, I received a notice from my Community that I was in violation of a community rule, and that I was to stop feeding the feral cats immediately. I printed documentation from several sources, and made a clear and persuasive argument, and the community manager agreed to allow me to continue. There were some concessions, i.e. I would make feeding more discrete, I wouldn't leave the pans out all day, etc. This notice, after 18 years of living in this community, came from a neighbor who complained about property damage. I spoke to the neighbor, offered everything from a car cover to ultrasonic deterrents, and all was turned down. I did pay for the replacement of the A.C duct work.

    Last night I came home to a notice of eviction for failure to comply with previous notice (I live in a pre-manufactured community, so I own the home but not the land it sits on). I have been actively trying to reach the community manager all day as I am VERY confused. Now I risk losing my home AND the colony that I have worked so hard for. I am scared. I am tired of fighting. I am confused. This is the one thing that I am proud of in my life, why do they want to take this away from me? Why do they think that not feeding them will make them go away?

    Back in February, I had several organizations ready to pounce in and help. All the community had to do was approve it...and they never did. I have been plugging away, on my own, through a VERY fertile kitten season (lost 3 little ones to Fading Kitten Syndrome, which is another heartbreak story for another time). There is infinite more context to this whole story, but I have already blubbered on long enough.

    I guess I am just looking for someone to be on my side; to tell me I can do this, that I can get these people to understand the true BENEFIT of what I am doing.

    I can get through this, right?
     

  2. Kieka

    Kieka Snowshoe Servant Staff Member Forum Helper

    I'd contact a lawyer and pull together any documentation you have from the meeting where you were allowed to continue with the concessions.

    Thoughts and prayers with you through this trying time.
     
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  3. sweetblackpaws

    sweetblackpaws TCS Member Super Cat

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    I am so very sorry for this stress you are under, it sounds crushing. I hope I can help in reassuring you of certain things. First of all, YES, you can get through this! People (non-cat people) are often - well, usually - unsympathetic to the plight of ferals. It is SO much harder in condos, communities and apartments due to this fact. The fact you have been caring for your colony for so long is testament to your strong and compassionate nature. Discretion in these living situations is always your best friend (next to the cats, of course). It may be too late for that in this situation, but generally, don't expect people to be sympathetic to ferals (that is what we are here for). :petcat:

    Also, despite the many years you have been feeding them, I am going to venture to say it is highly likely they are STILL hunting and they will not perish. Hunting is instinct and is not lost, barring illness or injury, of course. My mom fed her strays 3 times a day and still we found bird carcasses every few days. :greenpaw:

    You must take care of YOU right now. Do what you can to not lose your house/lot. Lay low. Keep posting here. It's going to be okay. Thank you for all you do - the world needs more people like you. :angel3:
     
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  4. catsknowme

    catsknowme TCS Member Top Cat

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    :alright: We are here for you! You must be feeling so very discouraged :( I live in a very anti-cat area and I have found the residents in closed-communities to be more easily frustrated as well as unhappy so therefore difficult to work with.
    There are a lot of issues going on for you. I wish that I was closer to you to show you moral support and to show your neighbors some solidarity among cat rescuers.
    Our society has created a stigma of the "crazy cat person" and that such a person is usually easy to pick on and bully. They sure are not "in your face" with the people that they secretly gossip about, alleging drug activities, etc. - in fact, it is quite the opposite.
    I am one of those "crazy cat people" and I dress modestly and act respectfully. I am no longer surprised at the vitriol and verbal aggression heaped at me - I try to listen calmly and acknowledge concerns although that seems to only encourage the haters. They do not know me - they have no idea that I was the wife of an underground hard rock miner who has lived in rough mining camps among truly fearless, hardcore people; that I have stopped on dark deserted highways to assist accident victims & stranded motorists; that 4 nights in a row, I faced-off with a mountain lion who massacred 9 of my ferals in my yard; that I would go woodgathering in the national forest all alone except for my chainsaw & a dog - all they see is a small woman whose Christianity makes her appear weak and vulnerable. But I keep close in my mind Sun Tzu's advice "When you are strong appear weak; when you are weak, appear strong".
    I am really sorry that you are going through all of this. Feral cat rescue is heartbreaking enough without the human component. It is worse in some areas than in others. It sounds like you are in one of those archaic areas.
    However, for the sake of the cats and in our God-ordained duties of good stewardship of His creation, we muster on! :soldier::soldier::soldier:
    The eviction process is a legal proceeding and there are usually legal recourse for you to seek relief. Commonly, landlords and homeowners associations are banking on the assumption that you will not be familiar with the laws and tenants rights. It is awful to have to deal with legal issues - I hate it. But having worked in a law office for 10 years, I have seen the benefit of refusing to give up without a fight. Hang in there - we are rooting for you! Feel welcome to contact any of us via PM any time :cheerleader::goodluck::salam::bat:
    P.S. Take the time out to write down everything you can about the situation. Collect all documentation that you can & ask for letters of support from rescue groups offering assistance. Also assemble vet records, proof of damage mitigation including paying for repairs. Create a "war chest" of paperwork- a cardboard box will do. I am hoping that others will chime in soon! Please keep us posted & here is a hug of encouragement :grouphug::grouphug2::rock:
     
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  5. 1 bruce 1

    1 bruce 1 TCS Member Top Cat

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    I offer you my support.
    What's so screwed up about our society is let a stray cat wander into a community and people are threatening to shoot it, run it over, poison it, starve it, torment it, or at best take it to the pound to be gassed.
    Let a stray dog wander into a community and people are pooling money to buy it food, making "found" fliers and posting pictures with information on the dog looking for the owner, feeding it, making sure it has water and shelter, etc.
    I love dogs, but I also love cats too and this is the worst kind of double standard. It's frustrating for those of us who actually try, or have tried.
     
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  6. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Denver is a little bit better, I'm constantly reading/ hearing that animals needing help/adoption are being rescued and brought to town out of high kill shelters from all over the country, including a lot of cats.
    That thought made me wonder, --and it is just wondering since I don't know what works and doesn't, but once you have the eviction situation squared away, would moving the colony be something to consider, for their safety as well as yours?
     

  7. Labyrinth1119

    Labyrinth1119 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 28, 2018
    There is probably a better way to update a post than to create a new one. Sorry. My defense right now is that I am completely defeated. I am done. I am broken. There is nothing left for me.

    I just talked to the Community Manager, and everything has changed. They are not even willing to consider a TNR anymore because they don't want the cats returned. I cannot get them to understand the position, how all this works, the benefits and the need for the community to be involved. They just want the problem to 'go away'. I spend $200 a week on cat food, more for medicine and spay/neuter, I don't have money to fight this, to save my home and these cats that i have cared for. I am terrified to lose my house and I am more terrified for these cats. I have to try and secure my home first before I can try to pick up this fight again. Am I terrible for that? I feel terrible for that.

    When I brought up the point the he was in the very position to help the situation 4 months ago, his reply was that he is a 'busy guy'. Yes. It must take hours and hours to give a simple yes and allow organizations in to help.

    My new friends - I am lost. I have lost.

    I have failed to talk humanity to an ignorant and naive property manager bureaucrat.
    I have failed to make other people care about anything other than themselves.
    I have failed to protect these cats from everything that works against them.

    I have failed.

    I have never felt more insignificant than right now.

    So, this is what I am going to do. I am allowing myself tonight to be selfish and emotional. Pity party for 1. Tomorrow, I will find an attorney (hopefully one that is willing to just give me everything I need within the 1 hour free consultation window) and secure my home from the threat of eviction. Once that is gone, as well as any future threat (I don't want this to rear its ugly head every so often), then I can refocus on the cats, and kick their ever-loving asses.

    So, question for the group: Have any of you seen, or taken action yourself, using social media as a resource to (possibly) fuel community action or outrage?
     
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  8. foxxycat

    foxxycat TCS Member Top Cat

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    Absolutely use social media. Make a page. Update daily your fight to keep colony together. Post on other town state sites etc.
     
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  9. sweetblackpaws

    sweetblackpaws TCS Member Super Cat

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    If you want to stay where you are living, I would stop trying to convince management and the community about the benefits of TNR. They don't care, and they see ferals as a nuisance animal, like racoons. You must stop trying to get them to see it from your point of view. You must take care of YOU right now, or you will have no place to live.

    I would not contact an attorney, nor would I go to social media. If you want to keep your place, I would go to management and tell them you can no longer afford to care for the cats anyways (not true, but you have to make them think you are done with that scenerio) and you would like to stay in your home. Your colony will continue to hunt and when all this blows over, you can resume feeding them DISCREETLY. If they still want to evict, then at that point, it is time for a lawyer (assuming you want to stay there).

    I am so very sorry for what you are going through - emotionally, financially. Right now, my concern is for you, and you being able to keep your home. Trust me, your cats will be okay and soon you can figure out a game plan. Right now, you need to focus on keeping your home.

    Big, big hugs to you!! :grouphug2:
     
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  10. Labyrinth1119

    Labyrinth1119 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    @sweetblackpaws: Thank you for your words and support! There are no words good enough to convey how you, and so many others here, have lifted me up.

    You know, your suggestion is funny. Why? I did just what you said, yesterday, when talking to the manager. 30 seconds into my conversation, I knew it was going no where, so I did just what you recommended I do. I left him with the impression that I understood 'his situation' and that the cat population is 'way out of control, and it's overwhelming for me'.

    As you mentioned, my focus at this time is securing my home. I did contact an attorney, but only in regards to understanding the rule that I am being accused of violating, and my rights as a tenant. My cats are not a part of the conversation, I only need and want to secure my home. I am trying to talk down my friends who are sweetly outraged on my behalf, and therefore want to attack via social media. The hornets nest is too riled up right now, things need to calm down a bit and I need to remove the threat of eviction.

    I love my home, though I now dislike my neighbor(s). I do not want to leave, mostly because of my colony, but also (and this is tad selfish) because I just invested $6000 into a new AC unit.
     
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  11. msaimee

    msaimee TCS Member Top Cat

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    I am glad you contacted a lawyer. I don't understand though how he can understand the threat of eviction without knowing the situation about the cat colony. Your privacy in your conversations with him is protected by law, you should confide everything in him. It may very well be that what the housing management is doing to you is illegal. Also, and I don't mean to cause more stress, but it is very difficult for cats who have become accustomed to being fed daily by a caregiver to suddenly have that food withdrawn from them. Not feeding them should be the very last resort. Perhaps you can feed them discreetly at daybreak, and then at dusk again. Perhaps just feed dry food, and put it directly on the ground instead of noticeable bowls. Is there a local Humane Society near you that could help? Some of them are involved with fostering programs for young ferals. Or they could assist you in finding barn homes for them. Also there is nothing wrong with using social media to gain help and resources. You don't need to use it to attack your neighbors or housing management, but to garner resources and support for yourself
     
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  12. sweetblackpaws

    sweetblackpaws TCS Member Super Cat

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    I am so glad to hear that your focus right now is securing your home so that you do not become homeless. The ferals will fend, they will be okay. I am glad you are trying to keep the social media "fire" to a minimum. It will not serve you well in this particular situation. You want to appease to management right now so that you are not without a home. I am glad you are doing so. It is actually illegal in many areas to feed ferals (sadly), so the law may not have even worked in your favor to try to fight it. It is unlikely a shelter would take the ferals since they are not adoptable. Just leave them be, they will make their way and you will resume things once things are more stable and you are not going to lose your home of 13 years.

    You are going to be okay, and so will your colony. I am glad you said to management what you did. That will help quell the fire. How did they respond? Do they still want to proceed with eviction?
     
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  13. Labyrinth1119

    Labyrinth1119 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 28, 2018
    @msaimee: There is NO way that an attorney would be able to help without the full context, you are 100% correct about that. My meaning was more that I was not seeking an attorney to help the cats (like an animal advocate attorney), but the focus was for a Tenant/Eviction Rights attorney that will help me understand and help protect me from eviction.

    I have wheels in motion with several rescue groups and pet alliances to start looking for the things you mentioned, adoption/barn cat/etc. I have hopes that should the CM see that there are better alternatives then extermination, he will stop looking at that as a solution. It is ironic, when doing some social media research for my community, there is someone that commented about a rodent problem and how management hasn't done anything. If it weren't for the fact that the post was 1 year old, I would have replied and offered a cat! No rodent problems back here where I live!
     
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  14. Labyrinth1119

    Labyrinth1119 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    @msaimee part 2: To be honest, I plan to discreetly keep feeding my cats, after dark and before sunrise. Some of these cats have been with me the entire 13 years, and I am not too comfortable with the idea of letting them fend for themselves.
     
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  15. Labyrinth1119

    Labyrinth1119 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 28, 2018
    @sweetblackpaws: Their response was essentially. 'Be a good girl and we won't evict you'. Eviction is NOT off the table, which is why I sought an attorney so I can understand the situation better.
     
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  16. sweetblackpaws

    sweetblackpaws TCS Member Super Cat

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    Ok, so this good news. Sadly, I think most any condo/apartment/MFG home community would have given you the same grief. I wish society was more sympathetic to ferals.
     
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  17. msaimee

    msaimee TCS Member Top Cat

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    Western PA
    Again, I am very glad that you have a lawyer. If you do decide to move in the future, into a house and yard that you own, you could transport your colony to where you live. Many on this site have done so and could help you with that. Legally, you have the right to feed cats on your property. I had to deal with this issue myself with a hostile neighbor several years ago. It wouldn't hurt you to research the laws that are specific to where you live. In my case, I had the support of my local police when my neighbor objected to my feeding my feral cat on my porch because she was paranoid that it would attract groundhogs to her house, which was ridiculous. Plus our block is surrounded by woods, so we often have wildlife around. Talk to your lawyer, know your legal rights for you and for your cats. In my case, I had the support of a dozen other people on my block as well as the local police, so the one sourpuss neighbor backed way off. She never again bothered me or any of the cats my neighbors and I have cared for on our block, including the one we are caring for now. It may seem like you are getting slightly contradictory advice here, but you know your situation better than any of us and I am sure you will make the right decisions.

    Whether or not you decide to stay in your present living situation or plan to move in the near or not so near future, I do think you should continue to feed the cats. They have become dependent upon you for food. Like I said, you need to be very discreet, don't leave any evidence around, and if you need to get them on a new feeding schedule, they will catch on. We are nothing if we are not advocates for these beautiful and intelligent creatures, which so many people mindlessly hate. Perhaps you could start a GoFundMe to help pay for legal costs and resources. Social media can be a very helpful tool. I would contribute to your cause.
     

  18. Labyrinth1119

    Labyrinth1119 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    @msaimee: More than anything, your last comment took my breath away and made my heart smile. This. This is another reason I do what I do. All of us on this site, no details known other than we fight and care for ALL cats. Across the entire country, people can support each other because they have JUST ONE thing in common. That's all there really needs to be, right? One common thread. One common care. Your offer, just your offer, brought tears to my eyes as I am reminded that for all the people who DON'T care, there are people that do.

    On that note: My deadline to stop feeding the cats is technically Monday, June 25th. Going to start to introduce them to new feeding location tonight. Should be interesting, but they will learn quickly enough.
     
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  19. 1 bruce 1

    1 bruce 1 TCS Member Top Cat

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    You have a plan of action. You are not as defeated as you feel you are (I know this from experience!) even though I know that's very hard to believe right now.
    It's so frustrating when people don't share our passions but when they go out of their way to interfere/destroy it, it is heart breaking and can sometimes destroy our lives (also experience.)
    I give you tons of credit because you feel so defeated and so worn out but you aren't giving up. Be emotional, get the sad out and once the sad is out the anger and outrage will surface and stuff can get done.
    Keep us updated, as much as possible. Rooting for you!!!!!:drinking::bunnydance:
     
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  20. 1 bruce 1

    1 bruce 1 TCS Member Top Cat

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    Yes, start tonight!! I guess they can stop you from feeding them where they're at now, but no one on Gods green earth can ever tell you if you can feed a living thing. Talk about control issues.

    What do you usually feed them? If they have a favorite (stinky canned food, a special kibble, etc.) I'd use it a lot during this transition if possible!
    I wish I were there in person. I would so help you do this because I know how it feels to "be alone", but when you're hanging out here you're totally NOT alone!
     
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