The Power of the People Through Petitions: Saving Cats

Invercargill

Invercargill

I thought online petitions were no more effective than peeing on a forest fire. I was wrong. At least in this case. The online petition has proved to be a powerful tool to overturn the declaration of the Chief Executive of Invercargill City Council to trap and kill cats.

Residents of Invercargill, New Zealand, are only allowed to keep 3 cats each under a bylaw. A woman living in the city had almost 40 cats. The chief executive of the city council, Richard King, promoted and encouraged the public to trap neighbourhood cats and kill them on the understanding that some of these 40 or so cats living with this woman (and other similar people) might swarm over the city and cause a nuisance.

The council even went so far as to agree to provide the traps. Well, the cat lovers and the sensible people of Invercargill got together and led by Paula Jones set up a petition on the Care2.com website.

The intention of the petition was to stop the city council suggesting that people can trap and kill cats willy-nilly and reverse their decision. Clearly a very sensible suggestion compared to an idiotic suggestion by the City Council.

After all, the city council was recommending that people trap any cat. Many of them would be outdoor domestic cats. These cats have owners. Killing a cat belonging to a person is criminal damage and a crime.

Anyway, the point of this your post is this: Paula Jones’s petition achieved almost 20,000 signatures. It was presented to the city council as I understand it on April 1, 2014.

A day after the petition was delivered to the council, the chief executive and the city council retracted their initial statement about trapping and killing cats and also made an apology. The chief executive admitted that he had made an error of judgement. I don’t think he meant it but at least he said it.

The council had never seen a petition of that size before. There must have been quite taken aback by the outrage demonstrated by the city’s citizens.

In addition to the highly effective petition organised by Paula Jones social media played its part as well and many people rallied around to try and help the woman who had the 37 cats.

Not only does this story indicate to me that an online petition can be effective, it also indicates to me that people in power, the politicians, can often have an opinion that is divorced not only from reality but also from the opinion of the general population of people who they should be serving as public servants.

The story also tells me that there’s a lot of good in the people of Invercargill New Zealand and that there are many decent people who like cats in that city.

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The Power of the People Through Petitions: Saving Cats — 7 Comments

  1. thats just down the road a wee bit from me well actually 5 hrs drive. Yea did petition against for the cats. 🙂 Theres alot of great and wonderful people in New Zealand we are caring people for the animals. 🙂

  2. Yay – some good news.

    I have always felt petitions are worth signing because its very easy to do. You may as well. Because somebody somewhere is going to know about it i the end and even if it doesn’t cause change it plants the seed – because it makes many people’s opinions known.

    And in quite a few cases, usually smaller things like this example, the petitions do work because they are very localized. The do illustrate the force of opposing opinion.

    Also – people used to joke about the internet. They would say sarcastically “oh well if it involves the internet then it must be so” – suggesting in other words that the internet is not serious and you can’t rely on it.

    Of course we know that it can be decieving – but next time somebody disses the internet like that I will suggest they have fun never using it.

    The internet is the new and powerful tool of the people. IT provides ALL information and it allows people to connect and learn from eachother. One day it will be unheard of to talk it down like that.

    I just love it when somebody comes out with an internet comment – in some kind of superior tone like they are better than it. It’s truly a pleasure to wind these people up a bit from time to time.

    The internet is everything and nothing. It is, and it always will be a vast resrource and reflection of our society and knowledge.

    Petitions take all of 2 minutes to sign.

    I say sign them all – unless you really haven’t got 2 minutes to spare in which case fair enough.

    I know of many that worked. I remember a similar one in spain – a town – they wanted to kill the ferals – but tons of people signed against it and it was stopped. Very much the same as this one.

    It’s worth signing every petition if just one of them works. In my view.

    • Exacly marc i sign as much as i can as just so disguested with how animals and some people are treated. If it creates a change then its easy to do. If u think one person, plus ur friends on facebook around the whole world does huge change.

  3. That is good news! 20,000 on a petition is amazing.
    I too sign and share as many as I can, it’s easy enough to do even if a bit time consuming when dozens pour in from various places.
    The anti declaw one I started but sadly lost when the petition site went down a few years back, only reached just over 4,000. I wonder how many would sign one now that so much more has come to light about declawing. But looking back it was a wasted effort anyway because the AVMA and declawing vets don’t take the slightest bit of notice of any protests against their cruelty.

    • 4,000 was an awesome result but…declawing is so totally entrenched and there is so much at stake in terms of money that it will take a lot of work to get rid of it. There are many more webpages on declawing and banning it today than there were 5 years ago. Good sign.

  4. So true, Michael.

    The more petitions out there the better. Even if it doesn’t make an impact on lawmakers, by repeating them over and over these petitions do help to bombard people with the truth about declawing.

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