NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
EFFORTS are underway to recover the cats that were recently removed from a public park inside the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) by Pest Busters Philippines under the orders of Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila.
Members and volunteers from CARA Welfare Philippines and cat advocates from the Facebook group Cats of BGC met today to conduct a search and rescue operations in the two areas where the cats were supposedly “relocated”. As of this writing, no cat has been reportedly recovered.
Meanwhile, an online petition seeking to enlist the help of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) to pressure the hotel management to return the cats of BGC began today. The petition is quickly reaching its targeted number of online signatures. In less than a day, almost 4,000 (as of 6:30 p.m., Feb. 19) signatures were recorded, an indication of how strongly animal lovers feel about the issue. -- METROPETS
THE disappearance this week of a significant number of cats from a protected colony that inhabit a public park in Bonifacio Global City near a major five-star hotel has enraged cat lovers in the country who are sending a firestorm of criticisms directed to the Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila for apparently instigating it.
MetroPets is yet to hear from the hotel's public relations executive contacted to comment on the matter. However, the hotel has issued a second statement to clarify what transpired and the next steps it would take. Here's a photo of the statement dated February 18:
The new statement comes on the heels of mounting pressure from cat lovers who have taken to social media to denounce the relocation of the BGC cats. At the very least, it offered information on where the cats were taken -- Ilaya Street and Anastacio Street in Taguig City. Vigilant followers of this news, however, pointed out that no such streets exist in Taguig and that said street names don't appear on Google Map or even in Uber's system. But if these two streets are really in Taguig, the Shangri-La at the Fort's latest statement didn't offer an explanation why these residential areas were deemed ideal relocation sites for the cats. It is also not clear if permissions from the local government or even the barangay were sought or if the residents were informed that 11 cats were to be left in their neighborhood.
The hotel management also stated that they would help rescue and return the cats back to the BGC park. Again, some were not pleased by this promise, pointing that only animals that were in danger or put at risk need rescuing.
Meanwhile, cat lovers continue to cry out for justice on behalf of the beloved cats whose removal from the park was reportedly done by Pest Busters Philippines which was hired by the premier hotel before Valentine's Day.
People who frequent the High Street Park to commune with the cats quickly noted their absence, so they took to social media to sound the alarm. On February 15, the key people behind the Facebook page Cats of BGC met with the management of Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila to discuss what happened to the cats. The next day, February 16, both parties posted their respective statements.
The Cats of BGC noted that although they were personally outraged by the incident, “Shangri-La (at the Fort, Manila) has seen the error in their ways and offered their support in promoting awareness” towards cat adoption. The statement called it “good news” and that there's reason to hope that the incident “can serve as a lesson to everyone, and finally stop the misconception that removing even the friendly, fit and fixed free-roamers can keep an area cat-free.”
For its part, Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila posted in its Facebook page a 95-word statement to basically say that the cats have been relocated and are well. Here's the original statement:
Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila
February 16 at 7:00pm ·
Last February 14, 2018, we received inquiries on social media regarding the cats from the park beside the hotel. We would like to assure everyone that no harm has been done to the cats that have been relocated. In fact, more than half of them have been adopted by hotel employees. The others were relocated to two locations within Taguig. The hotel management has met with CARA Welfare Philippines and Cats of BGC last February 15, 2018 and discussed a long-term cooperation to ensure the welfare of the cats at the adjacent High Street park.
The statement, however, proved to be another disaster as it only raised more questions and observations highly critical of the hotel's action against the helpless cats.
People have repeatedly demanded for the hotel to reveal the two locations where Pest Busters allegedly brought the cats. They also want the hotel employees who supposedly adopted some of the cats to prove it by posting photos of their new pets. So far, the hotel management has offered the exact locations but no hotel employee has come forward to prove that he or she has adopted one of the missing cats of BGC.
Still unsatisfied by the second statement from Shangri-La at the Fort, cat lovers continue to post their views on the matter in the Cats of BGC page and in closed Facebook groups for cat lovers. More importantly, they are flooding with negative comments the hotel's Facebook page and related travel portals. They are also hitting hard the social media accounts of Pest Busters Philippines for apparently violating provisions of the country's Animal Welfare Act.
In a new twist, some people who left blistering comments on the hotel's page said their posts have been tagged as spam and subsequently been deleted. Others claimed they started experiencing being locked out of their Facebook accounts or blocked to visit the hotel's page after they decried animal abuse. -- METROPETS
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