krayzykat musings

random. often cat-focused. sometimes a little nutty sort of online diary with ventings, thoughts on life, food-related tangents, etc. probably not interesting to people who don't know me...

Friday, April 06, 2007

i'm an activist

let me preface this by saying that, although i LOVE animals, specifically cats, and i do lots of volunteer work involving them, the most activist thing i've ever done before is sign a letter that a group of people were sending to trader joe's asking them to stop selling battery cage eggs (which they did. good ol' trader joe's).
when i got home on april 4th, there was a notice on my door addressed to "Resident Pet Owner's (sic)" notwithstanding this and multiple other grammatical errors, i did read the entire notice, and was appalled to find that, effective january 1st of 2007 (yes, the january that was just over 3 months ago) all cats residing in the complex were required to have been declawed (on their front paws) by the time they were 6 months of age.
as in, since i did not declaw hobbes, i am now in violation of my lease and could be subject to eviction if i don't comply.
this notice was not only addressed to me, so management is not threatening my specific cat per se, but the notice indicates that they could.
this is probably the part where i should mention that the management company is:
Atlantic & Pacific Management Corp.
11075 Carmel Mountain Road, Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92129
Phone (858) 672-3100
Fax (858) 672-2775
and that they manage LOTS of properties around here at least... i assured them in my anonymous letter that i'll never support their business again. i'd love to not be the only person who does that. how does one instigate a boycott? should i stand on the street corner in a sandwich board (don't think i won't do that if i have to).
i responded by writing an anonymous letter informing management that declawing is cruel mutilation, that i was going to move out as soon as i could because of their thoughtlessness, and that i would persue the matter further. i then posted signs around the complex asking other residents to tell management that they are sickened at the thought of being asked to mutilate their pets. then i emailed my super-cool-volunteer boss at the wildlife center, who has connections (and was kind enough to forward my email to those connections) which resulted in both an animal advocate attorney and a documentary filmmaker contacting me with requests for more information, and at least one person contacting the local manager's boss to inform them of the evils of declawing (all this in less than a day!). i am so indebted to the people who responded - they are incredible, and i am so glad they are all part of this world -humans aren't all self-absorbed morons after all!
today there was another notice on my door (and everyone else's, so they don't know who i am, which is a good thing right now since my lease isn't up yet...) the new notice blatantly LIES and states that the declaw rule has been a policy for 15 years, and that some concerned residents are under a misconception. the thing is, some people actually keep photocopies of their original lease agreements (including pet policy) and mine doesn't say anything about declawing. if it had, i wouldn't have signed it, nor would i have moved here.
the new notice goes on to say that, even though the declaw rule is a policy, they're not really going to enforce it, and won't the concerned people please come in and talk about it?
right, and get evicted for refusing to comply.
i made more signs to post:
"if an inhumane rule has been "on the books" for 15 years, but you don't enforce it, then now would be a good time to CHANGE IT"
"instead of trying to defend a policy that is wrong, why don't you do the right thing and CHANGE IT"
"if the declaw rule is 15 years old, then why does it say "effective January 1, 2007"?"
"if we're going to require that cats be mutilated, let's take another step - all babies must have their fingers disfigured by 6 months"
"granite countertops do not make up for CRUELTY"
"if only pets that can't cause damage are allowed, then what is the point of a pet deposit?"
"if you want to LIE about something, it's probably not a good idea to give out photocopies of things beforehand"
"are you sad that management would rather LIE TO US than admit that a policy is wrong?"
"does your original pet agreement mention declawing? Mine doesn't. I don't like being LIED TO by management."
whattaya think?? i'm thinking that i should put them up in different places every few days until something changes. i'm also considering taking a petition door-to-door and asking neighbors for support. any suggestions would be great. also, links, forwards and all that stuff are cool too. i'm not quite net-savvy enough to hook that up. i was given a link to a similar case's at
i'm going to talk to some sdaa (san diego animal advocates) people tomorrow to see what advice they can give me. i am so beyond pissed of at their callous cruelty- i want this management company to go DOWN - but i'm not sure how to go about it. i am scared sick and elated at the same time. my stomach is churning, and i think i just might LOVE doing this! i think i hate it too but i'm SO EXCITED to see something happen! do other activists feel like this?

strangely enough, while we were digging for our original lease for this place, we also found my "final" pay stub from world market that is one day worth of pay less than it should have been... i've pointed this error out to management multiple times, but without the stub as proof, i was basically screwed. now i have that, plus a copy of the formal two weeks' notice i sent to the corporate office, plus a photocopy of the schedule for my final week there. i think i can prove my point (especially since the district manager was present during my last workday -for which i was not paid). according to california state law, they now owe me close to 4 grand in penalties. i guess we'll see what happens with that when i show them the pay stub. wish me luck!

i find it interesting that i've never really tried to sue anybody before, and now i'm having to consider two lawsuits at once.


At 7:32 AM, Blogger jane said...

Good luck both with this and with world market. I'll link to this from my blog!

At 9:31 PM, Blogger jane said...

Links posted both at the daily blah and segapaws!

At 9:31 AM, Blogger ~k said...

I'll write and pass the word along as well... Just ahppened to find this by chance.

I feel your horror. There is NO WAY I would declaw my cats.... cool apartment or not. Hell... FREE apartment or not. No Way.

At 8:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck with the cat issue.

As a real estate broker for over thirty years, but also a lover of pets and freedom, I'd advise everyone not to deal with apartment management companies, realtors, or other third parties when house-hunting. Basically, you give up any power to negotiate anything when you deal with these mega companies' agents.

I always try to find apartments and houses that are for rent by individual owners. All things can be negotiated with individuals. And I have never had an owner refuse to allow my pets, even when "no pets" was explicitly stated in their ads. If they like you when they meet you, and you offer to be fully responsible for any pet damage (offering to put up pet deposits, etc.) they usually will allow your pets.

The house I am in now was advertised (sign in yard) for sale by owner. I called and asked if it was possible to lease it. They were happy I'd called because they didn't really want to sell it. I was able to negotiate exactly what I wanted and the rent was very reasonable.

It is so much nicer dealing with owners. It is a one-on-one situation and they are usually fair if you are fair. Avoid property management companies if at all possible.

At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about the declawing clause--bravo to you for contesting it; I really hope that works. Gentle correction: sadly, Trader Joe's did not go 100% cage-free; rather, they just converted their home brand eggs to cage-free. They still sell eggs from hens confined in barren battery cages.


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