I am saddened and angry to post these two letters from my friend Cynthia Daniello, who is brave and compassionate. She saved the individual gardens the management of her independent living company was trying to ban, but she could not save the bird feeders or or her beloved feral cat Ginger, who has been coming to her home for food for 11 years.
She has seven days to stop feeding Ginger, and was banned from posting her essays and poems from the community bulletin board or “inciting” the other residents to protest the banning of their individual and personal gardens and bird feeders.
Cynthia is 84 years old, and a brand new blogger. She is about as radical as an apple tree, but the devastated and frightened residents of Joseph’s Dream, her independent living community, begged her to try to stop the arrogant owner of the community from intimidating her and the other residents into acquiescing to these foolish and cruel demands.
I am concerned about her health, she has found long and hard against the awful and callous management of her community. The idea that a corporate person would intimidate women in their 80’s to destroy their hummingbird feeders and endanger the life of a feral cat and bully the residents into planting uniform gardens makes my blood boil.
They have no moral or legal right to tell Cynthia what to say to her fellow residents.
I told Cynthia I would help her to get a lawyer if she wishes, but she is tired and discouraged, as well as angry. I can’t tell her what to do, but I will certainly support her in any way she asks. I recommend her new blog, My Never Ending Story
You can also e-mail her at email@example.com.
I believe this bald efforts to threaten her – officials came to her house to photograph her bird feeders and outdoor cat shelter – are outrageous violations of courtesy and even freedom of speech. The company seems skilled in intimidating needy and vulnerable people in their 80’s and Cynthia is deeply concerned about the fate of Ginger, who has never lived anywhere else, but who trusts her.
I’d love to see this company try to justify this cruelty and ignorance in public, or better yet, in court. But I also understand that the residents are frightened, many have no other place to live, and even Cynthia, who is tough as nails, is wearing out. A part of me hopes she will let go.
I’m reprinting the two letter Cynthia sent me, one last night and one this morning: They speak for themselves. I till try to restrain myself. I have called a dozen reporters in the area, but journalism has changed since I was a reporter. No one has responded to this very good and important story.
Here are Cynthia’s letters to me. I wish I could do more. Feel free to contact her. The company is called Metropolitan Properties Management
, I have tried repeatedly to contact them and message them, they have never responded. You can see from her letters what they are like.
I’d love to see some proof that five residents are threatening to sue the corporation (see below) over one cat who is rarely even seen. It doesn’t smell right to me.
Thursday evening, May 16, 2019. From Cynthia.
“The meeting with Kathryn is over.
When I arrived at the office door, she asked if I minded if she had someone else there as witness. I told her I felt it was a good idea. So there were three of us in attendance.
Kathryn said she wished to speak uninterrupted. So she did.
Basically I have been given 24 hours to remove the Hummingbird feeder AND the shepherd’s hook on which it is hanging.
I have been banned from posting any of my notices and/or poems on the bulletin board or any public viewing place INCLUDING my own door or window.
I am not to “incite” or encourage any movement which causes unrest.
Worst of all I have been given 7 days to get Ginger, the feral community cat, off the property.
We went thru the fact that VA passed a law recently regarding the harm or removal of ferals which have been spayed and ear-notched from their community. She said that does not apply here because this is private property. I noted that Food Lion market nearby has a large feral colony in back of the store cared for by several citizens.And that is also private property. That is their decision and not ours was the reply.
She offered to have someone take Ginger to a farm she knows about. I said Ginger was born here 11 years ago and always lived here–she would try to come back (and likely be killed on the road before getting here.)
She said Joseph was pleased that I had taken down the house I had for Ginger on my porch, but that a neighbor (I know who) had seen me letting Ginger in my apartment and supposed that I was feeding her. (I am). She asked me point blank if I was feeding Ginger and I responded to her “I will not lie to you.” But I never said yes or no.
It goes on from there.
At the end of this day, after many ladies coming in here, all wanting to stay out of trouble, two wanting to keep fighting, I gave up. We have all taken down the feeders.
Kathryn told me that a group of five or so residents had gotten together and threatened to sue Joseph if he did not get rid of the cat and she said Joseph is very much concerned about law suits. I held up until around 5:00. Turned Willie Nelson up loud on my stereo, had 3 shots of Moonshine, and now I feel better. I am not a drinker–but there are times—
So I lost this one, and Ginger too. I fear for what will happen to her. I plan to call the Animal Control Officer tomorrow to see if they can actually remove her, as they claim will be done if I have not done it in 7 days. Of course anything can be done after dark.
We should not think about obtaining a lawyer. Would just cause more trouble and cost money that could be far better spent another way. I hate to lose. I am not a good loser when I think my cause was just. However, they have pretty much put a gag order on me-
not that they phrased it that way. So I guess I will make a last bid for Ginger’s safety, but otherwise drop all other endeavors.
Thank you for your help and support.
This old lady is tired tonight
Thursday Morning, May 17. From Cynthia.
“Morning has arrived. I have gone from sad to angry. Now I understand how it is possible for some people to “go postal”. The complete injustice when someone or something you care about is threatened or worse. I don’t understand how a few people can go to a government agency (in this case Fair Housing) and then prepare to sue over ONE cat that was here before they were. But 7 of us could not have the right to bird feeders REINSTATED.
I believe the pen is mightier than the sword—so now I have been issued a “gag” order–cannot even speak my mind in a poem!
I appreciate your offer to re-home Ginger. I don’t think it would work. It took me 2 years for her to allow me to brush her, give her a worming pill etc. She is about 11 years old. She was born on this property and has always lived here, “wild and free”-doing no harm in any way. She does not even use the flower beds as a cat box. We have all seen her go up the hill in back of the office. Even Kathryn commented on that. She is a good cat. She is also a good mouser.
Wait until people begin complaining of mice in their apartments!
Well I don’t have to tell you, do I.
I no longer have a gall bladder but my mouth is filled with bile. They have no idea what I might be capable of. Still “revenge is the Lord’s”, – right? Where is He?
I will call the animal control officer in a few moments. Will let you know how that goes.
Thank you for being there.”
Thank you for existing Cynthia, this old lady is brave and wonderful. I am here for you in any way you need me to be here.