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Issue with housing/social workers

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by ChelG, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    Okay, this isn't a huge problem in the scheme of things, but it feels huge to me, and I'm concerned it could be symptomatic of a larger problem. So...

    I'm in assisted living accommodation due to my autism; every week a social worker drops in to see if I'm having any serious problems. I asked said social worker three months or so ago if I could have pets again, as it's a great boost to my mental health. I had my heart set on ferrets (I desperately miss the ones I had in my early twenties) and said so. She called in her supervisor, who said they would revisit pet permission when I kept my living room clean consistently. I have successfully done this. In this conversation, I repeatedly mentioned ferrets, described their care and behaviour as compared to the pet rats I'd had before, mentioned facts about ferrets, and both social workers spoke the word "ferret" as well. I also told them repeatedly that I never wanted to own rodents again, both because of their short lifespan leaving me with heartbreak on a two-year basis and because they ate large holes in my wallpaper and chewed up numerous items in my home when I did have them, a year or two ago. During the weekly inspections since then, I continued to repeatedly mention ferrets.

    Cut to today, when they showed up again for an inspection. I said "so about pet permission" and they said "Of course you can have rats."
    "No, I said ferrets."
    "Oh, no, you can't have ferrets. You said rats."
    I told them I didn't. They insisted I did, and told me that when I first moved in and asked for permission their boss had specifically refused ferrets, which he had not, because at the time I was looking into rats. Ferrets are not permitted, yet guinea pigs are, despite them being barely any smaller, much noisier (a disadvantage for flat-based living), excreting a lot more, needing to gnaw and being hard to train not to gnaw on walls and wires, and needing just as much outside time as ferrets do. I don't want guinea pigs and had never mentioned wanting guinea pigs. The reasons given for ferrets being forbidden are that they count as "livestock" (bullshit), and that they need outside time and "people in the communal areas won't want them there" (the communal area is a hallway which takes literally seconds to step through and there is a massive lawn around the building). My tenant contract forbids only dogs, cats, snakes, and spiders specifically, and this is literally the first time I've heard any hint that ferrets would not be allowed. Their suggestion was to keep a ferret at my parents' house. I rely on my parents entirely for transport because I have no car and they can't drive me back and forth half an hour each way every day, and I moved here in the first place so I wouldn't be tied to my parents' home, which I hate being at (I dislike my mother's dogs and don't get along with my sister well, and I get along okay with my mother since I moved out but had daily screaming matches when we were living together and constantly in each other's pockets).

    The problem which is probably smaller but feels bigger is that I can't have ferrets, and if I can't then I don't want any other pet, but I need something for emotional support. It's really hard not to feel like it's ruined my upcoming birthday - they repeatedly implied I would be allowed to get a pet for it and then suddenly take permission away. The problem which is potentially symptomatic of a larger problem is that two people who were supposed to be entrusted with my care were clearly not actually listening to a word I said and felt no need to follow up on requests I made. How can I trust them to help me when it's more urgent if they can't even pay attention to words they themselves used in a conversation?

    I don't really know what advice I'm asking for here. I can't afford to move out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
    • Witnessed x 2
  2. aetherGeologist

    aetherGeologist Well-Known Member

    I’d suggest to not trust anything they say in conversation or expect that anything you say will get picked up. Put everything in writing - email if possible so you both have a record. They should actually be making their own case notes and they should show you these if they ask although they may try and fob you off.

    If they don’t respond to that escalate to their managers.

    Sorry about your experience shitty care teams are the worst.
     
    • Agree x 2
  3. aetherGeologist

    aetherGeologist Well-Known Member

    I’ve got a friend who’s a social worker and could ask her advice as well?
     
    • Useful x 1
  4. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    That'd help, thank you.
     
  5. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    My dad's talking to their bosses for me. We're going to get them to put what they thought was going on in writing so I can dissect what actually happened from it.
     
  6. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    The biggest piece of bullshit in this is the idea that ferrets are "livestock". Livestock is defined as animals traded as a source of income or used to produce commodities. Ferrets do neither. That's what makes me suspect someone involved is lying. Also, they claimed I can't have them because they'd escape, but I can have rats, which can escape much more easily because they're so much smaller and can gnaw into the walls?
     
  7. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    I feel lied to and ignored and it's generally shitty.
     
    • Witnessed x 5
  8. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    They came out with so many excuses so quickly that, even if I'm wrong, it came across as if they were actively lying to me. Within seconds we went from "you never asked about ferrets even though we talked with you about them specifically" to "you can't have them in places with a communal hallway" to "they're livestock" (still WTFing at that) to "they'll escape" (it would be harder for them to escape than for rats to).
     
    • Agree x 3
  9. context-free anon

    context-free anon Well-Known Member

    you should ask if hamsters are allowed, and if they say yes then tell them they're long hamsters
     
    • Winner x 6
  10. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    What reason would they have to lie, though?
     
  11. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    I don't think I'd get away with that, but thanks for cheering me up a bit!
     
  12. bushwah

    bushwah a known rule consequentialist

    I feel like they probably still haven't told you their real reason for not approving the ferrets.
     
    • Agree x 3
  13. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    The reasons they gave sound extremely fake and I know for a fact that we did speak about ferrets specifically even though they insist we didn't, but I can't think of any reason they'd have to not tell me the actual reason.
     
  14. bushwah

    bushwah a known rule consequentialist

    I'm guessing that, for whatever reason, they think denying you ferrets is safer (for them/you/the organization/society) than allowing you to get them. And that the first thing they said, they were bantering, but the second one they were laying down the law. Maybe -- in the first conversation, they weren't listening that carefully and/or weren't thinking of themselves as authorities? I know I've echoed back pieces of what someone was saying without actually hearing it, although I would hope if I was in a position of power over someone I would be careful not to run my mouth at them like that.

    also anecdotally ferrets can seem really different depending on what aspect of them you've encountered -- they're clever, slinky beasts, and I'd compare them first of all to cats among more common pets, but "furry snake" and "long hamster" are also ways in which they can be read -- so it's possible they didn't really know what a ferret was until sometime between your two baffling conversations, and were trying to cover up that they'd made a decision without having relevant facts.

    I'd say once you have something in writing (incl. email tbh) you will be in a better bargaining position, unless you think you can banter yourself back into their good graces. Although it is possible you could alienate them by insisting on getting their rulings in writing, an authority that refuses to create records (or worse, retaliates against the suggestion that it should) is going to cause massive headaches down the line anyway and ime it's better to expose that sooner rather than later.
     
  15. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    If they think ferrets are livestock then they certainly don't know anything about them. (Mental image of ferrets growing sheep-like wool. Which would be adorable but is not a known thing.) I could certainly believe that. I'm guessing the "livestock" thing comes from the idea of working ferrets which are used on farms? Which doesn't make them livestock any more than a pet Border collie is, but maybe that's where the confusion came in. I can counter all the comments they made about them, but whether that'll do any good I don't know.
     
  16. bushwah

    bushwah a known rule consequentialist

    I mean... some fairly close relatives of ferrets are raised for commercial fur production?? but like. One ferret does not a fur farm make. Or two ferrets, or five ferrets, or however many you're planning on getting. I would pretty well understand them putting down their foot on you using your assisted living quarters to run a ferret breeding operation, but like... nope, wrong scale.

    The livestock bit may also refer to them being large, though. Like, I can see someone being like "you can't have an entire goat in your apartment" and explaining that as because the animal is livestock. I'm not really sure how big a ferret is. I think it's sort of... rope-shaped, though, which again, depending on how you encounter them, you can get different impressions of the size of the animal.
     
  17. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    A fairly large ferret is about the length and diameter of my forearm. They take up less floor space than rabbits or guinea pigs because they can live in multi-tier cages (they can climb better than stubby-legged herbivores). I also did specify in the original conversation that any ferrets I had would be neutered, since not doing so leads to health and behavioural problems and really bad smell, so there's no risk of them breeding. I can see what they were going for with how I can't take them through the communal areas, but guinea pigs are allowed, and they ideally need to go outside too, so that doesn't apply either.

    What's really upsetting about this is I feel it's ruined my birthday. A ferret was the only thing I could think of that I actually wanted, and it's cutting a bit close to think of anything else.
     
    • Witnessed x 4
  18. bushwah

    bushwah a known rule consequentialist

    Oh yeah then they're really not that big. None of the shit they're saying makes sense.

    aw, no, bday :( do something else nice for yourself pls?
     
  19. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    I'll try to come up with something. There wasn't really anything else I wanted.

    We can't counter their points effectively until we have them in writing, so we're waiting for a letter now.
     
  20. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    The problem here is about the whole "no you never said ferrets" thing. I can't tell whether they were not listening to me or they were gaslighting me, or what purpose gaslighting me would serve if they were. Were they just hoping I'm stupid enough to forget what I said so they don't have to deal with it? Disabled people get that often enough that I can't trust that they weren't.
     
    • Witnessed x 1
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