Letters from the Issue of May 20, 2004

Disgusting club kids, Haitiís guns, and animals in need

As a member of a human-rights investigatory delegation, I talked to many Lavalas supporters who had been terrorized by anti-Aristide rebels with guns. Most people we interviewed were in hiding -- unable to work, pay bills or rent, care for their children, be with their families -- for fear of their lives because of anti-Aristide forces. The chimères are known to be dangerous and feared by both pro- and anti-Aristide folks, but not all Aristide supporters are chimères. Every member of the Lavalas Family I met in Haiti did not have guns and advocated nonviolent protest for the return of Aristide.

I know Mr. Korten understands this. And I know that this is another side of a many-sided story. I am simply concerned that his article sent a misleading message about the complexity of all sides of the situation in Haiti. He's right. There are innumerable guns in Haiti held by normal citizens, chimères, "rebels" (a group largely composed of former Tonton Macoutes and Haitian military), the national police, and those with the biggest guns of all -- the multinational forces.

It does seem to be an ongoing power struggle over who has the biggest guns, and for now it's the Americans, French, Canadians, and Chileans with the power. Perhaps someday, even without threats of violence and bigger guns, the Haitian people themselves will have the power and can finally live in some peace.

Jenny Wernersbach

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Stop Yowling and Do Something

The animal shelter needs your aid, not your ire: This is in response to Maria Smith's letter about me and the Miami-Dade Police Department's Animal Services unit. Animal Services' shelter in Medley receives 2700 animals per month. Each month. Next month there will be another 2700 animals taken in. Yet there are three or more stray dogs on my block each day. If the shelter does not take in those 2700 each month, how many homeless dogs and cats will be digging through the garbage of my Riverside neighborhood by the end of the year? Of those 2700 animals received each month, only about 350 are adopted. Yes, I can subtract. But the sad truth is we're talking about dogs and cats here. Not babies. Shelter crowding and euthanasia are an unpleasant reality.

In large kennels, animals are typically fed on a schedule; this allows cleanup to be handled in a scheduled manner. At the shelter I witnessed dogs with full self-feeders in each of the runs of the main area, dogs in the west wing with bowls of food and water, and cats with litter, water, and food. Rather than just bashing me or Animal Services, why not help the shelter? Donations of food, cleaning supplies, and medical supplies are actively solicited. In particular the shelter is in need of stainless-steel dog bowls. Adopting an animal, of course, is the most obvious form of support.

The police department has reacted to public outcry. It is conducting investigations and seeking ways to improve conditions at the shelter. I appreciate the hiring of the Humane Society as a consulting agency and hope suggestions will be implemented to increase the shelter's efficiency.

Carsie Launey

Miami

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