Letters from the Issue of February 9, 2006

Our letters section has gone to the dogs

Seedy Prose

But smart editor: In response to Chuck Strouse's February 2 column, "Bad Seeds": Bravo.

I don't wish anything bad upon anyone's children, but I do want to extend to Mr. Strouse congratulations because the piece was written exceptionally well. I hope he gets some award for the investigative part of it.

Helen Williams, Founder
Rilya Wilson Advocacy Project Inc.

Pound of Prose

Find those animals a tongue: Thank you very much for the article "Death by the Pound" (January 26). My calling in life is animal welfare. I am so happy that a great paper in Miami is tackling this. Because of this article, changes will be made. I remember how excited I was when Animal Cops Miami first aired on TV. Then I found out how really bad the animal cops are here. It is embarrassing. How we treat our animals is a reflection of our city. We need to turn a compassionate eye to our friends and companions. They need voices. They cannot speak. They need us to speak for them.

Suvine Grasmick

Make the animal owners responsible: Francisco Alvarado's "Death by the Pound" highlights only half the story. As animal shelters across America struggle with the never-ending influx of unwanted animals, let's not forget the sources of the problem — people who discard their responsibility to provide quality lifetime care for the animals they acquire, and a pet industry more focused on profits than animal welfare.

Yes, seven million cats and dogs are killed at shelters annually simply because they do not have a home. But there are untold numbers of unwanted exotic birds, reptiles, rabbits, ferrets, mice, guinea pigs, and other creatures that never make it to a shelter.

Most shelters are not equipped to handle animals other than dogs and cats, leaving many of these animals deprived and ignored because their caretakers have lost interest in them. Moreover there are few rescue organizations that take in these animals, and most are filled to capacity.

Since exotic birds, reptiles, rabbits, ferrets and other "alternative pets" do not roam the streets like stray cats and dogs, their plight remains a hidden but very real and growing crisis.

To combat animal overpopulation, lawmakers need to strengthen and enforce legislation to place more accountability on those who indiscriminately breed, sell, and abandon animals.

Denise Kelly, President
The Avian Welfare Coalition
New York

The Magic City gives canines the shaft: One fact that was not mentioned in Francisco Alvarado's article, "Death by the Pound," is that Miami does not require apartment landlords to accept pets. Most do not rent to dog owners.

People who own dogs must pay large additional security deposits before renting at the places that do allow dogs. I had to pay an additional $1300 security deposit for two small dogs. There was a $500 nonrefundable clean-up fee because a dog causes extra damage — and two extra deposits of $400 per dog.

This was in addition to the two months' security deposit I had to pay. I can see why many people abandon their dogs. It's just typical of Miami, where the average citizen and his or her dogs always get the shaft.

Juan Garcia

Miami dogs are sick, sick sick: Thank you for "Death by the Pound." At our rescue, I have taken in several dogs from Miami. All have been sick and in the worst condition you can imagine. There are many rescue groups throughout Florida that accept these dogs, but we put only a small dent in the problem.

As of late, I have not been taking dogs from Miami because of their severe conditions. The cost in money and heartbreak is unbearable. The last four we took had canine influenza and almost died. But they made it, and three are now in new homes.

Thank you so much for bringing attention to this deplorable state of affairs.

Marilyn Lentini, President
Bratpack Rescue, Inc.

No business here. Really! Francisco Alvarado mentioned in his article that I run Fairy Tails rescue from my Kendall home. This is incorrect. I hold adoption fairs every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Petco in Kendall, 12014 N. Kendall Dr.

Donna Halpern, President
Fairy Tails Inc.

Throw pet owners in the slammer: The reason all of these animals have to be put to death is not that the director of animal services, Sara Pizano, is sitting around doing nothing. It is that there is a monstrously huge number of abandoned pets in Miami-Dade County.

Sometimes people buy or adopt pets to serve as toys for their rotten, bratty kids (who then mistreat the animals; I've seen disgusting kids throwing little dogs up in the air, and their incredibly stupid parents doing nothing). Often they buy pets to guard their houses (or worse, their hot, weed-infested yards, where of course they force the pets to live). They don't spend one minute considering that the pet is a living thing. They don't consider whether they are qualified to keep a pet (most are not), whether they have the time to train it, or whether they can provide what the pet needs.

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