Letters from the Issue of February 9, 2006

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.

They think a pet is trainable within five minutes and that it understands human language or is psychic. So when they find the pet chewing on shoes or pooping on the carpet, they beat the hell out of it and then let it loose out on the streets to die or be picked up and euthanized by Miami-Dade Animal Services. This is the fault of neither the pet nor Ms. Pizano.

This county needs owners to swear before a notary that they will care for a pet and that they will neither abandon nor torture it. The punishment? A fine and imprisonment. The owner would register, post the registration on his or her house, and carry a copy like a driver license.

If a pet were found loose on the street or dead, the owner would be fined and thrown in prison. Any owner who turned a pet into animal services would have to serve some days in jail.

I guarantee you that if you throw enough negligent pet owners in jail, the situation at Miami-Dade Animal Services would improve dramatically and quickly. The poor, maligned Ms. Pizano would be able to do her job more effectively.

E. Marcos

She Ain't Groovy

Nor is she a fashion critic: In response to The Bitch's scathing review ("One Dead Groove," January 26) of the lovely literary evening we enjoyed at Luna Star Café: Her ignorance is showing. Why else would 60 people pack themselves into a coffee shop if not to be entertained by literary luminaries? What type of entertainment was she expecting at a coffeehouse anyway?

Campbell McGrath is one of the best-known modern poets in literary circles. The Bitch did not do research. Perhaps she should try enrolling in one of Mr. McGrath's classes to enlighten her narrow mind.

As far as my frumpy cardigan is concerned, it is a family heirloom well over 30 years old. It belonged to my beloved grandmother. In case she doesn't like the version in brown, I have its twin in royal blue.

Why doesn't she try screaming into a snare drum ... rrrrright?

Jane Morgenstern
Lake Worth

Even a poet can blow it: I can't help but muse: Why would New Times send a fashion critic to a poetry review?

Michael Hettich and Campbell McGrath are not only local treasures. They are respected all over the nation by people who have actually read their work (unlike The Bitch). Laura McDermott works very hard to provide a forum for local poets. Anyone who promotes the arts in this godforsaken city should be applauded rather than compared to some teenybopper star. Badly done, New Times!

Susan Parsons
Miami Beach

Green, green, my world is green: I am writing in response to the mean-spirited Bitch column posted January 26, "One Dead Groove." I was in attendance at this event in support of its organizer, Laura McDermott. The personal attacks on Ms. McDermott and her guests were completely inappropriate and lacked any editorial value. If your reporter did not like the event, then he/she should have stated that and then elaborated on the reasons that support that stance. To personally attack Ms. McDermott and the guests was an inaccurate, vicious blow below the belt. I cannot believe your establishment would actually pay someone to write such irrelevant babble.

And yes, I, the woman preoccupied with her mixed greens, was quite hungry that day. I had just left a long day of work, followed by a yoga class, and I wanted to support my friend in her endeavor. The Luna Star is a café — it serves food. I think I have the right to eat a salad if I so choose!

Shelby Gilbert

Yellow, yellow, our journalism is yellow: I used to be a fan of Miami New Times, and I think there is a need for alternative papers, which your paper, until now, has adequately filled. I am also a freelance writer, a teacher of creative nonfiction for the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, and an MFA candidate in FIU's creative writing program.  

All newspapers, whether alternative or mainstream, gain credibility by reporting the facts and by employing hard-working, honest journalists. New Times has lost all credibility to me.

I also believe The Bitch has done a tremendous disservice to Luna Star, to Laura McDermott, and to all of the writers, teachers, and patrons who have supported the Literary Salon. There are too few places where writers can go to mingle and hear each others' work. Laura, who organizes this reading series on her own time and without pay, deserves our gratitude. She does not deserve to be victimized by lazy reporting.

The Literary Café is a win-win event for everyone — it draws people to Luna Star, it brings writers together, and it gives both literary aficionados and beer connoisseurs a great thing to do once a month.

So Bitch or no Bitch, I think Luna Star and the Literary Salon will continue to thrive.

Melanie S. Neale
Fort Lauderdale

Music Editor

Miami New Times has an opening for a music editor. This full-time position entails planning and editing the weekly music section, writing feature stories and a weekly column, and working with freelancers. Qualified candidates must have strong writing and organizational skills and be well versed in hip-hop, DJ/dance, Latin, and indie rock. Applicants should send a cover letter, resumé, and five clips to Jean Carey, managing editor, 2800 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33137.

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