An animal is not a toy. It's a live creature that feels pain, gets hungry, and seems to be capable of feeling sadness and joy. We can all do our part to make up for the cretins out there by doing several things.
A) Consider adopting a "pound puppy" instead of buying animals from pet stores/breeders. Even if you are set on adopting a certain breed, there are rescue groups out there for almost every breed around. In addition, adult dogs/cats can make fantastic pets; don't just consider a puppy.
B) Spay and neuter your animals, for the love of God! I have heard of so many "backyard breeders" who let their purebred dogs have puppies just so they can make a bit of cash selling them. Not only does this dilute the breed, it's downright irresponsible.
C) Volunteer. There are so many organizations needing help, such as the Baltimore City Animal Shelter, and even an hour a week can make a difference. I'm a foster parent for St. Bernard Rescue (shameless plug here: www.saintrescue.org), and it's very rewarding. Shelters and rescue groups need help!
D) Think about it, and then think about it again, before you adopt a pet. When you take on a dog or cat, it is a commitment of seven to 18 years. If you can't commit that, then don't adopt.
Kudos go to Robert Anderson, for he seems to be a true animal lover who is doing the best with the budget he has, which isn't much. Praise should also go to Dr. John Trujillo at Light Street Animal Hospital, who selflessly volunteers his time giving shots. I'm proud my foster dog goes to his animal hospital, and I'm glad to know he cares about animals in need.
Your story on the city's Bureau of Animal Control reminded me of my own sad experience when I first moved to Baltimore several years ago.
I bought a large single-family house and moved in with my three cats, one of whom suddenly and unexpectedly became ill and died. Heartbroken, I decided to make the best of the situation and went to the Baltimore City Animal Shelter, where I fell in love with an adult female calico cat. I applied to adopt her and was promptly contacted by an Animal Control officer who interviewed me over the phone. Everything seemed fine until she asked if I had any other pets. To my horror, when I answered honestly, the officer told me I could not have more than two cats in the city of Baltimore without a "kennel license" and therefore could not adopt this or any other needy cat from the shelter. The "logic" of this apparently had something to do with eliminating the number of aggressive dogs already roaming the city streets. (It seems to have had the opposite effect.) I argued and then pleaded, but the answer remained "no."
I'll admit I had become spoiled living in Washington, D.C., where the Washington Humane Society runs its city shelters through active public outreach, annual fund-raising, and aggressive prosecution of animal cruelty. I knew this would be tough to find in a financially strapped city like Baltimore. What I did not expect and cannot excuse to this day, however, was the anti-adoption attitude. I offered one of their adult feline charges a chance at a great home, but she got euthanasia instead. It is no wonder that the shelter's adoption record is so abysmally low. Now, with dwindling funding and increasing pressures on all city services, I fear it will be difficult to ensure that even this small number of adoptions occurs, and more and more animals will go the way of that little calico cat.
Patrice Green, M.D.
Possessed With the Ability to Suck Plant Juices through Its Mouthparts
As an 85-year-old Baltimorean with a lifelong passion for homopterous insects with stout bodies, I was lusciously delighted beyond measure to read Joe MacLeod's column "Cicada" (Mr. Wrong, May 26). My manservant, Mr. Swift, recently showed me the article, and we both found it whimsically verbose. Please print this letter. I have a big scrapbook.
Your site is screwed up. I cannot display the link for the May 26 Mr. Wrong.
Slacker, slacker slacker slacker slacker. Slacker slacker slacker slacker, slacker slacker slacker slacker slacker slacker slacker slacker.
Slacker slacker slacker slacker slacker slacker. Slacker slacker slacker slacker slacker slacker slacker slacker slacker slacker! Slacker slacker slacker.
Yaking it Up
I enjoyed reading about the adventures of kayaking to and from work ("Heat Stroke," May 26). Lord, how I wish I were able to do that, too. Alas, I'll have to be satisfied with the stolen hours I'm able to get into a kayak in the summers with a friend who has a spare boat. I've never kayaked in the Inner Harbor. My adventures have all been on flowing rivers with the exception of a couple of bay trips. My most memorable sighting was a flock of herons over on the Eastern Shore in a small cove. Yes, a flock! Who knew they were social birds? The life you see from the water is amazing.
Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience, Lily Thayer.
Correction: We ran a photograph of California's Big in Japan instead of Baltimore's Big in Japan by mistake in our Baltimore Weekly section May 28, and boy are we embarrassed. Sorry about that, guys.
Editor's note: The national Association of Alternative Newsweeklies recently announced the nominees for its 2004 AAN Awards, and City Paperûwas favored with three nominations. Among papers with circulations larger than 50,000, art director Joe MacLeod was nominated for Best Editorial Layout for "Fast, Cheap, and Out of This World" (April 23, 2003), and arts editor Blake de Pastino was nominated for Best Arts Feature for "Disjointed" (July 9, 2003). Meanwhile, Tim Kreider's The Pain--When Will It End? comic was nominated for Best Cartoon running in five or fewer AAN papers. The winners will be announced June 25; watch this space for details. Congratulations to Joe, Blake, and Tim.Address letters to The Mail, City Paper, 812 Park Ave., Baltimore, MD 21201; fax: (410) 523-0138;
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