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Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, use this postmarks submission form, or email your letter directly to mail@austinchronicle.com. Thanks for your patience.
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The Minions of Chaos

RECEIVED Wed., Nov. 30, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Re: The police/demonstrators issue [“Point Austin,” News, Nov. 18]: If you are unfortunate enough to be rescued from violence by an employee of the legal entity where the attack happens, don't be tedious and ask for his credentials – the minions of chaos will thoroughly vet the officer (that is, if anyone other than you or he is injured).
    In a formerly unreal time, an approaching sea change may well abrogate all cause for worry on this issue. Hope, progress, and security may become meaningful again on the far side of another dark age.
Jerry Gaskin

How Many?

RECEIVED Wed., Nov. 30, 2005

Dear Editor,
    How many police shootings have occurred in the last two years without the officers involved receiving any substantial punishment?
William Trey Andrews
   [Editor's note: The question is unclear, since most police-use of weapons is within the law and does not merit disciplinary action. There have been two controversial shootings in the last two years. Jesse Lee Owens was shot and killed by APD Officer Scott Glasgow in June 2003. Glasgow received a 90-day suspension. Daniel Rocha was shot and killed by Officer Julie Schroeder in June of this year. Schroeder has been terminated by Chief Stan Knee; that decision is under appeal.]

More Shelter No. 6

RECEIVED Wed., Nov. 30, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Thanks for the story emphasizing that Austin isn't a no-kill city yet and pointing out the true and tragic outcome for many of our adoptable dogs and cats [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. I hope you can follow up with a piece that discusses the solutions to the problem so that Austin can take responsibility and action individually and as a community to reduce the number of animals that enter the shelter and diminish the kill-rate of our dogs and cats along with it. A few solutions to make a difference include spaying and neutering your pets, keeping your pets for their lifetime, and volunteering with various animal-welfare organizations. Thanks again.
Natasha Rosofsky
President, Austin Pets Alive!

Fearing Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Better

RECEIVED Wed., Nov. 30, 2005

Mr. Black,
    Your editorial “Scooting Toward McCarthyism" [“Page Two,” Nov. 4] is some of your best writing yet. Thank you for using your eloquent turn of phrase to spotlight the m.o. of the radical, conservative GOP. I agree with you that even as they continue dishing out lie after lie (due in no small part to the commercial news "industry"), it's even more disturbing that so much of the nation's populace begs for more.
    I only wish that there were more elected officials who shared your convictions. I fear things will get worse before they get better – an example of the mean-spiritedness of the times is the presence of Proposition 2.
Cordially,
Charles Tatum II
Houston

More Shelter No. 7

RECEIVED Wed., Nov. 30, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Many thanks for running the cover story on TLAC and the plight of Austin's animals [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. People need to know about this disturbing issue, and sometimes the only way to get through the "nicey-nice" blinders of the public is to present a shocking topic in a shocking way. The article was informative and so well done. I am utterly impressed by all of you for presenting it in this way. The pictures will stay with me forever ... the deceased cats, the poor dog being given his fatal dose. I cried and kept on reading. I hope the public sees why they need to know about this sad, sad situation. And I hope the anger or shock or disgust they feel motivates them to do something toward the remedy. If you have saved one beloved animal on this planet – and I believe you have saved more than that – by running this article and informing people, then you have done the work of an angel. Again, thank you.
Warm regards,
Mary Sisco

More Shelter No. 8

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I think your article failed to show the suffering of the animals who are turned away by no-kill shelters and forced to live on the streets [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. I saw this for 26 years as a police officer in New York who dealt with animal cruelty. Euthanasia is very sad but not cruel. It is a necessary kindness, and the people who do that job are caring people who know that it's the most compassionate alternative in most cases.
Sue McDonough
Troy, N.Y.

Almost Extinct Species – a Moderate Republican

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    In some sense I feel somewhat disenfranchised and pushed to the side. There’s a new sheriff in town and it’s his way or the highway. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done in the past. The loyalty, the votes, the long-term support – all for naught.
    You see, I’m part of a group that is being relegated to the sidelines as inconsequential. I’m a moderate Republican. I don’t seem to be conservative enough, ideological enough, or Christian enough for the people that have taken over the party apparatus.
    My primary concern is that the far-right fringe element has taken over my party. I’ll call them R-extremes. The R-extremes are more concerned with dominance instead of governance. And lately, their governance is suspect. The litmus test gets harder to pass every year.
    There doesn’t seem to be any room for dissent. You are either 100% behind them or are labeled a traitor. Compromise has become a four-letter word and considered a weakness in their minds.
    And our poster boy, Tom DeLay, is the best thing to happen to the Democrats in a long time. Do we not have the capacity to remove “bad apples” from the bushel? I guess it is hard to do when the R-extremes control the people, the money, and the power structures that run the party. For balance, the Democrats have their own version of DeLay in the likes of Howard Dean. Nice two-party system we have here – both controlled by the fringes.
    I don’t want to give up on the Republican Party whose philosophy and ideals used to resonate with my core beliefs. But, my patience is wearing thin. Unless something is done to bring the party back to the middle, the other guys are ready to jerk the steering wheel back hard to the left.
John Romano

Education Not Enough

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Regarding Austin's No-Kill Millennium plan, I have to say education is just not enough [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. My neighbors for example are very well educated about animal care and what goes on at animal shelters, but they are an irresponsible mix who simply don't care enough to fix their dog and keep her from running loose.
    Another thought: If we could get the overpopulation of pets under control with a revised no-kill plan, it just may increase the need for a breeder's services by decreasing the "supply" of unwanted animals. If it works it could pay off for them in the long run.
Heather Henrique

We Need a Law

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    You showed in graphic detail the sad reality of pet overpopulation in your excellent article on the failure of the much publicized No-Kill Millennium [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. Now it is time to urge Austin City Council to step up to the plate and support mandatory spay/neuter. Here is why we need a law instructing people to neuter their pets; unfortunately nothing has worked so far to curb the number of unwanted animals killed daily in the city's shelter; not public service announcements, not more awareness about adoptions, not low-cost spay/neuter, nothing.
    As a progressive city, Austin should take the lead and get aggressive to stop the birth of unwanted cats and dogs. Mandatory spay/neuter is working in other cities and the animals deserve for us to put it into place here. The Chronicle was brave enough to show and tell how dire the situation is, why won't a council member be brave enough to sponsor a mandatory spay/neuter proposal?
Sincerely,
Julia Hilder

Will Finish Reading Article

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I am the director of Thundering Paws Animal Sanctuary in Dripping Springs, and I would like to thank you sincerely for your article on euthanasia at Town Lake Animal Center [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. If this kind of exposé is what it takes to get people to spay and neuter their pets – and any other animal they come across – then it is well worth it. I confess I have not gotten through the article yet. It is difficult reading. However, I will finish it. I am not immune to confronting the horror.
    Thank you again. You are very brave, and very loving to have published this article.
Anne Zabolio
Director
Thundering Paws Animal Sanctuary
Dripping Springs

Looking Forward to Fino

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Excellent article [“Fino, Finally,” Food, Nov. 18]. Can't wait to see and taste Fino's on my very next trip to Austin.
Philip H. McCarty
San Antonio

Anti-American PR Move Is Near Biblical in Its Purity

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Could the irony be more poignant? Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, makes a deal to sell heating oil to the poor in Quincy, Mass., for a 40% discount. This is the same Hugo Chavez that religio-politician and close Bush ally Pat Robertson wants assassinated. He's the one the Bush administration sponsored a coup attempt against in 2002. The U.S. oil companies have taken no such steps to help the needy in our country who may well freeze to death this winter.
    Read your Bible, Pat. In your own evangelical terms, you are convicted of sin. Proverbs 29:7, for example, says, the righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. I guess it's true, Pat. By their fruits ye shall know them.
Ben Hogue

More Shelter No. 1

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    It was hard not to feel angry after reading the Gimme Shelter piece [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. Not at the shelter, but at the owners' and would-be owners' irresponsibility. If you allow your pet to have babies, you have the responsibility of finding them homes. If you “owner surrender” your pet you need to realize that someone has to assume your responsibility.
    The article may have served the shelter better if it looked at its strengths. The employees diligently provide care to ill and healthy animals, spay/neuter all potential adoptees, and tirelessly create an environment to facilitate adoption.
    A bigger shelter, though necessary, will not stop irresponsible humans. Our culturally facilitated self-centeredness can skew any sad reality placed before us. We are tethered to our cell phones, e-mails, DVRs, Web sites – unwilling to miss anything, except what really matters.
    The shelter faces a grim task with much dignity.
Diane Stonecipher

More Shelter No. 2

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I commend The Austin Chronicle for running the Gimme Shelter article [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. Your cover was heartbreaking but portrays a reality we often choose to ignore. Spaying and neutering has to be the priority or thousands of animals will continue to share the same fate. I was so saddened to hear that a progressive city like Austin is euthanizing close to 13,000 animals a year! I volunteer at an open-door animal shelter. I know all too well the reality of euthanasia. As I continue to educate people about responsible pet ownership, thank you for giving a voice to those who have none.
Audrey Moses

Like Being a Drunk at a Party

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Louis,
    Really well put [“Page Two,” Nov. 25]. I've said to several friends of mine that being an American, since the invasion of Iraq, is like being with a drunk at a party who then starts fighting with everybody. Now the problem is how to get out of the bar. You marshaled your points brilliantly and far from being just a rant, you proffer serious analysis of an absurd yet terrifying situation. Thanks for articulating what so many of us are feeling – all patriotic, if Democratic or (gasp) liberal Americans – who believe in real freedom and real acceptance of each other's beliefs, morals, and lifestyles – and putting it into words that, unlike the horrendous situation we're now in – make sense. No one is arguing that fighting, say, Nazi Germany was the right thing to do, but they invaded Poland. Happy T'giving and thanks to all at the Chron.
Mandy Mercier

More Shelter No. 3

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I applaud you on your recent article "What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?" [News, Nov. 18]. I have a story to tell. I attempted to adopt an animal from the Town Lake Animal Center, and it was a horrible experience. As far as I am concerned, they prefer to kill the animals instead of giving them to families that are interested in adopting. I already have a blue heeler on my one-acre in Uhland, Texas. Land big enough for two animals. However, the shelter was so resistant to allowing me to adopt a Labrador, that I imagine that the poor dog is now dead. They were constantly telling me to come back – to make sure I wanted to adopt. What? The experience was so bad and sad, not for me only, but for the hundreds of animals that are looking for a loving home. I would have given that Labrador a loving home. Having read your article, it hurts me to know that if they made the adoption experience more pleasant, more animals would be adopted and less killed. Shame to the Town Lake Animal Center in not doing a a good job to save stray animals.
Angello Malefakis
Uhland

More Shelter No. 4

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Regarding your article "What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?," News, Nov. 18, what an absolutely horrible thing to do! Putting all those poor freshly killed cats right on the cover for all to see! Hey, I have an idea. Maybe this will wake up some people to the fact that the TLAC is lying when they say that the cats and dogs will find a home. Maybe this is the only way to let people know of the horrors that go on in the bowels of that inhumane, horrible place. And maybe, just maybe, people will stop thinking the same way about neutering their pets. They are not like humans. They live much better lives when they don't reproduce, and are loved, as they should be. Not making babies that will have to be killed.
    I do feel sorry for the employees, but can't they tell the truth to the public? Go, Chronicle! Put it in people's faces more often and maybe someone will help change things. I do cat and kitten rescue and I remain horrified at the situations in which these poor creatures find themselves.
Thank you,
Dana Gardner

Ruiz Gone to Hell

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    If David Ruiz hadn't been the lead plaintiff in the controversial lawsuit that led (now Senior) District Judge William Wayne Justice to drag Texas prisons kicking and screaming from the 16th to the 20th century, he might have been better known as a habitual felon whose hobbies included using deadly weapons to separate noncriminals from their money and property [“Prisoners' Rights Crusader Ruiz Dies,” News, Nov. 25]. While his influence on making the Texas prison system less inhumane cannot be doubted, it's only fair to his victims that his entire legacy be remembered. No lawsuit is going to improve his current living conditions.
Michael Simpson

KUT Should Be Given Back to Students

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Hello, my name is Robert Flores, and I'm responding to the article about the future of KUT [“Getting on the KUTting Edge,” News, Nov. 25]. I am the current program director for KSYM at San Antonio College in San Antonio. My opinions about the article are purely my own and not the station's. In response, KUT deserves to be given back to the students (poor KVRX). NPR is a nice angle to have, but I don't see how that ties into communication college. Here at KSYM, every paid staff member is required to be enrolled in at least six hours of study for part-time minimum wage. However, it may sound sad, in fact it's an honor. The other college station in town, KRTU (Trinity University), operates much like KUT does with respect to how the station manager and program director are given salaried positions. KSYM is financially independent as well as the others and raises a little more than $50,000 once every year. For us, what it comes down to is what we do. We play music. We're the only outlet in this town (San Antonio) with a 24-hour alternative-music format, and it is run entirely by students at the community college. We have direct community impact.
Robert Flores
San Antonio

More Shelter No. 5

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 29, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I wanted to say how much I respect the Chronicle staff for publishing last week's article about the No Kill Millennium and the pet overpopulation/euthanization issues in Austin [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. I am sure that many people are contacting you with complaints about the graphic nature of the pictures, etc., but I believe it is an issue that urgently needs to be addressed. The truth is that hundreds of animals are needlessly euthanized every week, and to sugarcoat the issue leads us no closer to finding a solution to this immense problem.
    Thank you for taking a risk and reporting on an extremely controversial issue – as an avid supporter of trap-neuter-return efforts in Austin, I truly appreciate your willingness to shed light on an issue that is all too often swept under the rug. From animal lovers like myself and all of the cats and dogs that may be spared because of your article – thank you.
Sincerely,
Liz Shooltz

Music Appreciation Is Very Subjective

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I've just read Jim Caligiuri's review of 3rd and Main – the first full-length CD by the Gene Pool – and I just can't believe how wrong I am in enjoying that CD as much as I do [“Texas Platters,” Music, Nov. 25]!
    Have being born in Brazil, and educated in Switzerland and France, I don't really have knowledge of Austin's local music, so I was enjoying the simple pleasure of good music. But, now I know I shouldn't like this CD.
    Or ... should I? Music is art, and is very subjective.
    I wonder what kind of critic Jim Caligiuri is, once he leaves no other option for the public than to avoid listening to this the Gene Pool CD.
    I completely disagree with his opinion – 3rd and Main is one of my favorite CDs, and no one will convince me that music should be a standard kind of art – which is an oxymoron.
    We should celebrate the creativity and encourage local artists.
Fabiola Cukierman

Why Be Upset by the Truth Being Shown?

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Chronicle,
    I have been embarrassed to be an Austinite twice in my life. The first time was when Coyote Cafe closed down because the food was too hot for the Austin palate. That one hurt. Not because I loved the restaurant but because I knew then that the rest of the world would find out that what we love to say about ourselves in Austin is actually not true. At least not anymore. How pathetic. I am still tortured by conjured images of stylish yuppie types sending their food back and badgering the waiter for more iced tea.
    The second time was when I opened the Nov. 25 issue of the Chronicle and read letter after letter [“Postmarks”] complaining about dead cats on the cover [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. Inexplicably, most of the angry letters seemed to come from people who loved cats or were against euthanasia on animals. Am I the only one lost here? I understand we have bizarre, unhealthy, and unnatural attitudes about death in this country, but setting that aside for another time, why would you get upset about the truth being shown to you, especially when it has the potential to remediate the situation? The photograph shows prostrate cats, but the context has some of us breaking out in melodramatic fits of rage. How about directing some of that outrage toward finding a proactive solution to the problem of too many unwanted pets?
David Burks

Lucky to Have Jack Ingram at the Forefront

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Thanks for the Jack Ingram piece [“Wedding Vows,” Music, Nov. 4]. I have followed his sporadic musical journey since the beginning of the Southwest Conference Tour. While the new single seems a bit saccharine and his new business partner is a musical cartoon, the country music industry should be so lucky to have Jack at its forefront. Some may scoff at his ambition, but he could have slipped on a Resistol, smirked at the camera, wiggled his ass, and been a star 10 years ago. He instead remained sincere to himself, his fans, his band, and his craft. Inarguably, this both led and legitimized a new generation of "Texas Music" singer/songwriters. If he has to compromise slightly to ultimately have the same influence on Nashville, one "slick" single is a small price to pay.
Joey Austin

In Favor of PODER

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I am slightly perturbed by a letter you received that only bashed PODER [“Postmarks,” Nov. 18]. As a lifelong resident of East Austin I would like to take the opportunity to speak out.
    I really doubt that the development projects in East Austin will revitalize my community. Most of these projects cater to affluent, white, young professionals. The housing units (aka condos and lofts) are overpriced, and the small coffee shops and businesses (art galleries) don't appeal to us because they were not made to serve us.
    An ounce of research will uncover the fact that the white population in East Austin from 1990 to 2000 has increased by 31%. It may be that Mr. Edwards, along with the other neighbors whose opinions differ greatly from PODER, falls into that first wave of gentry.
    PODER gained the respect and trust of East Austin residents. During the 1990s the East Austin community, with the help of PODER, shut down the tank farms (home to major oil companies) that were poisoning our air, land, water, and families. We shut down the BFI Recycling Plant, which brought filth and rats to our community. By 2007 we will have shut down the Holly Power Plant, right down the street from Mr. Edwards' home. Power plants in the United States are responsible for 72% of sulfur dioxide emissions, 33% of nitrogen oxide emissions, 32% of particulate matter emissions, 23% of mercury emissions, and 36% of carbon dioxide contaminating our air.
    Ironically, now that we live in a healthier community we are being displaced.
    It may be easy for people such as Mr. Edwards to ignore this reality. Unfortunately some of us have to face it and wonder if we will be able to afford these property taxes. If not, where will they push us next? Farther east?
Ana Villalobos

Animals Not Toys

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I am writing about a response [”Postmarks Online,” Nov. 23] that you received to your No-Kill Millennium article [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18].
    A reader was upset because he couldn't waltz into TLAC and get his child the kitten he wanted like it was the only one there, like it was a toy car or truck and not a life that should be considered a part of the family for the rest of its life through good and bad until the natural death of the adult cat.
    He didn't feel he should be questioned or counseled, he just wanted a new toy for his child. He was angry they didn't get exactly the one they wanted.
    I am so sorry! Get real, there are hundreds of animals that need a new home; there are no perfect pets and no perfect homes, but any shelter worth its salt should screen homes and sort out who they think will give an animal a forever home and not have it be the thrill of the moment.
    It's just too easy to get an animal and too easy to give it up, as if their was no shame in this at all.
    Fewer pets would be killed if people wouldn't be so picky about getting just the perfect pet and would take a homeless one and not all fight over a few "cute" ones or purebred ones. They all deserve good, lifetime homes, not just the babies or pretty ones.
    What about the big ones, the older ones, the "ugly" ones, and the proverbial black ones.
    No need to fight over a shelter animal, there are way too many dying to get out!
Deborah Ullrich

Wake Up, This Is Reality!

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Thank you Austin Chronicle for having the courage to put the truth in the face of readers [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. After reading some of the e-mails from people who want to continue to hide their head in the sand I say, wake up people, this is reality! Sure it was uncomfortable to see the visual images of these animals being put to death because of our actions – but until we take responsibility for domestic animals and stop treating them like they don't think or feel, this will never end. Now let's see if this so-called progressive city can change its animal-control ordinance not only to have animals spayed or neutered (unless they are a licensed breeder), but let's pass a cat containment ordinance to stop the unnecessary killing of our native wildlife. The average free-roaming cat will kill 30 native animals per year whether it's well-fed or not. Studies done by Texas Parks & Wildlife estimate there are more than 100,000 cats in the city of Austin and there are more than 1 million native animals being killed per year by free-roaming cats. This includes frogs, snakes, rabbits, squirrels, and most of all our beautiful avian friends!
Susan Schaffel

Contempt for Those in Need

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    The Republican executive branch did not show enough contempt for those in need by ignoring hurricane victims until the public expressed concern; now the legislative branch shows their contempt by cutting funding for food stamps, medical care, and education for the needy just when many thousands have been added to the list of those needing help.
    Obviously tax cuts for the wealthy are the prime concern for the Republicans, and the welfare of the public is almost completely ignored.
Barbara Hannon
San Marcos

Cultural Center of Their Own

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I went to the groundbreaking ceremony for the planned Mexican American Cultural Center, which I feel should have been built many years ago. Our indigenous ancestors have been here for thousands of years, and Mexicans have been here for hundreds. Mexican-Americans have been in East Austin for more than 75 years. Why, why did it take so long for this community to get something that it greatly needed and deserved? Generations of Latinos missed out on a cultural center of their own. As we know, youth who are immersed in arts are less likely to use drugs or get involved with gangs. They need a special place where they can express their feelings and talents in a creative way.
    Influenced by racist individuals, Austin voters turned down a 1992 city bond to build the center. City management, obviously influenced by real estate dealers, delayed this project again and again. The message to the community is that they do not deserve a nice facility and that the land is more valuable than they are!
    It's a sad irony that MACC is being built at the same time that the Mexican community is being torn apart and pushed out due to gentrification. Members of the community need to be empowered and educated about our legal and political systems and how the U.S. and local economies directly affect them. Well-intentioned newcomers, who are willing to work together with the old residents, are welcomed and greatly appreciated. But it is the unscrupulous encroachment of self-seeking individuals that we do not want. They tend to treat Mexicans with total disregard for their rights and wishes. The community is losing its rich, colorful culture and traditions, and the luminous glow within its soul is slowly fading away.
Anita Quintanilla

Spay and Neuter

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Editor,
    Thanks to you and Rachel Proctor May for having the chutzpah to publish the much-needed article about the failure of the No-Kill Millennium [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. Some of your readers may be indignant that you've addressed this unpleasant topic. If so, they are part of the problem.
    Town Lake Animal Center has its shortcomings, chief of which is that it is an antediluvian facility struggling to meet the needs of a large city on a threadbare budget.
    I am a cat rescuer; most of the cats I've rescued are from TLAC. I pull adult cats, many of whom are surrendered by their owners because they have become inconvenient. Sometimes the reason rings legitimate (desperately allergic, terminally ill), but "moving" is the typical cop-out. Good citizens: If you can take your kids with you when you move, you can take your animals. They are family – or should be. If you consider them disposable, that is flat-out wrong.
    The aura of the No-Kill Millennium supports the delusion that the animal you dump at the shelter will leave alive. The intake staff could make the truth more palpable at the counter. But then what will you do?
    Having spoken to many who surrendered their cats (because I needed medical or behavior history), I know this delusion for a fact. Those who surrender animals come in wearing the blinders of denial, and the wispy ideal of "No Kill" (to perhaps be realized during the next millennium) only reinforces that denial. The kill rate for cats at TLAC is now 70%.
    What to do? Spay and neuter! Increase public education. Pressure and encourage landlords into being more pet-friendly. Recognize that family values include lifetime responsibility for pets. Take off the rose-colored glasses.
Barbara MacLeod
Grimalkin Rescue

'Chronicle' Cover Went Too Far

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Last night I went to eat with a friend, and while waiting I went to look for the Chronicle, as I often do while waiting. The first two issues were coverless, so I dug deeper until I found one with a cover and brought it back to the table.
    It was then that I noticed the pictures of cats lined up, euthanized on a table. I was shocked and upset. While I am aware of the shelter issues (all of my pets have come from shelters), you went too far to put these images on the cover [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. What's next? Auto accidents? Bringing awareness to sensitive issues is an art, sensationalizing or shocking should be left for the tabloids (although I don't think even the Enquirer would put those images on the cover).
    In the future, please understand that your audience is most likely eating while reading your publication, and that children are at the table. Bad choice, Chronicle.
Brian Vail

Sad Tale Needs to Be Told

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Thanks for the courage to publish Rachel Proctor May's story [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. It's a sad, sad, sad tale that needs to be front and center until enough people get it to make a change.
Lynne Whittington
Responsible pet owner

Too Many Animals Die in Austin

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    As an animal rescuer in Austin, I see every day the heartbreak of death at TLAC [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. Many times if we don't take a cat, it dies. We are its last chance. We can only do so much. We can only take in so many cats. The public and city officials have got to step up and do their part. Owners must be responsible and spay and neuter their animals. City officials must enforce the rules. A new multimillion-dollar shelter is not the answer. Thank you for telling the story as it is. Thank you for exposing the truth. Too many animals die in Austin. It is a shame, and it should not happen. And, we are sorry for that. Thank you for being brave enough to talk about it.
LaRisa Lochner
Siamese Rescue board member
Foster and cat guardian of six

The Ugliness Is Reality for Animals

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    For those of us who dedicate our time, energy, money, and, above all else, our compassion and emotional stability (or sometimes lack thereof) to work (volunteer) in animal welfare, I applaud the Chronicle and Ms. Proctor May for writing and running such a devastating and truthful story [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. For those who care, the truth hurts a great deal. That is why we do what we do. For those who complain when faced with the ugliness of what is the reality for tens of thousands of innocent animals, it is clear they would rather the animals suffer than we, the humans responsible for the suffering, be forced to deal with it.
    Again, the community of animal welfare activists thanks you – and so would the poor creatures who suffer daily if only they had a voice of their own. Spay – neuter – shelter – protect. We are the caretakers.
Elena Ward

Stop Fighting, Start Helping

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Thank you for your hard-hitting article on the Town Lake Animal Center [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18].
    Dorinda Pulliam's statement "the dog issue is disposable dogs" not overbreeding is untrue. Anyone who has ever walked through TLAC knows they have tons of puppies. Scores of entire litters of healthy puppies are euthanized each year at TLAC. These puppies are a result of too much breeding. Your statement that most of the dogs being euthanized are not adoptable is untrue. Many of these dogs are healthy, friendly, well-trained dogs. I know from experience, having fostered 25 dogs over the last 18 months; all were scheduled for euthanasia at TLAC, all were lovable, healthy dogs who are now beloved members of their adoptive families.
    Your article didn't ask, “Why do they euthanize?" Many adoptable dogs are being euthanized when there are empty kennels at TLAC. Why?
    The narcissistic breeders and dog-show enthusiasts who oppose the spay/neuter ordinance because they are unwilling to spend an extra $500 a year on a permit for their “hobby” even if it could help prevent the deaths of countless animals are not much better than the puppy mills they attack. The breeders will simply pass on the cost of breeder permits in the cost of the puppies they sell. This ordinance is going to impact those people that out of ignorance or laziness never spay their animal and then sell the puppies in newspaper ads or Wal-Mart parking lots. They will be forced to spay or neuter or pay the fines for their laziness. We can't continue to search for a solution that everyone agrees on. The ordinance might not be perfect – but we must do something about the overpopulation problem now before any more animals are slaughtered. Stop fighting and start helping the animals that are in danger.
Susan Young

If Reading About It Is Too Awful Then What About Doing It?

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    It's too ironic that there is such a furor over Rachel Proctor May's article describing euthanasia at the Town Lake Animal Center [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. Folks: Think about what you're saying! If reading about it is too awful to bear, then surely doing it is worse. The root causes must be addressed – continue to reduce (to zero!) the number of unwanted domesticated animals born, and increase the already Herculean efforts various organizations such as Emancipet already perform to take care of those already born. Keeping our animals healthy and alive should be our goal.
Beth Solomon
Pet owner

Cover Exploitative and Appalling

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    I was shocked and disgusted by the cover of the Chronicle this week [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. I realize that the story needs attention, but putting pictures of dead cats on the cover page is exploitative and appalling. Would you put a long line of dead human beings on the cover? No, because that would be considered in poor taste. I should at least have to open the paper up and flip through it before I'm forced to look at something so grisly and upsetting!
Melissa Johanningsmeier

Thanks for Bringing Issue to the Fore

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Thank you so much for bringing the issues related to the would-have-been No-Kill Millennium to the fore [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. As an individual rescuer in East Austin, working with SpayAustin Inc. to help increase the number of spay/neuters in the city and to decrease the number of euthanized animals, I am truly grateful to the Chronicle just for getting the word out. I think many people, even those who are pro MS/N, don't really know that the ordinance is on the table, or that the City Council has not yet made any move toward touching it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Audrey Carmical

Too Many Animals; Not Enough Homes

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 28, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Thank you for your thoughtful article on Austin's pet overpopulation problem [“What Happened to the No-Kill Millennium?,” News, Nov. 18]. The bottom line is that it's a simple numbers game – there are far too many animals and not enough homes. Whether breeders are conscientious or the horrible puppy-mill kind, they are still creating more animals in an already overpopulated world. I urge everyone who is looking for an animal companion to adopt from a shelter or rescue organization, and be part of the solution, not the problem.
Andrea Schwartz
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