Cruel and callous
Strange to think that in progressive and enlightened Seattle, there still exist cruel and callous individuals who hunt for sport, eat factory-farmed beef and pork, wear fur, attend animal-based circuses, frequent rodeos, and shoot cougars out of trees. That's why reading the gallingly insensitive "The Beast in Your Backyard" [7/27] was less a shock than a renewed call to action for animal rights activists, who despite the occasional setback are still marching proudly on the right side of history. The fact that you ran a trembling solicitation for letters from non-activists shows that you expected the rightful outrage that would ensue from such an article. You obviously were playing to the tyrannical but powerful minority in our society who still think it's acceptable to kill innocent creatures whose only crime is to be caught under the steamroller of so-called human progress. Your "field guide" to presumed quarry was especially offensive.
Remember, it doesn't matter what the species is: They were here first and deserve to be protected—which means it's time to quit encroaching on their habitat. Oh, and as for wildlife killer Wayne Switzer's observation about possums: I'd say hunters and trappers in general, captured symbolically by the gun-toting, blood-lusting, cigarette-smoking cretin on your cover, are far more disgusting than a small nocturnal marsupial with poor eyesight and an unfortunate propensity toward ending up under car wheels.
It's heartening to know that I-713, the anti-trapping initiative that recently qualified for the November ballot, will be embraced at the polls by compassionate people throughout the state. If Switzer has any doubts about the barbarism of the leg-hold traps that measure is targeting, he should place one of his appendages in one and see how it feels.
DAVID G. BOWMAN
No joke, dammit
Brian Miller and Desmond Fleefer did a feature story on the urban wildlife problem ["The Beast in Your Backyard," 7/27] and only included kitty-cats as a JOKE? Come ON! Do you guys live in a vacuum?
Feral cats are a TREMENDOUS problem in Seattle. More than 100 wild cats are neutered EVERY MONTH (since 1997) by the sainted volunteers at the Feral Cat Spay/ Neuter Project (www.spaycat.org), and anyone remotely involved with cat rescue knows they're only getting the tip of the iceberg. Feral cat colonies, managed (spayed, fed, vaccinated, etc.) and unmanaged, exist in the CD, Rainier Valley, Georgetown, South Park, Northgate, West Seattle, Ballard—EVERYWHERE. Wake up and look around.
Feral populations start with cats who have been dumped or abandoned. They become wild animals after a few months on the street—if they survive—and soon produce kittens who have never known a human touch. (Yeah, they're cute, and no, you can't cuddle them.) They're the sad product of "owners" too ignorant to get their pets spayed or too egotistical to get them neutered, and those of us who just adore kittens but find grown-up cats "inconvenient." Any veterinarian will tell you that domestic cats can't survive on their own. It's very sad—they die of exposure, or malnourishment, or commonly benign ailments: fleas can kill a feral kitten. And if the ferals aren't dying of starvation and neglect, they're multiplying—exponentially.
An unspayed female cat can have 20 kittens in a year. Five years ago—before the FCSNP, Alley Cat Allies, etc.—the only alternative was to let them die off, or, indeed, kill them. A few jerks still kill them today, cruelly, on the sly, right here in Seattle. Some get trapped and go to Animal Control—who mean well, but they have a horrible job, snuffing out thousands of unwanted pets each year. I can only endorse trap/neuter/release. I encountered the feral problem after moving to the Central District in 1998. Since then I have spayed and/or neutered over 25 feral cats, had three euthanized (all fatally ill), and nursed, tamed, and adopted out more than 15—and I'm just a lightweight.
Don't even joke about dumping "Fluffy" in a park. I know you're trying to be clever and callous ("cool"), but please—do a little freaking homework.
You omitted the most obnoxious and ubiquitous pest of all: the boyfriend's dog ["The Beast in Your Backyard," 7/27]. I'll bet the author owns one!
Your article on urban critters ["The Beast in Your Backyard," 7/27] was a mixed bag of humor, misinformation, and bad advice.
I-713 in no way prohibits dealing with nuisance animals in Seattle. It prohibits only body-gripping traps which torture animals. (In fact, such traps are already outlawed in seattle.) As for shooting animals with pellet/BB guns, it is illegal to discharge any firearm in the city, including these.
As for driving your girlfriend's hated cat to Oregon and abandoning it, dumping pets is illegal in both states.
DSHS and savings
Social Security Facilitators at DSHS have been cut by half in a model program that SAVES the State and taxpayers money every day [see "Whose welfare?" 7/27]! Besides providing a better life for truly deserving and disabled citizens by assisting them through the tricky process of obtaining federal benefits, this program is saving the State of Washington thousands of dollars everyday in money grants and medical expenditures that would be given out in State Funds.
In addition to these savings, the State is recouping millions every year. In King County alone for April, May, and June of 2000 the SSI Facilitation program took in over $1 million dollars in retroactive payments. Taxpayers should demand that these cuts be restored at once.
DSHS and humanity
Thanks to Rick Anderson for acknowledging the imminent cuts to the Belltown DSHS office budget ["Whose welfare?" 7/27]. I have been an advocate for homeless folks locally for over 12 years as an RN working in shelters. It has been clear that the human, and I mean Human, services rendered out of the Belltown office have been a very essential part of the success so many of our less fortunate clients. Success means getting OUT of homelessness.
Belltown workers have clearly been part of that success for so many—such as the program to expedite folks quickly off of state assistance to federal benefits—a significant savings for Washington! Cutting that program in half does not mean any savings—and my understanding as regards the proposed 23 percent workforce cut is to save money. Somebody in the budget office needs to get out a calculator and look at the real fiscal picture, as well as the human impact on peoples' lives. We need to save the safety net and not allow people to fall through the cracks again, with compassion as the motive, not dollars.
WAYNE QUINN, R.N.
Thanks for discussing my campaign, Joe Szwaja for Congress, in the "It's not easy being Green" article (7/26); I appreciated the mention of my strong stance on globalization issues which affect all working families and the UN Human Rights Award I recently received for promoting democratic governments.
However, I must object to Manny Frishburg's statement that I did not offer a lot of specific proposals. In our interview I talked a great deal about: a law to curtail campaign corruption by removing corporate and big private money from our supposedly public election system; investing in ecologically sound alternatives around the country such as the monorail, solar energy, and various types of environmental conservation; ending repressive labor laws that deform our democracy by making it difficult for US workers to voluntarily organize and join unions; and educating consumers about worker-friendly and ecologically sounder alternatives to the WTO type of corporate controlled trade.
My campaign is going strong. Whether or not I obtain the 35 percent the author predicts, a vote for Joe Szwaja is a vote for someone who will actively work for a cleaner environment, a better life for working families and a global economy based on the principles of social and economic justice.
For more specifics, readers should check our Web site at www.joeforcongress.org.
So Jimmy, lemme see if I've got this right. You don't like Rem Koolhaas [4th and James, 7/20] because: 1. he looks funny; 2. he talks funny; 3. he's got too many ideas; 4. and they're too damn complex to follow during the commercial breaks in that slasher movie; 5. a buddy of yours couldn't find anything bad about him on the Internet; 6. he makes too much money; 7. his wife doesn't mind if he screws around; 8. he can screw around.
Did I miss anything?
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