Damn Those Selfish Republicans!

To the Editor,

Renée Downing ("I Can See Clearly Now," June 12) missed a few things in her rant. We also need more prisons, law enforcement officers and stiffer penalties for first-time offenders. We should not teach sex education, only abstinence.

Ironically, in that same issue, I read Jerry Levy's letter ("Connie Tuttle is a Name-Calling Twit"), with his "Constitution says" remark. This is an example of a backwards-thinking conservative. I can't stand people who say the "Constitution says" when they have never read our Constitution and probably do not know how to read. These are the people who say, "I am not a racist, but I don't like Mexicans."

Finally, let's not forget the ultimate conservative mantra: "personal responsibility." We should not have to pay road taxes, then we could have enough money to buy an SUV and potholes would not matter so much. The Republican Party should be called the IAIWOCAM party for "I'm An Individualist Who Only Cares About Myself" Party.

News for Jerry Levy: George W. LOST the popular vote. Read the Constitution and some federal law about education, and try learning that being a team player is part of being a member of the human race.

--Paul Cunningham

Renée Downing: Armed and Dangerous?

To the Editor,

I see Ms. Downing's been affected by the volume (and vitriol) of the mail responding to her columns ("I Can See Clearly Now," June 12).

Alas, her conversion seems somehow ... contrived.

The heart of the liberal still beats firmly in that breast. Yes, the caring and compassion of the true liberal still shines through like a beacon. There's no fooling us. She cares deeply about everyone and everything around her. I mean, just read her words:

· "I'm a female Republican so reading and listening aren't really necessary for me."

· "... those soft, balding, white men who, even in middle age, must struggle every day with crippling mother issues."

Yes, by G-d, she does care about each and every one of us! She wants us to get everything that's coming to us. Good and hard!

But on the off chance that some of that criticism did crack the liberal shell, I sincerely invite her to join this soft, balding white man (who has no mother issues I'm aware of, crippling or otherwise) at the Tucson Rifle Club, where I would be pleased to introduce her to some of the contents of my in-home arsenal so that she can free herself of the crippling fear that most liberals seem to have of firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens.

Any step forward is a positive one, I always say.

--Kevin Baker

PCAC Makes It Hard to Save Animals

To the Editor,

I just finished reading "Stray Stories" (June 12). I understand that costs are high and funding is limited; however, Pima County Animal Control has made it expensive and complicated for a caring owner to retrieve his or her lost animal.

Here is my story: I moved here from Sierra Vista in October 2002. I spend a tremendous amount of time at my job, but I come home every afternoon to check on my two dogs, a pit bull mix and a shepherd-pit mix. One day, I came home to find one of my dogs missing. I had to call several government agencies before I finally found out about the PCAC and its location. I was thrilled that they had a dog that fit my dog's description. But I was told they were closing and would not wait for me to arrive. Being the Friday of a holiday weekend, this meant that my dog would be held for four days.

Tuesday, I called again and was told I had until 4:30 p.m. to claim my dog--or she would be put down. When I asked why they would destroy such a wonderful animal, I was told she is a "dangerous breed." They told me the costs to get her out would be $290. This included a license fee, $35 per day for housing and a proof of spay fee. After begging and borrowing I was able to get the money. With outrageous fees such as these, I'm not surprised that 80 percent of the PCAC's animals are never claimed.

If the PCAC is truly interested in the welfare of these animals, they could start by making it simpler for owners to take them home. This would mean fewer animals to take care of and lower costs for the PCAC--and perhaps it would decrease the number of animals euthanized each year.

--Name Withheld by Request

Another PCAC Horror Story

To the Editor,

In response to "Cruel and Unusual" (June 12), it is wonderful that we have new laws to prosecute those who neglect, abandon or harm animals. But I also believe we need new laws that protect animal owners from the cruel and unusual treatment received the Pima County Animal Control.

My two dogs escaped from my fenced-in backyard and luckily were roped in by the animal control officer.

Unfortunately, when I went to release them I found out it would cost $100 each to bring them home (that excludes a boarding fee that they could have charged me).

Luckily, I had the money. But how many other Tucsonans could afford this? How many pet owners have been placed in similar positions? How many animals have been euthanized and dumped in a landfill because their owners can't pay what amounts to a ransom (with a daily boarding fee much like a bookie's compounding interest)?

I thought county services were defrayed by taxation.

One hundred dollars is an average family's weekly grocery bill. Some families might have to make the decision of rescuing their pet or eating.

Cruel and unusual, it is.

--Michael Doughty

But Meat Tastes Good ...

To the Editor,

I find it troubling that as a community we are outraged by needless, thoughtless cruelty to companion pets, yet staunchly support the systematic slaughter of billions of animals a year to the meat industry.

How can a person champion the rights and welfare of one animal while the flesh of another rots in their stomach?

--Anna Shirkey

Animals Are People, Too. Really.

To the Editor,

I commend the Tucson Weekly for carrying a feature story about nonhuman animals that goes beyond the conventional, cute "amazing animal rescues" and "funny pets" angle. Violence toward animals in our community and beyond is a serious problem that merits serious media coverage. That said, I want to point out two misrepresentations in the article that are prevalent in our anthropocentric culture.

First, heinous acts against companion animals are but hyperbolic versions of the cruelty nonhuman animals experience on a regular basis. What we do to animals in the name of science (torturing and killing millions yearly in research laboratories), food (incarcerating and killing farm animals for our gluttony) and entertainment (displaying animals in zoos, racing greyhounds for gambling, etc.) is also cruelty. It is, in fact, culturally condoned, institutionalized cruelty.

Even animal welfare organizations such as the Humane Society of Southern Arizona participate in cruelty by allowing the public to perceive animals as disposable things. What kind of message does the public get when shelters have well-staffed "receiving" departments with "open-door" policies and total euthanasia rates of more than 50 percent of animals taken in? A better-researched article on animal cruelty might have pointed out that nearly 10,000 animals are "nicely" killed at the Humane Society every year due to people's failures to spay neuter, train or otherwise take responsibility for their own "pets."

Secondly, the emphasis on the representation of cruelty crimes as "precursor" crimes--crimes that "escalate up the food chain"--I can't believe the editor missed that speciesist phrase!--implies that cruelty to animals is not relevant in itself. Marsh Myers is quoted as saying animal cruelty crimes are difficult to prosecute because the victims can't testify. But the real reason these cases are difficult is that animals lack legal personhood. Whether cruelty is considered a misdemeanor or a felony will make little difference for the fate of animals as long as animals' legal status is that of "property" rather than "persons." Notice that Det. Mike Duffy believes the Animal Cruelty Taskforce's national recognition and accolades are due to its handling cruelty cases as precursor crimes--in other words, it's the task force's human-related focus that has gotten attention. Should we be surprised, then, that the award given to the ACT was co-sponsored by Friskies, a company owned by Nestlé, which also owns an interest in L'Oreal, infamous for its use of the cruel Draize test (in which cosmetics are tested on rabbits' eyes)?

I think it's a good thing that animal cruelty is receiving media coverage. But I would expect Tucson Weekly's writers to take the extra step to make the bigger-picture connections.

--Mara Galvez

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