TO THE EDITOR:

Thomas Mitchell did an excellent job of describing the legal foundation of the Western public lands issue. Those legal arguments are commonly stressed by those who are pro-state ownership. What I rarely see is a discussion of the economic consequences the shift in ownership might cause.  Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages significant state-owned forest lands. Recently a news item of their homepage was the DNR Commissioner was pleading for the state assembly “to fully fund wildfire, landslide mapping, timber -harvest monitoring requests.” Be careful what you wish for, you might get your wish, and all the baggage that goes with it.

Thomas J. Straka

Pendleton, South Carolina

TO THE EDITOR:

The Zoo has been trying for the past two years to get the city to enforce an “existing state law” that requires all animals adopted from the pound, to be spayed/neutered/shots and show proof by a Vet within a certain time frame.  I have written letters, given copies of the law to them. I have offered my help because this is what the Zoo has always been about and has been successful at it for years and I knew we could be of help, but no, they will not comply with the law.  (Funny, Marty Westland just got done chastising the Editor of our paper about not consulting first with people in the know before spewing a bunch of facts and giving opinions, etc.). You all have done the same thing Marty is accusing him of in not consulting the very organization that has been doing this job for years. None of you have any experience in this area.  Apparently you are not going to tell the city council what to do has been my experience.  After two years of trying to get the city to comply they instead encouraged their minions go on Facebook and work on getting these animals out of the pound in any way they could.  Sounds good, right? No!  All these animals left without being fixed and no paper trail as to where they went. Just to show numbers for the city and themselves, I believe. It is easy to post pictures of these animals in the paper and on Facebook and give them to whomever, but that is not birth control.  It gave me nightmares where they ended up.  Not to mention the puppies and kittens being born because they didn’t follow the law. They most likely will end up at the pound to ultimately be destroyed. Now the city has this “new ordinance” but they can’t comply with the state law?  I wrote a recent letter to the mayor and she did not answer.  I called her for feedback. As the mayor put it before she hung up on me the first time “we tried that (the law) and it didn’t work” so I called right back to see if perhaps we just got disconnected and nope, she had hung up on me.  Apparently I asked too many questions on the second call back; she hung up on me again.  The new plan now is to have all animals’ spayed/neutered/shots before the animal leaves the pound and of course this would be wonderful and I pray for its success.  But having done this very thing for a lot of years I can tell you it takes an army and we are dealing with The City here, whose bottom line is the bottom line. If it ends up costing the City anything, things will change again, but if they follow the existing law and people adopting the animal know that it is their responsibility to get the animal spayed/neutered/shots within a certain time frame and show valid proof from The Vets, or the animal will be returned and if the animal is “lost” in the interim, they will face a fine. In my opinion, as of today, last week, two years ago, The City is in violation of the law!  The state legislators who wrote this law are very smart because they know if you don’t force people (and that includes the local government too) to take responsibility, they won’t.  And as always, The Zoo has offered anyone that adopts from the pound a very low cost spay/neuter program.  Being in compliance will ensure that the word gets out that the city is doing their job and the new plan of the city’s can still go forth simultaneously, but if it cannot sustain itself, then the state law will already be in effect.  It is up to all of us to provide care for these animals even if they are ours or not.  What this county needs is a safe place for animals to go, where they are not threatened with death, until they can get a good home. The Zoo had come close.  The City has made no attempt to see if this new plan will work, they haven’t even tried it yet.  To go from no enforcement to keeping these animals at the pound until they can get a Vet appointment, feeding them, any medical needs that must be addressed, the funding may run out and when a new council is voted in, they very well may have a different plan and it all changes again leaving who? THE ANIMALS in danger again as always. They can’t change the state law very easily, but a local city ordinance is a different story.  I attempted to tell this and ask questions to the council last Thursday, but it was a very hostile environment. The mayor was sitting there with her arms crossed so tight,  it didn’t take but a minute to shut me down, well at least she couldn’t hang up on me. So I will tell you City Council and The County Commission that you finally need to enforce this law, you can shut me down by hanging up on me, you can shut me down by not returning my phone calls, but you will not shut me up.

Brenda Alexander,

The Zoo, Inc.