Seeking No Shelters
Thanks for writing the story about AB 1634 [“Dog Busters,” July 6–12]. My personal experience at the very-high-kill shelter of South Los Angeles has made it clear to me that we live in extreme times where there is a responsibility to care for all living creatures, and that’s simply not happening. There is no need to breed one more dog, cat or bird while the shelters burst at the seams with unwanted, neglected and abused animals. I urge anyone who is against this law to spend a day at any local shelter that euthanizes animals. It’s painful to see the sadness and hopelessness in a loving pet’s eyes and know there is nothing more you can do but pass this very important law. This law still allows top-notch breeders to keep their purebred breeding. In closing, I hope one day all the high-kill shelters will be gone. Just like the orphanages we once had in this country. Gone.
I was very disturbed by Judith Lewis’ article on the California Healthy Pets Act (AB 1634). This bill’s goal is not to stop breeding. Any legitimate breeder has to pay a $125 permit to continue to breed. Not to mention these “hobby breeders” will have to pay taxes like the rest of us if they breed more than two litters a year. Why didn’t Judith go into detail about the exemptions, including police dogs and other working dogs? This bill is supported by many humane societies and law-enforcement agencies — not to mention workers in our city shelters, who know firsthand what goes on there. The state needs this bill to pass to get control of the crisis.
Judith Lewis’s “Dog Busters” points out the many pitfalls of AB 1634. Lloyd Levine has drafted a poor bill, even though intentions may have been good. The dogs you’ll find in shelters are generally not puppies — they’re easily adopted out — but adolescent dogs abandoned by humans who never should have acquired them in the first place. Levine’s bill puts into place an unwieldy and uncertain set of regulations that will punish the decent and caring owner or breeder and allow those who abuse animals to avoid compliance. As one who has rescued, rehomed and adopted unwanted cats and dogs, I can tell you that the issue is not unwanted puppies — government shelters rarely take in pups, and rescue organizations command a lot of money for them — but used, abused and abandoned older animals that will still come into the shelters and continue to be unadoptable. I would suggest we look at the prospect of requiring prospective dog owners to post a bond prior to purchase or acquisition of a puppy. Upon completion of a training course the bond would be refunded, minus the license fee. In addition, in consultation with breed organizations, a reasonable limit should be placed on the number of times a female should be bred, to protect the welfare of the animal as well as the state’s interests.
Re: “Dog Busters” by Judith Lewis: Ms. Lewis can barely disguise her disgust with the Healthy Pets Act and its author, Judy Mancuso — as evidenced by her identification of Ms. Mancuso as a vegan and member of PETA. As far as I am aware, all those names of individuals and organizations that have come out in support of the bill are not all similarly affiliated, and so I wonder what her purpose is in bringing it up. Why not also mention Ms. Mancuso’s political party (to prove she’s a softie on social issues), her earth sign (to prove she’s easily manipulated), her ZIP code (to prove she’s got more pressing problems to deal with)? How about this for a better article? Interview other supporters of this bill, particularly the hard-working people who staff animal shelters or the self-sacrificing people who donate their time and money to rescue dogs and cats. Nearly half a million dogs and cats without homes destroyed every year is tragic and unacceptable. Education programs, low-cost spay-and-neuter clinics, free spay-and-neuter programs — all are in place around the state. But they are not enough. Mandatory spay and neuter is long overdue, and those who want to continue to breed because they love animals will be able to continue to do so. They will just need to get a permit. For the love of these animals, I hope they will consider that the Healthy Pets Act provides a sane step in the right direction: reducing overpopulation and promoting responsible pet ownership.
If altering males (pets) is so desirable, why not castrate all male office seekers (including Mr. Levine)? Millions of dollars of public money have been squandered on this barbaric practice, which has more to do with human psychological needs than pet population control. Levine and his ilk must have been asleep in sex-education class. Only females have puppies and kittens. Every penny should be spent on locating and spaying female animals. Owners should be free to decide if they want a mutilated male animal with grave personality changes and abnormal metabolism, or a healthy, well-trained, intact male who is kept indoors, on leash, or in a proper enclosure. Licensing requirements for all dogs should include six sessions with animal regulators (no contractors) so that problem owners and animals can be spotted before they cause damage, and well-meaning owners can be educated in proper animal care and training. Over a half century, I’ve had nine healthy, happy male cats. Only Pounce de Leon ever fathered a litter of kittens (a planned pregnancy), which were spoken for before they were born. The others were so socialized to human behavioral cues, they weren’t interested in other cats. By the way, there are numerous inexpensive ways to sterilize (rather than alter) that do not have harmful effects. Vets would still have plenty of lucrative neutering business, because our culture finds reproductive behavior “scary.”
Maggie St. Clair
Letter of the Week
As a reader of L.A. Weekly and a member or ally of the LGBT community I am writing to say that I am appalled at the lack of coverage of this year’s Los Angeles gay-pride events (including Christopher Street West festival and parade, two Dyke Marches and Trans-Unity Pride). The only mention of gay pride in the corresponding L.A. Weekly was surrounding the headlining act, Joan Jett, whose picture graced two of your pages. Within these two write-ups on Joan Jett, there was one reference to the CSW Web site and a single sentence about gay pride (a silly line about assless chaps). San Francisco’s Guardian, Portland’s Mercury and N.Y.’s Village Voice had gay pride on their covers and a breakdown of the weekend’s events on several pages inside the publication. The L.A. Weekly’s lack of acknowledgment for such a huge community event is absolutely astounding. Your failure to acknowledge our struggles and celebrations as Angelenos and members of the LGBT community is completely unacceptable. It is my sincere hope that in the years to come the L.A. Weekly will rethink its priorities and alliances.
We heard from more than a dozen readers expressing these sentiments almost verbatim. —Editor
As a Canadian, loather of rats, and lover of funny, short nonfiction, allow me to (1) deliver a gallon of (metaphorical) grade-A Quebec maple syrup to Gustavo Arellano for being able to distinguish between friendly Hosers and militaristic, narcissistic, racist Yankees [Ask a Mexican, June 22–28], and (2) offer some excellent (similarly metaphorical) Ontario sharp Cheddar, a bottle of ice wine and the Stephen Leacock Award to Shari Albert for her thigh-slapping piece on the roof rat that drove her to a drunken bed and the ditching of her principle regarding not killing other beings [“Rats, I Say!” June 22–28]. You guys know how to make a Canuck feel proud and LOL at the same time. Good writers you got there, even if they are .?.?. oh no! .?.?. Americans.
The third-to-last paragraph in Christine Buckley’s essay “From Hunter to Hunted” [June 29–July 5] is as follows: “I tell Cohen that maybe he should take a break, get away somewhere low-key, like Thailand, or, okay, not Thailand, how about Canada? There aren’t that many people enslaved in Canada, are there?”
Even though the line was meant to be slightly humorous, I think it would be beneficial to examine why Canada has fewer sex slaves than other places such as the U.S. It’s not that people are nicer in Canada. There are plenty of greedy jerks up there who would be willing to exploit anyone for profit. I believe it comes down to the law. In Canada, prostitution is not illegal — solicitation is. This may seem like a minor detail, but it does more to protect sex workers. Since prostitution is a bigger risk in California, it’s more underground and criminals get involved, making the business a lot less safe. Since it’s already dangerous, fewer people are interested in the work and it’s less of a step to use underage workers or even illegal aliens. In Canada, escort agencies are very careful about whom they hire in terms of right to work and age. It’s such a large, legitimate industry that the demand for illegals is lower. I bet that Nevada has fewer sex slaves than California for the same reason.
The L.A. Weekly has an immediate opening for a full-time staff writer. We’re looking for an experienced journalist who understands the difference between magazine-style reporting and the hurried fact finding of daily papers. Candidates should have a solid background in news. If your copy is as much a pleasure to read as it is well researched, we want to hear from you. We offer competitive salaries and benefits. Send your best clips, a résumé and a cover letter to:
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