November 7, 2013 at 7:36 PM
Not all pit bulls are suitable as pets
As a person with a 13-year career as a letter carrier and a 23-year career as a UPS driver, I unfortunately am equipped to speak from experience about how it feels to be targeted by literally hundreds of dogs that overwhelming desired to injure me [“Spanaway woman dies week after attack by two pit bulls, NWThursday, Nov. 7].
Mindless aggression was a thing I had to contend with. But more unpleasant than this situation was the subtle, but even more maddening, attitudes of the owners.
I just read the article that reported the death of Spanaway resident Nga Woodhead due to an unprovoked attack perpetrated by two pit bulls that lived near her. She made the mistake of going for a walk and was subsequently ambushed from behind. Your piece tells us that this poor woman was left lying helpless on the ground, covered with bruises and with one arm shredded. She passed away due to her injuries a week later while still in a Tacoma hospital.
What struck me in particular, in addition to the overwhelming tragedy, was the response of the owner of these animals: “They’re really nice dogs.” If nice dogs cause the deaths of innocent passers-by whenever it suits them, then how would other dogs behave that are a little less nice? I will never understand what it is that prevents a dog owner from expressing a simple truth and stepping out from behind endless denial. One person’s life has ended, and her husband’s life has been destroyed. That is reality.
Tom Likai, Shoreline
September 30, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Ringling Bros. animals are thriving
In their recent letter to the editor, Nancy and David Spilberg have their “facts” about Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey animal care all wrong. [“Northwest Voices: Here comes the circus,” seattletimes.com, Sept. 23.]
The claims they make are a direct affront to the men and women with Ringling Bros. who care for our animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it’s time we set the record straight.
Ringling Bros. has more than 143 years of experience caring for elephants, tigers and other exotic animals. We are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Spilbergs seem to echo claims made by other animal-rights activists, by demonizing approved elephant-husbandry tools that are humanely used by highly trained and experienced professionals.
All of the routines audiences see at Ringling Bros. are based on the animals’ natural behaviors (yes, elephants lie down, sit up and stand on their heads, I’ve seen it firsthand), and all of our animals are trained using only positive reinforcement, repetition and reward.
Everyone with Ringling Bros. hopes Greater Seattle-area families will come and see for themselves what we know to be true: that our animals are healthy and thriving in our care.
Stephen Payne, vice president of corporate communications, Feld Entertainment, Vienna, Va.
September 23, 2013 at 11:34 AM
Don’t promote animal cruelty
Here we go again. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey circus is coming to ShoWare Arena in Kent and the Comcast Arena at Everett in October.
Has no one read about the abuse that goes on in the circus toward wild animals, forcing them to perform?
This abuse is a widely-known fact and is publicized over and over again, and yet we, as a community, are allowing the circus to come to town. Come on, Washington!
Elephants are often ripped away from their mothers at a very young age and abused to force them into a frightened compliance. They are poked and prodded with bull hooks. The other wild animals are subjected to equally abusive means to force them to perform.
Is watching them “perform” really what we want to see, and want our children to see, knowing what we know?
Seattle is such a progressive community in so many other areas. Why is this an area in which Seattle is way behind other communities who stand for animal rights?
Let’s do something. Do not promote the circus coming to town. Not to Everett. Not to Kent. Not to anywhere in this state.
Set an example. Ban the circus. Promote circuses that do not use wild animals; for example, Cirque de Soleil.
Promote saving the wild animals used in circuses, and sending them to sanctuaries where they deserve to live out their lives. Be proactive, and set an example across the country and the world.
Nancy & David Spilberg, Bellevue
September 6, 2013 at 6:33 PM
Panel is trivializing damage
The report recently issued by the Woodland Park Zoo elephant task force’s “expert panel” was predictably disappointing. [“Experts suggest changes for zoo’s elephants,” NW Thursday, Aug. 29.]
By opting to use innocuous terms such as “reduced joint mobility” and “occasional foot cracks,” instead of the more accurate “captivity-related arthritis” and “chronic foot infections” (both causes of premature death in zoo elephants), the panel has obviously chosen to trivialize and whitewash the shocking physical deterioration of the zoo’s three surviving elephants.
The Seattle City Council made a terrible mistake by allowing the zoo to control this task force. The result is a rubber-stamp committee of mostly current and former zoo board members and industry insiders, blindly loyal to the zoo and utterly disinterested in examining the profound damage that decades of inhumane confinement have had on the zoo’s elephants.
The Seattle City Council should remedy its mistake by forming a truly independent and objective task force.
Nancy Farnam, Edmonds
August 28, 2013 at 4:26 PM
Be a good neighbor
We live in a major metropolitan area, and I am always puzzled by folks who want to pretend they live on a farm. [“Just your average household pet?” page one, Aug. 26.]
It’s one thing to grow a few vegetables, although the proliferation of abandoned parking strip planters seems to denote the passing of that fad.
However, goats, chickens, and pigs? You cannot have your cake, and eat it too.
While my heart goes out to the young woman who found comfort after her grandfather’s death by keeping goats, perhaps a more appropriate pet could have been selected or the money put toward grief counseling.
In addition, her own mother’s suffering from allergic reactions to the goats doesn’t concern her, apparently. This self-centeredness seems to be playing out in the family’s interaction with their neighbors.
When we live very close to one another, we have to realize that being a good neighbor is part of the responsibility of living in the city.
Toni Cross, Seattle
May 2, 2013 at 8:33 PM
Smart, sensitive alternative needed to prevent horse overpopulation
What we need now are some common sense and compassionate policies in order to control wild horse populations ["N.M. horse slaughter plant to open soon," seattletimes.com, April 30]. Experts in the field agree that the practice of slaughtering horses is not the appropriate answer for pet overpopulation.
For example, the University of Toledo reports a wild horse birth-control measure that is extremely effective. Further, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated that the department “needs to be more creative” regarding the horse overpopulation problem.
Katherine Pfeifle, Lynnwood
May 1, 2013 at 11:39 AM
Wolves beneficial to ecosystems
Delisting gray wolves would be a giant step backward and undo the progress we have made since 1995 [“Fed plan would end gray wolf protection,” NWSaturday, April 27].The unfounded fear and hatred of wolves by hunters and ranchers is fueled by inaccuracies and misconceptions. Statistics compiled by Cornell University for the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that more livestock deaths are from non-predator-related causes than predators, and those predators are more likely to be coyotes, cougars, bobcats, or dogs than wolves.
Scientific evidence shows ecosystems improve with wolves in the picture. Not only are riverbanks, trees and vegetation impacted in a positive manner, but an elk who provided food to a wolf pack also feeds bears, coyotes, ravens and magpies, to name a few, who benefit from wolves on the landscape.
Wolves have restored the balance of nature. Let’s keep it that way.
Joan Amero, Portland, Ore.
April 11, 2013 at 4:48 PM
Elephants not harmed mentally or physically
Unfortunately, David Hancocks expresses his concern for elephants in zoos by willfully misrepresenting conditions at Woodland Park Zoo [“Elephants should be the priority at Woodland Park Zoo,” Opinion, April 9].He quoted “daily foot care” as if that were all the care the elephants receive. Their daily care includes baths, inspections, training, enrichment objects, varied feeding opportunities, interactions with each other and keepers, as well as time spent indoors or outdoors. The elephants receive quality care and are not harmed physically nor mentally.
Despite increasing incidents of wild elephants killed for their ivory, Hancocks expresses no concern for them. After all. the zoo’s elephants serve admirably as ambassadors for their wild kin.
Judy Mukai, Seattle
March 26, 2013 at 3:03 PM
Did they check with a higher authority?
I read that New York plans to feed rats birth control [“Birth control next up for New York rats,” News, March 12].
I have two questions: Did city officials check before forcing them into family planning? Will the Catholic Church allow this expenditure of taxpayer dollars on contraception?
–Susan Dier, Edmonds
March 23, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Alternatives to animal cruelty
In response to the Seattle Times article regarding China buying mink raised in the United States for luxury wear [“Chinese love for mink warms U.S. ranchers,” Business, March 22]:
It is 2013. We have electricity. Science has moved us forward and companies have created sub-zero[-ready] clothing and gear that does not use animal hides. It is unnecessary, especially if you live in the United States.
We have alternatives to wearing animal skins, unlike our forebears 200 years ago. The practice of raising animals for their fur is a barbaric and unnecessary practice.
Visit a fur farm and you will never wear fur again. In fact, you will not advocate the raising of animal pelts for “export.” It is one thing if it is your only source of warm clothing, such as worn by the Inuit, but the Chinese wear these tortured animals for “luxury” fashion. Let’s not be their source of animal cruelty.
–Dolores Rogers, Seattle
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