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You printed some very important information about the plight of small domestic animals in “Rubbing Out Nine Lives” (2/13). Unfortunately, the accusatory tone and sensational twist that you and the author gave the story obscure the information. In addition, the reporter omitted many germane facts and included several half-truths. Too bad and for shameyou missed a great opportunity to educate the public and improve the lot of many little animals.
Particularly disturbing is your implication that all shelter volunteers are critical of the manager, Pam Chapman. Not so. I have been volunteering with WHS for seven years and spend about 10 or 12 hours a week in the shelter helping with the cat adoption program, which makes many terrific placements. I think that Chapman works her butt off for the animalsshe sees that cats and dogs are clean and well tended, is helpful to responsible owners who have many sad stories about why their animals are in the shelter (fires and illnesses, for instance), and believes firmly that as many animals as possible should be returned or adopted to responsible homes. It is extremely unfair for you and your reporter to intimate that Chapman is responsible for a societal problem (irresponsible humans plus lack of enough resources equal many animals that have no homes to go to). Use of the term “twitchy needle finger” is yellow journalism at its best (worst?), and the repulsive cartoon of the cat in the electric chair belies the fact that euthanasia is performed gently. Everyone at the shelter, including Chapman, loses a little piece of himself whenever a little animal is killed by injection. Everyone deplores euthanasia, but often there is no alternative.
Oh well, I suppose many of us would rather scapegoat a person than get real. And, of course, it is much easier for a reporter to find a target than to present a well-researched, balanced article. If any finger of blame is pointed, it ought be directed at all of humankind, which has domesticated small animals and then neglected their care. Where are the tax dollars and voluntary donations that would allow WHS to meet the needs of our city’s neglected/abused/ abandoned/unwanted animals?