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Daring to Care
On behalf of the legions of hard-working people, including literally thousands of volunteers who donate their time and energy to provide food assistance to the hungry in our community, we are appalled at the condescending tone of the Aug. 22 article (“Eating Ourselves to Death”) by Phillip M. Bailey.
To equate receiving emergency food assistance with “stealing,” as Bailey did, is the ultimate in elitism and class warfare. His comments demean and diminish both those who receive food assistance and those who provide it.
In 2006, the Dare to Care Food Bank, through its network of more than 350 local social service agencies, supplied nearly 10 million pounds of food (including 2 million pounds of fresh food, fruits and vegetables) to seniors, children and families at NO cost to the recipients.
We encourage Mr. Bailey to pay a visit to the front lines of the war on hunger — the food pantries, shelters, kitchens and “Kids’ Cafes” that provide healthy and nutritious food to thousands of our neighbors every day.
Executive Director Linda Miller and staff
of Dare to Care Food Bank, Louisville
Phillip Bailey responds:
I’m puzzled and saddened at this severe knee-jerk misreading of the story (“Eating Ourselves to Death”) by the Louisville Dare to Care Food Bank. From what I hear, they do great work in our community. The point their spokesperson highlighted, however, is flatly wrong. I never equated food aid with stealing. Rather, the piece contrasted the three factors that the USDA says conflict with socially acceptable ways of acquiring food (relying on emergency supplies, scavenging and stealing). Again, never did I imply that food aid is equivalent to stealing. The Louisville Dare to Care Food Bank owes the Louisville community and LEO readers an apology for circulating such a response.
Dog Law: Useless
Just wanted to give you a big thanks for being the ONLY print media to tell the truth about the new dog law (Aug. 15, LEO). Since its passage, it’s done nothing to curb free-roaming dangerous dogs. However, there are untold horror stories from owners who’ve had their pets confiscated for minor infringements and paid hundreds of dollars to get Fluffy back from the dog cops; not to mention the fate of animals whose owners couldn’t meet the ransom demands of Metro Animal Services.
Sadly, while MAS is killing people’s pets, the owners of dangerous dogs are, for the most part, getting off with a slap on the wrist. The Metro Council made a big stink over Hulon Barbour in order to pass this legislation, but what happened to the man who owned the dogs that killed him? Is it a less “negligent” homicide to kill someone with your dog versus your car? Wouldn’t it have been more effective to make the owners of such dogs responsible for the actions of their animals instead of starting a witch hunt against all pet owners?
While MAS shakes down average citizens, dog-fighting rings are ignored, and it takes weeks to get a stray off the roof of a crack house. Oh, and a guy whose dog was previously impounded (and neutered) for being dangerous mauls a child. The new law obviously made a huge impression on him.
I applaud Kelly Downard and his committee for trying to make some sense out of an ineffective ordinance that’s been a complete failure at protecting the citizens of this community.
Barbara Haines, Louisville
Bark Is Worse Than Bite
In response to your article on the dog ordinance, I also read the entire Animal Ordinance and am bewildered by your assertion that the ordinance is an “egregious insult to the intelligence of the average person.” I had quite the opposite response to the text.
Nearly 99 percent of all comments about the ordinance, including yours, deal with unaltered or dangerous dog provisions. These provisions are a very small portion of the ordinance. The majority of the text requires the humane treatment of animals and standards for their care and gives Animal Services the ability to enforce these requirements.
The provisions on the humane treatment of animals require an owner to provide necessities to animals, humanely restrain them and refrain from abandoning them, beating them, victimizing them and entering them in fighting competitions. The provisions for standards for care for animals in the ordinance require safe and sanitary living conditions for animals, including in all shelters, kennels, pet shops, animal welfare organizations, riding stables and theatrical exhibitions. Thank you, Metro Council and Mayor Abramson.
As to the dangerous dog provisions, I think what most critics of the ordinance fail to grasp is that owning dogs is a huge responsibility. While most owners do take on this responsibility, some owners are either unaware of this responsibility or knowingly fail to act accordingly to the detriment of the dog and the public. I see the ordinance as taking concrete steps toward informing people of, and requiring people to take on, that responsibility.
I agree there is not enough data on dogs, but no vet in town will disagree with one conclusion: There are dog breeds that are more prone to aggressive behavior and attacking. More than half of all dog-bite-related fatalities are committed by pit bulls and rottweilers or their mixes. These are wonderful dogs, but they require extra care, including socialization and obedience training at a very young age.
As to your unaltered dogs quandary, keep in mind there are several other reasons for these ordinance provisions other than a link to aggressiveness. Spaying and neutering increases lifespan and health of the dog and helps prevent roaming. An ordinance that condones spaying and neutering also prevents unwanted and unhealthy breeding, overpopulation and overburdening of shelters with stray animals.
Rather than referring to the ordinance with antagonism, let’s thank Metro government and Animal Services for what they have already done and work with them to make changes as necessary.
Cary Peter, Louisville