Thursday, July 20, 2006
Letters to the Editor
Stray dog discussion
I am a Wisconsinite who has been visiting Holly Springs quite a bit lately, and I would like to add to the stray dog discussion:
In my first visit to your lovely town in April, as I drove in from my cabin at Wall Doxey to town to get supplies, I came upon a dog lying injured on Hwy 7, just outside of town. Traffic slowed and went around.
A small puppy scurried on the shoulder, clearly distressed, as the dog tried to drag itself from the road. I stopped, and picked up the dog - which was obviously mortally wounded - and took it up to the nearest house, screaming for help. I soon discovered that the area around the nearest house had at least 10 - 15 pit mix type dogs of various ages, running everywhere. Meanwhile, the poor dog died in my arms. I soon discovered Holly Springs and the surrounding area had no emergency animal hospital, no shelter, no real stray animal control at all. I was not threatened by the dogs, but I was deeply saddened that this must be a routine fate for many of these animals. As you drive through the back roads in the area, you see many dogs that do not appear to be under anyone’s direct control, and wonder what their fate might be.
I’m not an animal rights activist, and I really do love Holly Springs, the people, the area. We are considering retiring there. But I can tell you that day, I wanted to go home and forget I had ever been there.
Holly Springs has a lot going for it, and tourism - and potential retirees, commuters, etc. - will have a lot to do with the area’s economic success. And this issue - stray dogs - can most definitely have a negative impact. You don’t have to be a dog lover - although I am - to see how this is a larger issue than dog safety or people safety, although those are legitimate concerns as well.
I encourage your community to entertain a discussion about a more comprehensive approach to what appears to be a growing problem. You do not want the situation that exists on many Native American reservations here in Wisconsin and in the West, where dogs are overrunning everything else, destroying the natural environment and scaring away tourists and their money.
Stray dog discussion
My wife and I moved to this area a year ago and have been enjoying the experience of living in the country after many years of moving around the USA. We retired and relocated to this area to be near our children and three grandchildren. We built a pond and cleaned up some rough acreage in the Barton area and began to feel comfortable and secure.
The various articles and reader letters in your paper regarding animal control have been interesting as we also have had a very frustrating experience recently with a family pet. A stray hound dog arrived at our property -- likely dumped by someone as he had a collar but no tags. He was very friendly and great with our grandchildren. We did all the right things by adopting him, having him neutered, getting all his shots, licenses, etc. We made him comfortable and he immediately became a loyal and valued member of our family and our neighborhood.
Last Sunday, during church hours, some heartless person apparently stole ‘Red’ out of our front yard. He had never ventured from the cul de sac we live on so we feel there is no other reasonable explanation for him to disappear. Red was friendly to everyone and loved to ride in the car so it would have been easy for someone to take advantage of him.
Since Sunday we have made an exhaustive search for Red. We have placed posters throughout the Barton and Byhalia areas, we placed an ad in the newspaper, and we have called dozens of animal control contacts throughout multiple counties. We have driven hundreds of miles and spent countless hours looking for him.
The encouraging part of our experience is that virtually every person we have contacted has been wonderful in their effort to help and support us. They have been genuine in their responses and we have felt their sincere concern for finding Red. Businesses and community agencies have, without exception, allowed us to display our posters and pledged to be watchful for Red.
One of the discouraging parts of our experience has been the very confusing and unorganized animal control network. We have been passed from one agency to another across community and county boundaries. We have been referred to Humane Societies, dog catchers, dog trainers, police departments, fire departments, public works departments, etc. We do not blame any of them for the confusion as we feel they are doing the best they can. Virtually everyone we talked with commented on the lack of funding which contributed to their limited effectiveness.
The most discouraging part of this difficult situation has been the common response that “dog theft is very common in this part of the country.” This comment was made matter of factly by people in city halls, agencies, and businesses as if it has become a part of life in the area. People who steal dogs are frequently called “opportunists” who steal to later sell the dogs at flea markets, etc., as reported in this paper.
We do not blame the law enforcement agencies for this sad situation as we feel it would be impossible for them to catch the heartless individuals who commit these despicable acts that break the hearts of families. A friend of ours from another part of the country responded that, “It is just not right to steal someone’s dog!”
We know such callous people do not likely read newspapers and would not be sensitive to the hurt they cause. We can only hope that other people close to them who do have a proper sense of values would appeal to their sense of doing the right thing by returning the valuable property.
This experience has changed our feelings about this part of the country. We appreciate the kindness of the various people who have tried to help us in our search but we feel a sense of violation and will not again attempt to help a stray animal. We simply cannot go through the pain and heartache of the loss that could occur again and again.
Response to letter
After reading Marilyn Campbell’s letter last week, I had to agree with her totally, but not only neighbors don’t get along today, but families do not get along today. I can remember when brothers and sisters visited each other, but today everyone stays in their own little world. Some do not even speak to one another for years. It takes a crisis to bring us together today.
Let me say this is not true for all families, but for a considerable amount of African American families. It is so sad, because we were not brought up this way. Neighbors are the same; you can live next door to people and your house gets broken into, nobody sees anything, or pretends they didn’t see anything.
Neighbors used to watch out for each other, but now your neighbors don’t even speak. Again, everybody is doing their own thing and they have no time for anyone else. God is not pleased with this; just like he is not pleased with all the killing going on in these other countries where our young soldiers from America are dying and don’t know what they’re dying for. If something does not change between neighbors and families in the future, I don’t know what is going to become of us. If you have done something wrong, you need to apologize and leave it alone. Do the right thing!
Charles E. Johnson
Response to Letter
This letter is in response to Marilyn Campbell’s letter that I feel was concerning my parents.
First, I would like to say before you start passing judgments on other people’s motives in life, you need to look in the mirror. My parents are, and have raised us to be respectful, ethical citizens, and they continue to do so with their grandchildren. So please stop condemning them for the wrong actions of others.
As for the remark you made about my father’s WWJD tag, please remember the following: Jesus would not be unlawful and continuously provoke His neighbor to try to annoy and anger His neighbor. Jesus would follow the laws and rules of the land, even if it is a county ordinance. Jesus would tell you that when you cause damage to your neighbor’s property, to replace the value of what was broken. He would not make idle threats and spread malicious rumors about His neighbor. The fact remains that if the laws and ordinances would be followed there would not be a problem, and we would have a better country to live in.
Oh, by the way, what law or ordinance have my parents not obeyed that the judge so ordered that you stated in your letter? None! If you’ll remember correctly, a person’s rights cannot be taken or signed away when they are justly citizens so stated in court. Before you cast stones at my family make sure you throw some up in the air to hit you and yours on the head. Peaceful resolutions come to those who truly desire to do the right thing. I distinctly remember at one point my dad putting his hand out to someone and that person turned their head.
Also, our upbringing has nothing to do with the fact that it comes down to morals, values and doing the right thing. My parents are tax paying, law abiding citizens who want to live in a nice, kempt county where the property value increases, not decreases due to the actions of others.
I believe this analogy will help you understand where I am coming from. Say, your vehicle is in a parking lot. I hit it and cause damage. I make a report and go ahead and have your vehicle towed (to a destination unknown to you). I’ve sent word that I’ll take care of it, but don’t worry about personal papers in it, they probably weren’t that important.
Just don’t worry about it; I’ll maybe take care of it some day soon. Then, one day you come home and discover that I have replaced your vehicle with a golf cart. It doesn’t matter if it does not equal the same value or is anything like you had before. And, as for your personal items, I looked in your vehicle and didn’t see anything. (You can take my word for it.) Would this be acceptable to you? Of course not!
My family and I wish our aunt and her family no ill-will or harm. May she be blessed with peace and happiness because there will be a day when the truth will be known to all.
So, yes, I agree with you that there must be a time when there is a peaceful, law abiding co-existence for everyone. You know I can’t help but say that my heart truly breaks because we were once family.
I can honestly say that with a just heart and a just mind that I have told my parents that I could not care less what they leave me here on earth, as long as I know we will spend eternity together, that worldly items do not matter.
I hope you can say the same neighbor. Life is way too short for all of this.
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