Letters for November 6, 2008

‘Another side to this story’
Re: “Local woman fights for her dog” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, CN&R, Oct. 30):

I am a registered veterinary technician and I can’t believe this is the only side of the story of Roofy and Mrs. Barrett.

I would just like to clarify that a “pyometria,” which is actually spelled pyometra, is not a disease; it is an infection. It is also hard to believe that Mrs. Barrett could not afford the diagnostics and surgery, but is willing to give Megan Graham gifts and borrowed money now that she knows someone else has her dog.

According to Christine [Fixico, hospital manager], there was no absolute diagnosis that Roofy had a pyometra. If Roofy did have a pyometra, there would be no way that she would have had live puppies. So there would have been no way to “save them.”

There is nothing wrong with working in a veterinary hospital as a technician without a license, so I don’t know why that was even mentioned. Also, because of this story, many veterinary hospitals are probably no longer letting clients release their dogs to veterinary staff instead of electing euthanasia. So many animals are going to lose the chance of living because of this mess of a situation.

I am sure there is another side to this story.

Amber Kuykendall

Editor’s note: The state veterinary board distinguishes between registered technicians and lay staff, which is why we made this distinction. As for the other side of the story, Ms. Fixico of the North Valley Emergency Veterinary Clinic (whose response to the CN&R’s request for comment did not come until the issue was going to press) sent the letter below.

This attempts to clear up many of the “misunderstandings” and inaccuracies that have been reported by Carole Barrett regarding the dog Roofy.

No diagnosis of Roofy was allowed, as the Barretts declined any tests to determine what medical problem actually existed. The Barretts chose euthanasia despite being offered many treatment options.

Veterinary clinics will occasionally help save an animal from the finality of euthanasia by letting an owner transfer ownership of their pet to an employee willing to accept financial responsibilities of treatment.

Megan Graham, a veterinary technician, took pity on Roofy, and Ms. Barrett willingly signed over ownership. Radiographs that were then performed discovered surgery was needed to end a pregnancy in distress (despite Ms. Barrett’s statement Roofy was not pregnant based on other radiographs). After successful surgery, Roofy’s overdue vaccinations were also given.

Graham returned Roofy (now healthy), feeling this was the only way to resolve the situation given the misinformed attention the case was given. Even though Ms. Barrett stated she would give “anything” to get her dog back, she declined to pay any compensation for care that was provided by NVEVC and Graham. Instead, Ms. Barrett has continued verbal attacks against Graham, who actually saved Roofy’s life by picking up the responsibility that was Ms. Barrett’s.

The greatest tragedy from this event is that this opportunity cannot be given to other clients who might be interested in signing over their pet rather than electing euthanasia. “No good deed goes unpunished” is unfortunately accurate in this case.

Christine Fixico
NVEVC hospital manager

Cuts ‘self-defeating’
Re: “Chico State preps for cuts” (Downstroke, CN&R, Oct. 30):

It is self-defeating madness to cut our state’s higher-education system exactly at the time it is needed most. In addition to the new cuts to the University of California system, the California State University, which includes Chico State, also is to be cut, in this case by $31.3 million.

This is on top of a $215 million shortfall already in this year’s budget.

Public higher education helps solve financial crises because it prepares people for better-paying jobs in stronger job sectors. During economic downturns, we know more people return to college for retraining for jobs that revitalize the economy.

Once employed, college graduates pay more taxes and rely less on social services, not to mention play a bigger role in solving society’s problems.

Our lawmakers need to drastically revise their thinking about funding education across the board, especially our public colleges and universities. The current thinking is a recipe for both immediate and long-term failure.

Michael P. Marchetti

Editor’s note: Dr. Marchetti is a professor in the Biology Department at Chico State.

Farmer is a role model
Re: “Unscrambling the egg debate” (GreenWays, by Christine G.K. LaPado, CN&R, Oct. 30):

Kudos to Nancy [Schleiger]. It is good to see someone is still maintaining traditional farming methods, and yes, it can be done on a larger scale. Thank you to the HSUS [Humane Society] and the HFA [Humane Farming Association] for exposing the horrors of factory farms.

No animal should spend its life in a cage—it is abnormal …. Stress and disease go hand in hand.

Margaret Anne Moore

Father is a role model
Re: “A father’s healing acts” (Newslines, by Ginger McGuire, CN&R, Oct. 23):

I am always thankful to see the story of Azim Khamisa, which I find so inspiring. I first heard about the story in 1995, and what touched me most was Azim’s comment [that] “there were victims at both ends of the gun.”

Azim already was demonstrating the kind of thinking that each one of us should strive for: choosing to see the world not from the eyes of our anger, but through the eyes of understanding. Azim demonstrated so much compassion in spite of his pain and grief. He understood that healing was needed for all those concerned, and what inspires me most is that he has dedicated his entire life since the tragedy to do just that.

Eileen Borris
Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Editor’s note: Dr. Borris is the author of Finding Forgiveness (McGraw-Hill, 2006).

Uncovered story
Re: “Censored!” (Cover story, by Amanda Witherell, CN&R, Oct. 9):

The biggest unreported story in the United States is clearly the forced harvesting of organs from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners in China and their subsequent sale to wealthy Chinese and foreign organ-transplant tourists.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak, among several high- profile investigators, has confirmed that Chinese hospitals are using imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners as a living organ-donation bank. Despite these investigations, there has barely been a peep in any U.S. media.

The evidence of this practice is overwhelming and includes a surge in organ transplants in China shortly after the persecution of Falun Gong began; organ matches being found in days and weeks instead of many years in most countries; witnesses working in hospitals coming forward to make first-hand reports about organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners, including grisly details of the organs being harvested while the victims are still alive with little anesthesia, and recorded phone calls to Chinese hospitals in which officials have admitted that they use Falun Gong practitioners’ organs.

There are mountains of evidence documenting this grizzly genocide, and the silence from the U.S. mainstream press is deafening.

Michael Courter

School workers united
The California School Employees Association’s Chico chapter says, “Enough is enough!” A petition signed by 500 out of 570 employees was presented to the CUSD board stating that we deserve binding-arbitration language in our contract.

This is simply an issue of dignity and respect, over which we have been negotiating for 2 1/2 years, before finally going to a full-blown fact-finding hearing.

The fact-finder concurred: Binding arbitration is a more impartial and effective way to resolve contract disputes than the current system, and that since teachers have it in their contract, it is only right that we have it in ours.

CUSD employees have taken severe financial hits during this budget crisis with layoffs, hour reductions, and seeing our benefit packages diminish; therefore, we believe this issue of dignity and respect is reasonable and timely.

Assistant Superintendent Bob Feaster stated binding arbitration will cost money; only if there are contract violations. The arbitration cost averages around $250 per year.

It is classified employees who keep schools running like clockwork. We are the school secretaries, Nutrition Services workers, health assistants, bus drivers, custodians, maintenance workers and instructional assistants who make a difference in the lives of students every single day.

We are proud of the work we do. Support us now—tell the Chico Unified school board you believe classified employees are important.

Denise Bell-Corona

Bike safely, Chicoans
I have seen too many bicyclists in Chico ride through stop lights and red lights. And they ride on the wrong side of the streets sometimes. They should have lights on their bicycles, too.

I wish the Chico police would crack down on those bicyclists who are breaking the law.

I have seen too many bicyclists who do not wear helmets. Twenty-two percent of the people who have been in accidents wind up in a hospital. For one person, it can cost up to $4.6 million.

Alex Buchmiller

Humble request
I first saw The Adventures of Robin Hood, so much of which was filmed in your Bidwell Park, here in Sheffield at Christmas time in 1938, when I was just 15 years of age. As years rolled by, I kept thinking about this movie and how much I enjoyed seeing it. During the war, I served in the Royal Air Force and lived and worked with some of your GIs here in England.

As time went by, I kept seeing Robin Hood on television, and about 30 years later I began collecting photos from the movie and about its making. I now have a sizeable collection, including signed photos of all the cast members and eight letters written to me by Miss Olivia De Havilland.

This letter is to ask Chico readers if they have any unwanted pictures taken in Bidwell Park in 1937-38 of the actors partaking in the movie. I would be so grateful for them and would reimburse their postage costs. I am a pensioner, and this is my only hobby these lonely days.

John Planton
Sheffield, England

Editor’s note: Mr. Planton’s address is 46 Reney Road, Sheffield S8 7FT, Yorkshire, England.

Simple solution
I have a suggestion for the “mortgage crisis": Cut the rate for all owner-occupied homes across the nation to 4.5 percent for 36 months, then offer that same rate to anyone purchasing a primary residence in the next 12 months. That would save a great number of people from foreclosure, and it would stimulate the home market with new buyers.

It may sound too simple to some, too complicated to others. It can’t be any more complicated than the “bailout of Wall Street.”

Mary Margaretich
Grass Valley