Letters for January 21, 2010

Help for banks

There was a segment that aired tonight on KRNV News Channel 4—and all of the other local stations, I’m sure—that began by saying there is help to stop the home foreclosure problem. But then they proceeded to say that the Housing Authority has received $21 million in grants to buy up foreclosed properties, repair them and then resell them at a profit, making surrounding properties rise in value. It seems like we are losing sight of the problem here. What happened to the help to stop the foreclosures and keep people in their homes, rather than the Housing Authority running a government-sanctioned home speculation business, after the people have lost their dream? What happened to Obama’s relief program? After applying for a Making Home Affordable home-loan modification last April, we have been at the mercy of Bank of America, waiting for them to do anything that might help us keep our home. Since then, one of us has been laid off and had to file bankruptcy, causing the MHA process to start all over. I am scared to death that we are going to lose our home because of the BofA’s complacency and will soon be homeless. I feel like the Housing Authority has become carpetbaggers and is taking advantage of some people’s misfortune to be the victims of today’s economy. Would this $21 million not be better spent by helping people to keep their homes to begin with, by creating a community [board] to see that the banks act in a timely way? This would cause many to be able to stay in their homes and maintain property values. It no doubt would go a lot further. It would appear the banks and now the RHA are just waiting for people to default and swoop up property that once was somebody’s life.

Robert Ross and Virginia Whitby

Help zoo animals

In response to Sierra Safari Zoo’s annual winter fundraising appeal, PETA has sent a letter to zoo owner Dale McDaniel urging him to end the animal park’s practice of breeding and acquiring more animals—including a liger the zoo has recently publicized—while selling off other animals at the same time.

PETA points out that cute baby animals quickly grow into adults that continue to require food, housing, and veterinary care even as their appeal to human visitors wanes. While the Sierra Safari Zoo continues to breed baby animals for display, the facility has been callously selling off “surplus” animals through Animal Finders’ Guide—a trade magazine that peddles exotic animals to breeders, dealers and the pet trade. Animals that are sold through this process are likely to end up in shoddy roadside zoos, traveling animal exhibits or other cruel establishments.

“Sierra Safari Zoo regularly makes desperate appeals to well-intentioned contributors for funds, even as it piles more and more animals onto what zoo officials say is a sinking ship,” says PETA Director Debbie Leahy. “This zoo needs to take responsibility for the animals who are already housed in its facility. These animals deserve care and should not have to suffer because the zoo bites off more than it can chew.”

David Perle
via email

PETA’s lies

The media need to research PETA’S ultimate plan for all animals in captivity. Is anyone in the media brave enough to tell PETA’S secret? What is PETA’s agenda for not only exotic animal ownership but pet ownership?

Just to clarify I do not own the zoo. I was one of the founders and turned the zoo over to the Sierra Nevada Zoological Society as a gift to the community. The Society is a non-profit. All who have strived to see the zoo succeed only have the simple dream of bringing children and animals together. Animals can teach people a lot about being more compassionate humans. The ultimate goal of the zoo is to provide a place where families can be families away from the urban chaos, and the animals prove a catalyst for this. We are run by more than 50 volunteers. These animal-loving people oversee our guardianship of the animals.

We have never called the zoo a “sinking ship” and have always had faith in the people of our community to help us continue our mission. Yes we ask for help, but what zoo or non-profit doesn’t?

Yes, we have surplus animals, and yes, we sell and trade them so we keep a manageable collection of reasonable size. This is standard practice for keepers of animals anywhere. The Animal Finder’s guide is one tool we use, and it has been misrepresented. Keeper’s of exotic animals use the Guide as a way to network. There are many informative articles on how to take better care of animals and many pictures of the funny things animals do. I have personally visited at least a hundred wonderful facilities that use the Guide over the years and found each contributing to the betterment of animals everywhere.

PETA only tells a slanted view of the animal world, it never talks about the love, the care and the education living with these animals provides. PETA has an agenda, and it is not one that the owner of a cat or dog anywhere would agree with. In PETA’S opinion, The San Diego Zoo would have been a shoddy roadside zoo in its beginning.

We invite any member of the media to do a full-length story on the zoo. Tell about our beginning, where we are now, and where we hope to go. About our challenges, our triumphs and defeats and the enormous sacrifice made by all to see us survive.

Yes PETA can close down a small zoo with their national organization, and we who have tried so hard will find other ways to serve our community. The animals will all go to other loving homes, and the community will lose one of its only family-orientated attractions.

Dale McDaniel
Sierra Safari Zoo

The three R’s

Re “Green goals” (Green, Dec. 31:

I wanted to let you know, I finally took time to read about the recycling program we have. I was going a little overboard on the curbside and now I know better. They don’t take bits and pieces of plastic things—too bad. Thank you for your on-going efforts every week.

Robert Mateas and Grant Edstrom

Editor’s note: As Kat Kerlin pointed out in her story, there’s a document at http://ktmb.org/documents/recyclingguideforweb.pdf that shows exactly what can be recycled. You’ll be surprised.

But what about the baby plants?

Re “Meet your meat” (Feature story, Jan. 14):

How absurd! Does the author of this article think they can present the gore in such a nonchalant way and avoid the essential issue of animal justice? By what “right” aside from “might” is Ferdinand’s life stolen? It’s absolute speciesism that allows this vulgar practice to continue. The meat industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars lying to the public about their product. But no amount of false propaganda can sanitize meat. The facts are absolutely clear: Eating meat is bad for human health, catastrophic for the environment, and a living nightmare for animals. We can thrive on a plant-based diet. It’s easy, and it’s the ethically right thing to do.

Bea Elliott
Winter Haven, Fla.