FREEEditor: In response to "He Came, He...

WHEN PETS ROAM

August 29, 1993

WHEN PETS ROAM FREE

Editor: In response to "He Came, He Saw, He Conquered," an essay written by Marianne Felice [July 11, 1993], it may come as a surprise to Ms. Felice, but she is the person responsible for her cat's death. Had she kept her pet indoors or on a leash -- as required by law -- she would not have had to "pick up his battered and broken body" and "never forget how bright his eyes were until the end, or the look of anguish" on his face as he lay dying after being hit by the car.

Free roaming and unattended pets, both dogs and cats, die from their owners' neglect each day. They are hit by cars. They get stolen and end up in research labs or as practice animals in dog fighting rings. They get poisoned accidentally by pesticides and poisonous plants and intentionally by dog and cat haters. They get shot by hunters and children with BB guns. They get caught in traps to die slow, painful deaths. They get ''taken for a ride'' by disgruntled neighbors. They get chased by other animals and killed or hopelessly lost. And they get exposed to infectious diseases (yes, even rabies).

An additional hazard to cats is the fan belt of a neighbor's car, where it can get caught and mangled even in summer, when the mornings and evenings are often cool.

In adopting an innocent pet, as in adopting an innocent child, we become their guardians. They look to us to provide food, shelter and other necessities of life. And, with trusting eyes, they look to us to keep them free from harm.

Ms. Felice knew that when she let her pet roam free, he was crossing the street. Perhaps her essay should have been more aptly titled "He Came, He Saw, and I Killed Him."

Madoline Madigan,

Baltimore

Donna Bell

Baltimore

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