Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

April 13, 2003

Animal control office well-run and humane

In light of two recent articles published regarding the handling of stray animals by Howard County Animal Control, I feel compelled to write with an account of our experiences with them as volunteers of a local animal rescue organization.

I have been directly involved in animal welfare since 1975. I have worked with Humane Societies, SPCAS, and many other non-profit animal welfare organizations within Maryland, District of Columbia, Delaware, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

In my opinion Howard County Animal Control should be used as an example to other County Animal Controls as to how to run a humane, well-organized, efficient organization, one whose employees understand their responsibility to enforce animal control laws, act to protect the welfare of animals and the public.

Not only do they efficiently handle the initial contact, but also they work very hard to ensure the well-being of the animals adopted from the shelter. They allow volunteers to come in and assist in many ways. They allow other reputable rescue organization, which meet basic requirements, to foster and adopt out hard-to-place or rehabilitating animals in lieu of euthanasia. They quickly seek veterinary care for injured or sick animals.

It has been my experience that they do their best to enable every animal a reasonable chance of adoption into a responsible, loving, and permanent home. They are open hours which make it easy for viewing and adopting. They have a low cost spay/neuter program, which has helped decrease the number of unwanted pets. They have covered all of the bases.

Many of us reading this letter would never consider an emotional and demanding job such as the staff at Howard County Animal Control have to deal with six days a week. They have to deal with euthanasia, care of injured, neglected, and suffering animals every day. The staff members and volunteers are trained to act in a professional and composed manner to counsel families.

Animal shelters are the result of irresponsible people. Many people do not want to face this reality and choose instead to criticize the evaluation and difficult decision to euthanize an animal with an incurable illness, contagious, untreatable disease, or one that shows behaviors indicating a high likelihood that a bite or harm may be inflicted to the adopting family or neighbors.

Spend just one day at an animal shelter experiencing all of the facets involved and then judge.

In my opinion, it is irresponsible to take one situation and build the reputation of any organization, such as the previous article you published, much less an organization which not only handles the welfare of any animal within all of Howard County which comes through their doors from inside or outside of their county, but, also takes seriously the safety of the public. They may not be perfect, but they do their best to do what is humane and in the best interest for both the animals and the public.

Debbie Snyder


The writer is president of the Maryland Network for Animals Inc.

Don't delay building 12th high school

In 2001, a Boundary Line Advisory Committee was formed to assist with a comprehensive high school redistricting effort and, in 2002, a similar effort was undertaken by the School Boundary Line Committee to assist with comprehensive elementary and middle school redistricting. Many of the decisions made by those committees were predicated upon delivery of the new Northern High School in 2005, not 2006.

In "Boundary Line Adjustments" dated November 29, 2001, the summary thoughts section states, "Mount Hebron and River Hill are a good geographical fit to fill the 12th high school in 2005. ... All plans were developed to minimize the potential of having to move the same neighborhoods in 2005 that were moved in 2002. ... Due to anticipated growth in the Worthington area, Centennial may need more relief in 2005 than the 120 to 150 students it can send to the Northern High School."

In "Boundary Line Adjustments" dated October 24, 2002, page 14 states "redistricting in 2005, associated with the opening of the new Northern High School will redistribute students across all regions. All high schools will be at or above their capacity of 1,332."

Current projections indicate that without the new high school, the system will exceed its capacity by 1,206 high school students in 2005, and 1,728 in 2006. If the new high school is built for 2005, both Centennial and Mount Hebron will receive relief resulting in 952 additional seats in the northern region. Such availability can be used to relieve River Hill, which is expected to be over-capacity by approximately 600 seats in 2005, and possibly provide relief to Glenelg.

And, as we all know, significant growth continues in the west, which will result in the need for yet more high school seats. Additionally, the northeastern region, particularly Howard High, could potentially benefit by having seats made available at Mount Hebron.

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