News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2007
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Responsible owners spay and neuter their pets

To The Daily: I am writing in response to the article regarding the new Morgan County Animal Shelter. I am glad to hear that this is in the works. But I was also appalled at the rate of euthanasia at the current shelter. According to the numbers given in the article, 83 percent of animals taken into the shelter are killed. Does that upset anyone besides me? Building a new shelter may help the problem but it certainly will not solve it. The bottom line is that we have a problem with people not having their pets spayed or neutered. You can build shelters all day, but as long as animals are not fixed and are allowed to breed freely, we are fighting a losing battle.

What Morgan County desperately needs is a low-cost spay/neuter program as well as a program to educate citizens on the benefits of this procedure. Huntsville currently has the SNAP program (Spay/Neuter Action Project). All one has to do is print a certificate off the computer and schedule an appointment with one of the participating vets. The cost is $40-$65 depending on your pet’s sex and size. This is for anyone.

Why can’t the vets in Morgan County join together to participate in this? I’m sure they wouldn’t make any money on these procedures but they’d be doing a huge service to the community and preventing the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of animals.

Another suggestion I would make is to add a small spay/neuter clinic to either of the new shelters. Hopefully, this could be staffed by volunteers. If 10 vets donated one day a month and performed 10 procedures a day, that would be 1,200 animals spayed/neutered each year. What a difference that could make in the overpopulation problem we have.

Susie Burgess
Hartselle

Smoking a health issue

To The Daily: You recently printed a letter from a Priceville citizen who suggests that the proposed ban on smoking in public places is not a health issue. Considering the overwhelming scientific evidence against smoking that is available today, I couldn’t disagree with him more. This is a public health issue plain and simple.

The overwhelming majority of U.S. adults (approximately 70 percent) do not smoke. And although an alarmingly high rate of minor children and teens do smoke, most all would agree that none of our underage children should smoke. So when one looks at our population as a whole including children, 80-85 percent does not smoke.

If one of the large manufacturing plants on the Tennessee River in our city were pumping known carcinogens into our air or waterways, do you think the City Council would say that is their “fundamental right as Americans” to do so? I don’t think so. They would shut that plant down in a New York minute and rightly so. Why? Because the public health in general is at risk and they are duty bound as our elected representatives to do something about it when we as individuals cannot.

When public health or safety issues are in play, the greater good for the public in general always trumps individual rights. We have laws that limit civil rights in virtually every aspect of our lives. They admittedly restrict individual rights but for the most part they do so for the greater good of the public at large. And most of us accept that as a price we are willing to pay for the privilege of living in a democratic society.

This really should be a “no brainer” for the City Council if they will just look at the facts.

John H. Buchanan
Decatur

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