Letters to the Editor week of 1-29-09

10

Fair fees

To the Editor:

Last week a Letter to the Editor was critical of the Switzerland County Animal Shelter’s new adoption fees. It mentioned only the new fees. It ignored the valuable and necessary veterinary care, including paying and neutering, furnished at the Shelter’s expense and included in the adoption fee.

I also have some “free” full-blooded dogs. In the last two years irresponsible pet owners have made available to me by dumping: a full-blooded male Yellow Lab (“Marley”); a male Black Lab mix (“Hershel”); and a full-blooded female German Shepherd (“Girl”). None had been spayed or neutered. The Yellow Lab was extremely malnourished, 2 5 pounds underweight, and had bloody stools from hookworm infestation. It is not uncommon for strays to be brought to the shelter in that condition.

After reading last week’s letter, I reviewed the veterinary records on my dogs to see what charges I had paid for the same medical treatment the animals adopted from the Shelter receive without additional charge. My vet bill on the “free” worm-infested Yellow Lab was $286. My “free” Black Lab had a vet bill of $185. My “free” German Shepherd ran up a bill of $199.

But, wait, there’s more. I certainly don’t want to fail to address the feline issue because, guess what? I also have a beautiful female cat (“Callie”) who just showed up – for “free.” To have my little calico spayed and vaccinated at Dr. Beckett’s very fair price I paid $107.

By any reasonable standard, the Shelter’s adoption policy and fees are real bargains: (1) For the adopting owners who receive essential veterinary care at no cost; and (2) for the community which is weary of unwanted cats and dogs dumped on its back country roads. Had I not had my “free” friends spayed and neutered and had not the Shelter implemented its new program, Switzerland County would have lots more “free” puppies and kittens, ultimately to be euthanized.

Thanks to Terry Scudder and Keli Hall for all their hard work at the Shelter and thanks to the commissioners and council for staying on top of the spay/neuter problems. Please lend your support to the Shelter and to responsible pet care.

Pat Hillis

Near Vevay

Reds caravan

To the Editor:

Friday’s arrival of the Red’s Caravan brought more than just the great Dusty Baker to our town. With it came the spirit of hope that a new season brings. America and Americans have always been about fresh starts and new beginnings. We cherish our belief that all is possible, that tomorrow has the possibility to be better than yesterday. Baseball exemplifies this spirit, and that is why it is “America’s Game.”

I became a Yankees fan because my father was a Dodger fan. It wasn’t all about rebellious youth or my personal declaration of independence, Joe DiMaggio had a little to do with it too. The Yankee Clipper had his own Saturday morning radio show where he preached the Yankee Gospel to a million New York kids each week. We tithed our cereal box tops as proof of our fealty and received autographed pictures of Yankee heroes, pocket schedules and Joltin’ Joe’s baseball card. We mailed our letters to Joe, convinced he would read them on the air.

New York was blessed with three of the 16 major league franchises that existed when I was coming up: The New York Giants, the Brooklyn Dodgers and, my Bronx Bombers, the New York Yankees, all competing for the attention of the baseball fan. Major Leaguers were back from the war, flush with the confidence Victory begets. Each team was sure that the returning star was the player that would put it over the top. They all broadcast their 154 games schedule on local radio, television was still waiting in the wings to burst upon the scene and forever change the American culture.

The city had six daily newspapers back then and each assigned a reporter to cover each of the local teams. These beat writers competed as fiercely as the teams, seeking interviews, exclusives and story lines that would sell the next edition. Perhaps the best part of press coverage in a time before television was the pictures. Tabloids like the Mirror and the Daily News were loaded with full page photos of the “Catch,” the “Slide,” and the “Collision.”

That I grew up “reading” three newspapers a day seemed normal at the time. Red Smith and Damon Runyon were as familiar to me as Red Barber and Mel Allen. Such was baseball 60 years ago. We kids spent many an afternoon at Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium standing on 50 cent bleacher seats cheering our heroes.

Baseball has been an important part of my life. I followed the Dodgers and Giants to the West Coast in search of the new and 30 years later I sought the solace of the Heartland to spend my golden years in reflections of the past. Life’s odyssey has made me a “Homer” at each stop along the way. You could say, “Baseball’s been berry, berry good to me.”

Kip Meyerhoff

Vevay