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Volunteers Speak Up

I read with interest your article about the plight of the animals at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control ("A nice gesture, but....," by Tara Servatius, Oct. 5). I've been volunteering at the shelter for over three years now and I don't recall ever seeing you there to help out. I don't remember seeing your name on our volunteer directory. Instead of writing on how bad it is, why don't you make an effort to do something about the problem?

Up until last month, when we ran out of grant money, we were conducting monthly spay/neuter clinics in low-income areas. These clinics were conducted by dedicated volunteers and staff who care about the animals and the high euthanasia rate. The problem isn't getting to the people in need, it is getting the people in need to realize the necessity of getting their pets spay/neutered. The problem is that many people, especially the low-income people, don't see their animals as pets and living, breathing creatures but rather as just another piece of property to throw away when it is no longer useful or worth the effort. Another problem is that many people don't want to spay/neuter their animals because they don't want to "ruin" them. They use them for monetary gain. Until we change the mindset of the general public and educate them on the importance of the spay/neuter program, we're always going to be fighting a losing battle.

Your article made it sound like the Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Control Bureau is run by a bunch of heartless, uncaring people who can't wait to kill all the animals they receive, when I know from experience that the truth is just the opposite.

-- Barry Carter, Charlotte

I just read "A nice gesture, but...." and take issue with the dismissive tone it directs toward CMPD-ACB. I find it disheartening that people so cavalierly castigate the Bureau because its dedicated, caring professionals must make heartbreaking decisions about animals who have no hope of finding loving, responsible homes. Humane euthanasia is a necessary evil, given the scope of the problem. Numbers, however, do not tell the story. Numbers describe an outcome.

Yes, there are those who should be ashamed. They are the people who irresponsibly let their animals reproduce with no intention of caring for the offspring or finding them appropriate homes. They are the people who neglect, abandon, generally mistreat or outright torture animals. They are the emotionally and intellectually impotent males who believe that owning a sturdily built, poorly socialized dog will make them "men."

And if not shame, certainly a healthy dose of embarrassment is due those who seek public funding for their pedigreed critter's spaying or neutering. And make no mistake, ACB sees its share of conscience-free, economically blessed citizens who ride over to the shelter on their expensive high-horses after allowing their pets to produce unwanted beings, or when 10-year-old Fluffy doesn't match the new sofa.

Use your powers for good, Citizen Servatius. Now that you've opined on the happening du jour, be a media member who does not forget about Mecklenburg's mind-bending animal problems. Research the realities behind the numbers. And, by all means, visit ACB. Like so many who come in reluctantly at first, you'll be amazed by the positive energy, the love, and the hard work that is devoted to protecting our precious animal citizens.

-- Janette Purtell, CMPD-ACB Volunteer, Charlotte

CmS Fiasco

In reference to Tara's article, "Stop the bleeding -- Suburbs should grab the school bonds olive branch" (Citizen Servatiius, Oct. 12), I would like to submit the following response:

The only way I'll approve the school bond issue coming up in the next election is if everyone living more than five miles from the Center City is exempt from paying property taxes for the next ten years. This may sound extreme, but how else can anyone living in the suburbs today get compensated for the past ten years of disservice received from CMS and Mecklenburg County. Someone needs to be accountable for the mismanagement of the public educational funds over the past ten years, and a good place to start is the CMS school board. Then when you get finished with them, move on to the City and County board of commissioners. And, don't forget the NC Governor, the House Speaker and the Attorney General; because they have all been notified of the problem several times and still refused to do anything about it.

That's my request for the approval of the upcoming school bond. Take it or leave it, because if I have to pay anymore for this mismanagement of public money, I'm out of this county. And, the irony is that I'm not even white.

-- Robert Williams, Charlotte Suburbs

More than GWAR

Re: "Charlotte's Tour of Infamy" (Sept. 28): 4808 Club was a ground-breaking concept and the first larger music venue in uptown Charlotte, offering such fledgling acts as Widespread Panic, The Black Crowes, Eric Johnson, Bad Brains, Soundgarden, Social Distortion, Testament, Firehouse(who consummated a deal with Epic at 4808 after a showcase),Corrosion of Conformity, Fetchin' Bones, Hootie and the Blowfish, The now legendary Johnny Quest, Schooly D, Danzig, Bang Tango, The Cromags, The marriage of AntiSeen, and the list goes on.

CL voted the 4808 Club "Best New Club and Best College Bar" in 1989. It would be a shame not to remember the 4808 for what it was. It was extraordinary... and it was mine. Let it rest in peace.

-- Michael G. Plumides Jr., Atlanta, GA

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