There Is a Better Way; Israel Doesn't Deserve Attacks 


There Is a Better Way

With its plan to end the euthanasia of the region's homeless dogs and cats by 2008 ("Animal Instincts," cover story, Aug. 13; letters, Sept. 25, Oct. 2), the Richmond SPCA is adopting a proven model to change the outmoded and flawed system that has prevailed at animal shelters since the turn of the century. For decades, shelters have euthanized healthy, adoptable dogs and cats to make room for incoming animals. We now know there's a better way.

The R-SPCA's "Campaign for a Compassionate Solution" is based on a model that has achieved remarkable success in San Francisco. Working in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control, the San Francisco SPCA implemented this model in 1989. Five years later, we were able to guarantee a home for every adoptable dog and cat in the city.

Today, 77 percent of all dogs and cats that enter the San Francisco shelter system (whether they're adoptable or need treatment and rehabilitation) are placed in new homes or reunited with their owners. That puts San Francisco's save rate at more than double the norm for major American cities. Plus, we have cut shelter intake by more than half by applying resources to low-cost high-volume spay/neuter surgery. This model works. It saves lives.

Change often sparks controversy, so the debate in Richmond is understandable. But there can be no debate about the outcome. Ultimately, the R-SPCA's new model will mean fewer homeless animals and fewer euthanasias. With the patience and cooperation of everyone who cares about homeless dogs and cats, Richmond can achieve the same success San Francisco has.

Robin Starr, the R-SPCA and its board of directors should be commended for their foresight and their understanding that there's a better way to make the world a safer place for homeless animals. They have taken the first step toward saving countless lives and making Richmond a humane haven for cats and dogs.

Ed Sayres

President, San Francisco SPCA

Group Is Working to Aid Pumphouse

Established historic preservation organizations are as challenged as most other nonprofits to have the resources we need to fulfill our missions. In our changing society and economic structure, alternative ways and means are being explored. For example, one of the buildings noted in your Oct. 2 issue on endangered buildings ("Building Support"), the Byrd Park Pumphouse, is squarely in Historic Richmond Foundation's sights as a prime candidate for an alternate approach.

HRF is presently in the process of forging a unique relationship with the city's Department of Public Utilities, the James River Park naturalist, dedicated Pumphouse volunteers, members of HRF's Quoit Club, nearby property owners and stakeholders. HRF's goal is to serve as a focus, source and conduit for Pumphouse donations, volunteer activities, information and appropriate preservation work. Such a relationship will not only preserve the building, it will go far to return the Pumphouse as part of Richmond's wonderful historic character.

We must all do what we can to preserve irreplaceable public buildings. Hopefully, we can do better than one building at a time.

Donald Charles
Executive director, Historic Richmond Foundation

Israel Doesn't Deserve Attacks

I almost have to admire Lee Carleton for his stealth attack on Israel (back page, Sept. 18). In one paragraph, he talks about slaughter of Palestinians, thereby linking Israel to slaughter of Americans Indians, slavery and the Nazis. No mention is made of terrorists killing men, women and children in civilian settings or the use of children as forward shields for terrorist attackers.

No one likes to see people spending years in refugee camps. Other refugees throughout the world have been resettled peacefully. But with millions of Arabs and billions of petrodollars, no attempt was made at Palestinian resettlement. Instead, it was purposely kept as an open, festering sore to build a feeling of discontent and to point the finger at Israel.

Palestinians and Israelis are both industrious people and with peace a stable, prosperous Middle East could be built that would help world peace. This can't happen as long as young children are taught that Israel should be wiped out and all Jews killed.

Hopefully, there are still enough people of good will on both sides to settle the dispute and not be used as pawns for others.

Jerome Beller

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