Hounded by the Pound

Plus: Tribute to Oliver, Wrapping It Up, Bigotry 101

Hounded by the Pound

Editor's note: Wendy Grossman's November 7 feature "In the Doghouse" generated far more reader responses than the Press has room to print. Excerpts from some of the letters are below.

Horrified: I am disgusted, disturbed and sickened. Thank you for drawing attention to the cruelty that goes on. I wish there were something we could do to stop this.

I am horrified beyond belief.

Holly Steirman

Accountability: To say that it was a disturbing article is an understatement. What really needs to be addressed is this: What can I do as a concerned human being to correct the injustice being done?

This is inexcusable, and the city must be held accountable for allowing these people to remain employed.

Kimberly Reiner

Eating away at him: While I could not help but be touched by the article, I would like to propose a still more humane approach to the problem of strays. Someone said we could eliminate world hunger by merely distributing the food that we now give to our pets. For this reason, I feel it would be wiser for Houstonians to mail their pet food to poor families abroad as a token of their sympathy.

Because the pets would then have no food, they should be sent to the city pound, where the cats could be fed to the dogs and the dogs exported to Asia as food for the starving. Exempt, of course, would be animals that work for a living such as farm, police and guide dogs.

Some will argue that it is more humane to feed the animals, but this attitude is more properly described as "animalistic" than "humane."

John D. Griffith, M.D.

County's pride: How about coming out to Harris County Rabies/Animal Control for the flip side (www.countypets.com)? Since the public always confuses the two organizations, we get griped at whenever the city gets bad press. Come see what we've been up to -- maybe the Runt Rescue Team, our Mobile Adoption Program or the two-for-one cat adoption sale.

Colleen Hodges

Higher authorities: I have contacted our state representatives and sent a letter to President Bush to put a stop to this kind of cruelty. I am also sending a link to the ASPCA. I have decided to start some type of petition to have better, more qualified caretakers for these animals. Even though things have gotten better, until it is significantly better, I will not stop writing.

Thanks. If I hadn't read your article, I never would have known.

Toni Graham
La Porte

Disgraceful: This is a disgrace to the city of Houston. This city is big enough to be able to take care of all its abandoned and unwanted animals. How these people at the animal shelter can go to sleep at night is beyond me. May God have mercy on their souls, if they have them!

Robbie Fulton

Not the facility: Do they really think that a new facility is going to improve the way those animals are being treated? It isn't the facility, it's the employees who run it! I think they need a lesson in what is humane and what isn't.

Animals cannot control the situations they're in, but we can. The way that those animals die is wrong, and I'm glad this has been brought to the public's attention.

Brandy Cerna

Good shelters: Your story is a heart-wrenching tale, but not all animal shelters operate in this manner. At the Bay Area SPCA (www.BayAreaSPCA.org), we do not have a lot of funds, but in contrast to the Houston shelter, we operate a heart-warming facility. I worry that your article may cause people to look unfavorably on animal shelters even though there are many good ones.

Cathy L. Tway
League City

Enlightening: Great story! It's a sad story. I work with a rescue group, and we take dogs out of BARC when we can. I'm glad you had the courage to write the story. So many people don't know or don't want to know what happens to these animals.

I rescue huskies, but as your story points out, we can't help them all. I wish we could.

Cyndi Foster

More to do: With your portrayal at the ending of the story describing the dogs' last minutes before they are put to death, I could actually see it happening. It seems that some things are getting better, but there is still so much more that the city has to do to improve conditions for the animals, from the staff to the methods they use.

Renee Ybarra

Bad example: What an outstanding article. I could feel my blood pressure rising while reading it. It's just another example of how badly this city is run. I love animals more than people, and I wonder what it's going to take to make this situation better.

Cathy Sessums

A second chance: I am sitting here in tears, appalled after finishing your article. I hope your story will help raise public awareness of the importance of pet ownership responsibilities and accountability -- and perhaps to help loosen the purse strings of those who can financially assist the city pound. It doesn't have to be a slaughterhouse; it can be a place to help educate people and give healthy, unwanted animals a second chance.

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