Cat House

Blame yourselves: I wonder how many folks will respond to condemn Toyya, who have themselves contributed to the population of unwanted pets -- especially in the communities where Toyya has lived ["Kitty Litter," by Wendy Grossman, July 3].

Charles Hixon

No miracle worker: Being a lover of pets, I read with an open mind the story of Toyya Braskey. I cannot come away from a story like this without thinking of the needs of these cats. Having had pets throughout the years, I have come to know that each pet is unique, each needs our love, companionship and care.

With 100 cats, there is no possible way each one is having its individual needs met. Life is life, but quality of life is just as important. The fact that Toyya is not taking good medical care of herself and not keeping up with the demand of simple sanitation and cleanliness tells me that she is not a miracle worker able to give these cats the companionship, medical attention and play time needed.

Being humane is a virtue, but confusing humanity with keeping these beautiful creatures in deplorable conditions is in no way justifiable. I wish Toyya well, but these cats deserve more than good intentions.

David R. Garza

No place to be: Anyone with a modicum of intelligence and who can read English will immediately be repulsed and saddened by the story of this very misguided woman, Toyya Braskey. From your photos, obviously her facility is filthy, smelly, overcrowded and an unsafe environment for cats, sick and healthy alike. Her facility must be violating Galveston County Animal Control and the Galveston County Health District regulations.

How many times will we see on television some extremely neglected, sick and dead animals removed from a filthy facility?

There is no question that she believes she is saving cats, but how can she not realize that it is unacceptable to allow kittens to die from spider bites rather than get medical help? It may not be illegal to choose to live in those conditions, but common decency and common sense should stir her "friends" to try to get her some help.

The truly saddest part of this dilemma is there is no place for all those cats to go where each can receive whatever level of treatment or care it needs. Most likely, if and when her facility is shut down, those 100 innocent and suffering cats will be rounded up by animal control and euthanized. How about if 100 citizens each volunteered to adopt one of the cats as an alternative to euthanizing them?

Elizabeth Ducoff

Harming the Homeless

Program cutbacks: Your cover story on the lack of services for Houston's homeless ["Dead End," by Craig Malisow, June 26] was very timely for those who are receiving services at the UT Houston Recovery Campus. It looks like UT is going to pull the plug on not one but three successful programs that help the homeless in Houston.

The excuse being given is that there is not enough money to match the state and federal funds already committed to these programs, but the reality seems to be more one of wanting to abandon a minority-run, community-supported/supporting institution, the former St. Elizabeth's Hospital. The services provided at HRC have given many people a real chance at a drug-free, independent (tax-paying) life that they would not have had otherwise. Your paper likes to call things as they are, rather than how they are spun, so here is your chance.

Name withheld by request

Baying at Bayport

A port called Goliath: I was the financial accounting manager for the Port of Houston from 1997 to 1999. I worked for the port for five and a half years, had two promotions, one nomination for employee of the year and nothing but favorable performance evaluations. Then, exactly one day after I filed a grievance, I was terminated for "non-performance of job duties." The proof submitted to the Texas Workforce Commission by the port, in its attempt to deny unemployment benefits, was a memo by my supervisor two days after my termination, saying in essence that I wasn't doing my job.

Fortunately, the port's powerful tentacles did not reach the TWC and I was granted my unemployment benefits. But, as the expression goes, I may have won the battle, but I lost the war.

I challenged the port legally on its refusal to grant a grievance hearing that I had properly requested. The port did what it always does: called in the lawyers, pulled out the taxpayers' checkbook and proceeded to spend, spend, spend whatever it took to beat the challenge. Despite my outrage at my treatment, I had to give up, as I could not afford the legal expenses.

So it comes as no surprise to me that Goliath is once again rearing its ugly head over Bayport ["Mixed Messages," by Scott Nowell, July 3], and now apparently tens of thousands of citizens living in the Clear Lake area are having the same run-in with the port's arrogance. And you can rest assured, the port will once again call in the lawyers, pull out the taxpayers' checkbook and proceed to spend, spend, spend until it can beat any and all challenges made against it.

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