A remarkable number of our readers thought we had lost our minds with "The Fido Solution," our package of stories in the February 3 edition concerning animal overpopulation. One reader said Richard Connelly, author of the main story, was "insensitive and barbaric." Another vowed to "call law enforcement" if she spotted the "moron" who wrote the accompanying story about shooting cats. But a few readers did understand what we tried to do and applauded us for rejecting platitudes and instead calling for something to really happen about the problem. Representative ex-cerpts of the letters we received appear on our Letters page today.
Raining Cats and Dogs
Searching for Mouse: How dare you so irresponsibly promote the torture of cats and dogs? I have been a longtime Houston Press reader, but that crossed a line I cannot tolerate.
All of the organizations working to protect animals in this city do the best they can. If they are unable to help a significant number of animals, it is because of human behavior that results in animal overpopulation and strays.
I live in the Heights and am going to be on the lookout for this moron ["Cats: That Other White Meat," by Anon E. Mouse]. I hope I get the opportunity to call law enforcement.
Fair play for felines: It was a great issue. The best. You gave cats and dogs equal time (I suspect the content of the cat story will draw the most flak). And now I know why that Hand Center doctor has not updated his spots ["Taking His Medicine," by Craig Malisow, February 3].
Best use yet for Radar: It's refreshing to hear an actual new idea for a change.
The most disturbing thing about your article? You didn't even mention what to do with all that leftover fur! The next-door neighbor's dog that keeps you up every night would make a fine shirt, hat or -- better yet -- a blanket to help you catch up on all the sleep he made you miss.
A yard or two of Siberian husky fur would be excellent for a tasteful, but not too pretentious, coat. Of course, it would take quite a few Pomeranian or pug pelts to assemble a nice outfit, so it'll cost you a little more.
The homeless could be wrapped in inexpensive blankets made from Great Danes and Saint Bernards. Rich River Oaks wives wouldn't be caught dead in anything other than the finest teacup poodle or Yorkie. Trendy yet rebellious gothic club kids would sport Doberman or rottweiler ensembles.
Frank Billingsley (KPRC) could have that annoying dog Radar made into a pair of pajamas, and we could finally be spared from seeing that pathetic act for good!
Name withheld by request
Apologies, please: Your recent issue about animals was both offensive and immature. I volunteer for an animal rescue group, and I do not find shooting animals with BB guns or recipes featuring dog meat the least bit funny.
The author was practically bragging about the harm he did to cats as a child! Do you realize, or even care, that children who harm or kill animals often grow up to commit murder?
I feel an apology is in order, and also an article about spaying and neutering to reduce animal overpopulation.
Getting it: The article is gutsy and dead on. Jonathan Swift would be proud. The recipes at the end were the perfect touch ["Canine Cuisine," by Robb Walsh]. Be warned however, that Swift's Modest Proposal basically received three types of responses from his readers. The first group "got it" and praised him for his sharp irony that so brought a tragic reality into focus.
The second group (God bless them) attacked him for his heartlessness and lack of humanity (just insert Emily Litella here).
The third group, and this gets scary, not only praised his innovative ideas, but asked where they might be able to invest in such a business venture.
I'm curious to see what kind of responses you guys get. After all, this is Texas. By the way, people, for God's sake, spay and neuter your damn pets!
Baby backs? How sick. What's next week, how to cook a baby? Hope that reporter doesn't live in my neighborhood.
Do what we can: The piece is cleverly written. Indeed, it is too clever by half. Unlike Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal, which Rich Connelly obviously (and avowedly) imitates, his piece lacks the ironic consistency to convey a clear point of view.
In fact, spaying and neutering can significantly reduce the stray and feral animal population, especially if carried out under the guidance of an organization like Alley Cat Allies (alleycat.org).
It is better to kill them than to let them starve, but affirming that their lives have value and adapting to their needs is entirely possible.
Euthanize the abusers: I can't believe you would print this. Recipes for dog? I am a huge animal lover, a citizen who does all I can to help strays. I have never found strays to be a nuisance, but people who abandon them are another story. I would rather see these assholes who neglect, dump and abuse animals euthanized.
As far as I'm concerned, these folks are taking up valuable oxygen here. Shame on these lowlifes for being so irresponsible and selfish. May they suffer one day for their actions.
Full coarse meal: As a lifelong dog lover, I was much appalled and want to howl about your recent story on recipes for serving them as food.
While the dishes you suggest sound tempting, you missed several of my favorites: spaghetti and muttballs, poached poodle, blackened beagle, buffalo weimaraner wild wings, terrier tetrazzini and my all-time top of the hydrant, chicken-fried chow.
For dessert, don't forget the Pomeranian pie à la mode. If these suggestions leave you panting and you'd like the complete recipes, just hike your leg and let me know.
Gary "Junkyard Q. Dogg" Taylor
The wrong grill: I had to check the date at the top of the issue to make sure that your article was not another one of your April Fools' stories.
Hooking up a pug to the electric chair not only would ruin the flavor but also would cause a stench of burning fur that would send the air-pollution monitors off the charts. To properly cook a hound, it should be given a good whack, gutted, skinned and placed directly on the grill, with a healthy basting of barbecue sauce.
Name withheld by request
Tsunami solution: Personally, I think you should be taken out in back of the woodshed and shot, not the poor, starving animal fighting for its existence because of cruel, heartless and thoughtless people such as yourself.
Why not write a follow-up article offending everyone by saying you have a solution for all those orphaned children in the tsunami-stricken countries?
I plan to contact the various companies who advertise in your "paper" and make them aware that you have offended hundreds of thousands of Houstonians who do care, who do make a difference, who get out in their community and try to help.
Neuter the writers: I was horrified by the articles these idiots wrote -- talk about needing to be spayed or neutered! God forbid these people are able to reproduce.
Most people would not think these were amusing or helpful in the least; I'm sure I will not be the only animal activist who disapproves!
Compassionate outrage: I am totally appalled at this article. I love animals (and I have a sense of humor), but any human being who has an ounce of compassion for things other than himself will be outraged.
Unfortunately, dogs and cats cannot get up in the morning and keep themselves clean with a nice hot bath and loofah sponge. They cannot get to the grocery store to buy food or medicine. It's humanity's negligence that allows them to procreate like mad. Unfortunately, this story discourages spaying and neutering and hints that it is ineffective.
I hope you find an opposing viewpoint that gives accurate accounts of the good work done by adoption and rescue groups (including SNAP).
BARC problems: Your article is going to get more people upset about BARC, and rightfully so! Your lighthearted approach to this serious problem hopefully will get more exposure for BARC and how they still haven't changed their ways after claiming that they will.
Animals at BARC live in less-than-desirable conditions, and it seems like a few staff members are clueless. It also sounds like BARC could use some tips from Harris County if they operate on a smaller budget and do things more efficiently.
Besides doing more spaying and neutering, BARC also needs to realize that all dogs should be scanned for microchips. The simple solution is education, mainly about spaying and neutering.
Recycled Canines Dalmatian Rescue
Improving the pound: Have you ever been to BARC? Do you actually do any animal adoptions or rescues? Did you talk to anyone at BARC, or anyone volunteering there? Many people are involved in trying to improve things there.
I go to BARC and take animals to the offsite adoptions (which wasn't even mentioned in your article) at PETsMART on three Saturdays a month.
A column on the good that can be found at BARC would have been much more appropriate than the BB gunner, the "Canine Cuisine" and the Neuticles.
Alpo option: While I agree that something needs to be done about the strays and the Houston pound, to suggest that "roving SWAT teams" go through the city killing certain categories of dogs, and all cats they see, is nothing less than inhuman, abhorrent and barbaric!
Then, to suggest that the remains of these animals be used as food for the poor and homeless shows a degree of idiocy that I do not believe I have ever seen before. Perhaps we should have a roving SWAT team locate Richard Connelly, "put him down" and feed him to the stray dogs and cats of our fair city.
Eating her up: Hey kiddos, great ideas in that article!
I got more. How about let's go back to cannibalism. I'm sure humans have more meat than animals, and especially if we have humans just using our air -- you know, like homeless people or maybe the elderly who no one seems to care for.
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How about letting gangs do their own thing and shoot people just like that idiot Mouse (staff writer), just because people are annoying.
Have you noticed how they're similar to the animals he speaks of? People shit and piss everywhere, steal, kill and have no remorse for anyone.
And shame on BARC, the SPCA and other places that call themselves humane to the animals.