Leashing Out

Mr. K's kind: It makes me very sad that your awful article about Mr. K's seemed to be an attack on the women who are literally giving up a normal life in their efforts to save lives ["A Dog's Life," by Margaret Downing, April 8]. You make a lot of insinuations about funds but fail to offer proof of any wrongdoing.

And not one word about the disgusting people who overbreed, mistreat, dump, won't spay or neuter and so forth. Yes, the management talent is lacking, and maybe Leslie Van Biljon is not all sweet and charming, and I agree that they don't need to be taking in horses. I can say that Jackie and Wilma are doing all they can with very little.

Did you even consider that you could have told your story in a constructive rather than destructive manner? Maybe suggest that donations could be made directly to Dr. Wood for Mr. K's account, donations of food and litter and other badly needed supplies.

I donate to Mr. K's, have for several years and will continue to do so, unless you manage to get them shut down.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if your attack had the reverse response and the animal lovers in this city rallied to their defense, and gosh, maybe helped you find another job!

Dusty West

No good news: I have been out there to Mr. K's and have seen the dogs fed, watered, bathed and their cages cleaned every day. There is not one dog or cat that is not well taken care of and/or given everything they need. The dog you spoke of, George, is my favorite. He is mean to other dogs only because of the people who had him before he was brought to Mr. K's, not because of anyone taking care of him now.

I didn't like what you wrote, and you hurt a lot of people's feelings. And yes, I understand that is part of your job, but it must really suck being you.

If you care for the dogs so much, did you donate any time or money? You didn't give them any kind of credit or nice praise. Why is that?

Charlene Reynolds

Balanced story: Thank you for writing this article. I have heard about this place for years. All bad news. I think you were fair and reasonable in the article.

Sandy White
Houston Great Pyrenees Rescue

Gimme shelter: I find it infuriating to read Ms. Downing's criticisms of Mr. K's and the wonderful people who try to keep a no-kill shelter running. If you are going to point out only the problems at Mr. K's, why not offer some solutions? Why not educate the public on spay/neuter clinics and their responsibilities to these wonderful companions?

I recently adopted a small dog named Lilly from Mr. K's. She was left there pregnant and heartworm-positive (by her owners), so if she had been left at any other facility, she would have been immediately put down -- dead! So, according to Ms. Downing, she would have been better off dead than in the cage where I found her.

Next time, Ms. Downing, concentrate on who is really to blame here: the stupid human owners who dump and torture these sweet animals, not the people trying to protect them!

Rhonda Blodgett

Clean bill: If Mr. K's is such a horrible place, why doesn't the county shut it down? You see weekly reports of animal abuse and neglect; I have never heard of Mr. K's in association with those behaviors.

Kate Piper

Pulp Pit?

Ask Clara's friends: Sweet story ["Lindsey's Loss," by Steven Long, April 8]. Steven Long should have asked Clara Harris's friends for an interview and gotten the truth. Instead he has created a work of fiction.

A good read nevertheless; plus he can make money on a family's devastating tragedy.

Paula Elsner

Derf and Dumb

Bush's body count: Criticism of our commander in chief's policies through civilized debate, symbolic speech, even civil disobedience is welcomed and protected in this country by the First Amendment. However, The City comic strip by Derf on April 8 only showed disrespect for the millions of military families whose loved ones have chosen to serve, and even more to those who have received that fateful knock at the door by an officer notifying the next of kin.

Using this as the basis to allege Bush is a coward is a slap in the face, not only to the officer who has to deliver this unfathomable news but to every person who ever paid the ultimate price while serving their country.  

The comic strip was disrespectful to the very people Derf should thank the most, the people who have allowed him to live free because they served.

James Beebe

Too close to home: I am angry over the cartoon that shows our president delivering a slain serviceman to the doorstep of his/her parents. Regardless of one's view of the war, it is appalling to make fun of the deaths of our fellow citizens sworn to protect us. What about the families of slain soldiers reading such trash in your paper? Do you have no concern for their feelings, their loss? Are there any adults at the Press?

Gee, maybe us cool kids can all get together and poke fun at Ms. Graves, the Press employee who was recently shot. Let's belittle her injuries and trauma. I am sure she will appreciate our cutting-edge humor as she attempts to recover her life.

Perhaps death and injury are not so humorous when they're close to home. You owe many people apologies. God bless Ms. Graves and our servicemen and women.

Max Martino

Strict Enforcement

All on the same page: Mr. Wolin should be thankful his children attend a school with an administration that'll take action to keep their school safe [Letters, "The Wrong Lessons," April 1]. "Sending a message" is a valid reason to react strongly, for it lets kids know the rule of law will be enforced without consideration of the good kid/bad kid labels. The result is not "loss of respect for the system" but respect for the system, for it teaches kids consequences.

As an HISD middle school teacher, I'd love to see our administration react similarly. Here, it's chronic under-reaction. The HISD administration bends rules for any parent who has the gumption to question them. For anything short of carrying a weapon, the punishment is as flexible as a rubber pencil. The result is "loss of respect for the system" and a generation of kids who have zero regard for the law. I commend the Katy administration for holding its ground.

Name withheld by request

Wolf Tracks

Memories of a visit: I am appalled to read what has happened to NAWA ["Cry of the Wolves," by Michael Serazio, April 1]. In 1998 I attended the class given by Rae Ott and went to the sanctuary afterward. Overall it was a wonderful experience. But as we wove through the trees to get back to the sanctuary, I wondered how the neighbors felt about it and whether the wolves would even be safe there.

I guess ultimately it was not the neighbors I should have been concerned about. To read about the suffering these animals had to endure devastates me. Working in the veterinary field, I know how horrible distemper is. I truly hope this woman, with even the best intentions, is never allowed to house animals like this again.

Jenn Grebe

Check it out: I would just like to thank Michael Serazio for researching and writing this article. I am a wolf advocate, but since I am unable to volunteer physically, I do donate to some of the sanctuaries. Luckily, news of the downfall of this sanctuary broke before I sent my donation.

I consider this to be a lesson for anyone who wishes to donate money to this type of cause. Be sure you thoroughly check out the different wolf sanctuaries before sending money. There are many very good ones that can use all the help they can get. I have visited all the wolf sanctuaries that I donate to. If you do this, you can see for yourselves what kind of facility you are giving to and how well the wolves are cared for.

Thank you again for your article.

Barbara A. Miller
Bel Air, Maryland

Border Vows

Doing one's homework: It is hard for me to come to the defense of CIS (the former INS), but I married a Mexican woman in 1999. We applied for a fiancée visa in May 1999, and the application was approved in June. We were married in October 1999. That wasn't hard, or particularly lengthy (though it seemed that way at the time).

We didn't have to stand in line in Juárez, but applicants for fiancée visas were ushered into the consulate in front of the Mexican nationals waiting in line.

As he is an immigrant himself, I would think that H. Jack Schyma ["Flight of Angels," by Josh Harkinson, April 15] would have thought to consult immigration authorities about how to get his wife legal immigrant status prior to having her give everything up for him. But Mr. Schyma seems to have a tremendous sense of entitlement and decided he could bully immigration authorities.  

I'm no expert, but I recall that it takes a lot longer to get an immigration visa for your wife (who must remain out of the country while it is processed) than it does a fiancée visa.

It is tempting to be impulsive and go ahead and get married. But when there are international borders in between, it isn't that easy. It is hard for me to sympathize with people who do it without checking out the rules and then complain later.

Maybe the United States isn't good enough for Mr. Schyma. Perhaps he should try another country that will do things his way.

Herb Clark

Bumbling bureaucracy: I married an Australian national and went through all the immigration procedures to obtain my Australian residency visa. It was an exercise in pedancy, but not overly difficult.

When my husband and I decided to relocate to the United States years later, I was embarrassed by the bumbling bureaucracy that was the immigration department and its procedures. (One of the countless forms was nonsensical. Officials told me they weren't sure what purpose the form served or how to fill it out, but just to do our best.)

Nevertheless, we obtained the paperwork he needed for a green card. He was processed in L.A. It took more than a year, and several months of active nagging by mail and phone, for him to receive his card. When he finally did, his country of origin was incorrectly stated. Instead of an Australian, I was now cohabiting with a French Polynesian! Lucky for us, that country was not currently looked at suspiciously by immigration agents. I can't imagine the trouble if he'd been incorrectly classified as from Afghanistan or Iraq.

After more than a year of trying to get the matter corrected and a visa reissued, we've given up. I worry about what may happen when we go home to visit family and try to re-enter. Other Australians have told us not to worry; most of them have incorrect information on their green cards as well. This doesn't seem to bother the immigration officials in the least.


We have no hope of the United States' managing the entry of potentially threatening characters if they can't even get the "simple" stuff right.

Cassandra North
The Woodlands

Read This, Mr. K

Bichon bliss: I adopted Cherie five weeks ago from Small Paws ["Those Bichon Mutts," by Josh Harkinson, March 25]. My bichon Lucy died Christmas Eve. She had traveled with me since she was six weeks old. My business is nursing homes. Needless to say, I was heartbroken. Lucy was born with a sever subaortic valve stenosis, which was not repairable.

Once you own the breed, you will always own at least one bichon. The adoption experience with Small Paws was great. Everyone is so loving. Cherie is happy and healthy. She has been in 11 of my facilities. She is so friendly; the patients love her. It is amazing to watch even disoriented patients respond to her.

She has helped fill the huge empty space in my life.

Donna Davis
Louisville, Kentucky

Gray Matter

Injuries and work: Spalding Gray had brain damage ["Stage Death," by John Penner, April 15]. Yet he tried to work as if he were not hurt. My husband was brain-damaged eight years ago, and it took several difficult years for the doctors and me to convince him he could never work again.

One night, he finally accepted this. He had a dream where he tried to get into his office but the door was locked, and he looked over his shoulder to see me crying on the staircase by the elevators, begging him to come home.

He never asked about working again. And he is, miraculously, much better now.

It was very hard for him.

Elaine Supkis
Berlin, New York

Emotional story: We really appreciate your article about Spalding Gray. I gave a copy to the director of the Hippodrome Theater here, Lauren Caldwell, and she was very emotionally moved also.

Keep up the good work!

Carol Faas
Gainesville, Florida

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