A Dog's Death
Online readers comment on "Keiko, The Injured BARC Dog, Gets A Second Opinion," Hair Balls blog, by Craig Malisow, Friday, March 19:
No resources: She died today after they performed the surgery at BARC to remove her eyes. She started to crash and they did not have the resources to provide the proper level of care. No presurgery diagnostics were done. Why did they deny Dr. Cooper's request to provide treatment within the first 24 hours when the resources and money were available? BARC is nothing but a butcher shop.
Unwarranted vitriol: This bashing is really ridiculous. How many high-volume shelters in the South would have done as much for Keiko as the caring staff members of BARC did? Not many. I can tell you that for a fact. Poor Keiko was seen by five different doctors, including two outside doctors (one of whom was an eye specialist!). I don't know what the general situation at BARC is, but they certainly did their very best to do right by this seriously injured dog (including the fact that they made sure that she was treated for her pain). Honestly, I'm starting to believe that some of the BARC bashers simply seem to have some sort of personal ax to grind. The vitriol, in this case, is completely unwarranted. RIP, Keiko; you were loved by many.
Stop the bashing!
Not bashing: Craig Malisow does a lot for BARC animals. He works with Robyn Arouty to get the word out. I don't know of any other journalist in Houston working with BARC to get animals adopted. He has accurately researched and written about what has happened at BARC. There is a lot that goes on there that regular volunteers know nothing about because they've been beaten into submission. Ask too many questions, and you get labeled a troublemaker and are eventually shown the door.
BARC is a very difficult place to volunteer because it doesn't have the resources to operate in a decent manner. You go there thinking you can help change things, and you quickly learn that the situation is almost beyond hope. Some will call this BARC bashing — I call it an honest opinion protected by the First Amendment. By the way, I'm sure that City Council is glad to hear from everyone who says BARC is fantastic, as that will just indicate to them that BARC's budget can get cut.
Vicious: The fact that this dog was ultimately going to go to a rescue is not being disputed and is appreciated. However, the dog should have been given immediately to rescue because BARC is not equipped to handle trauma and emergency medical situations. This is not bashing. This is simply a fact, and if you have to bury your head in the sand so that you can volunteer at BARC every day and pat yourself on the back later, then be my guest.
There is no doubt in my mind that the biggest impediment to change for BARC is not City Hall but a very small group of volunteers who predictably and compulsively apologize for BARC. I have never in my life encountered a more vicious and vile group of people.
I've got news for the volunteers — there will not be a hero in this story. Change for BARC is going to take a lot of people, including those who are critical of BARC. You can go to BARC every day, all damn day, and you still are not going to be the one to solve all the problems and save every animal.
The death of Keiko was preventable and horrific. I am sure that BARC does some good things, but that does not mean that major changes don't need to be made or that there shouldn't be accountability for the numerous errors made with Keiko's care.
On another note, it is not acceptable outside of Nazi Germany for citizens to be banned from public buildings because they publicly voice criticism of a city department. I can't believe that I have to point this out, but folks, this is not okay. Volunteers at a municipal animal shelter should not have to live in fear of being banned.
BARC still has problems that need to be fixed and I hope that people will continue to push for those changes.
Rest in Peace Keiko
The Classy Congressman
"Which Classy Texas Congressman Shouted 'Baby Killer' Last Night? (Updated)," by Richard Connelly, March 22:
Show yourself: Says everything that whoever shouted isn't man enough to admit to it. Class and integrity, GOP!
Enough already: I think it is high time there were some new rules and punishments adopted for our House and Senate. This guy should have been removed from the room and fined, reprimanded. This has gone on long enough, from low-life Cheney shouting obscenities, to the "liar" guy heckling our president, to this one last night shouting "baby killer." Enough is enough! We need to start a petition and demand that our reps conduct themselves in a professional manner rather than like drunk, immature college boys.
Poison: Republicans in Congress stuck together in refusing to compromise with the Democrats. Now they stand together in protecting a member guilty of issuing a gross insult to a colleague. As a Democrat, I could rejoice in the dimwitted partisanship of the "loyal" opposition, since it must eventually lead to their political downfall. But the poison it spreads in our public discourse sickens me as much as it does them.
Houston Press writer cited for his criminal justice investigation
Houston Press staff writer Chris Vogel has been named a winner of the 2009 PASS Awards, sponsored by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.
Vogel won the national award in the newspaper division for his story "For Their Own Good" [May 28, 2009], in which he determined that in the Harris County jail, juveniles who are certified as adults are held in isolation 23 hours of every day — and this is before they go to trial. As Vogel discovered, not even the judges involved in these juvenile cases knew this was happening.
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