From the week of November 26, 2009
Thank you, Westword, for giving the feral cat problem some light before the general public. People who move out of their homes (mobile, apartments, houses, etc.) and leave their cats, rather than take them with them, sentence their former pets to a rough life at best and, worst-case scenario, to death. The cat's ability to breed compounds the problem every six months or so, and the multiple offspring, too, are then sentenced to a life of suffering. Rescuers, rescue agencies and public animal shelters are their only angels of mercy. If you learn only one thing from this comprehensive article, it's this: Please take your unwanted cats to a local animal shelter or rescue. Never abandon them to fend for themselves.
As a regular reader who's usually irritated by gaping holes in your point of view, I have to admit you knocked one out of the park with Alan Prendergast's article about the feral cat challenges that plague Denver. Ferals are a sad and under-addressed reality of human stupidity. They are also an ethical gray area where even the most die-hard rescuer is sometimes forced to admit that "the poor creature would be better off dead than afraid the rest of its days."
I did want to take issue with two items:
"Hoarders often begin as animal rescuers but soon become overwhelmed": Hoarding is a mental illness, and while, as a twenty-year-plus rescuer, I admit that what we do isn't normal by many people's standards, 99 percent are not hoarders. Also, every rescuer is overwhelmed; this is the sad reality of picking up where irresponsible people have left off.
Doug Kelley's quote: "It's a fine line between being a responsible person who helps take care of a colony and hoarding. We've certainly been on properties where well-meaning people have a hundred-plus cats." Much like the above comment about rescuers being hoarders, Kelley's comment is light on fact. Not one of the cases listed in the article came out of Denver. I do not disagree that there are colonies of 100 or more animals in areas of Denver, but anyone who's met a feral cat knows they aren't animals where "having them" in a proprietary sense is a possibility. We are just the cleaning crew of someone else's mess.
In all, though, one of your more balanced and well-thought-out articles.
Name withheld on request
Wow, you guys really must respect the power of the Independence Institute in general, and Jon Caldara in particular, to publish such a rant. Apparently ol' Jon and company really get under Kenny Be's skin. Kenny's got 'em on the ropes, though. I doubt any entity could survive the withering fire of an onslaught such as that. Any day now folks will be clamoring for Caldara's head — notwithstanding liberals and inbred elves sitting on toadstools, hacking away at government websites on Atari computers.
Mr. Be is so close to the answer to society's ills that the cartoon could precipitate an epiphany: Everybody should contribute to society according to his or her ability, and everybody should receive from society according to his or her need! That way, the new coin of the realm will amount to how talented one is at conjuring the appearance of neediness! Just think: Good folk who possess ability and the capacity for productivity will fiercely compete to see who's best at providing luxury for those who contribute nothing to society. Wait a minute...maybe I'm plagiarizing here. Yes, come to think of it, I've heard that philosophy somewhere before. I'm unable at the moment to recall exactly where I heard it, but I'm reasonably certain it had nothing to do with Ayn Rand.
I've heard it said in the music biz that "you can't say you've made it 'til you've been spoofed by 'Weird Al' Yankovic." I now suppose the same is true for politics: "You can't consider yourself a legitimate force in public opinion 'til you've sufficiently frightened Westword enough to be trashed in its pages."
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