Letters To The Editor
Cat violation The decision by the Hillsborough County Commissioners that allows the release of feral and stray cats back into the environment by Hillsborough County Animal Services violates its own animal ordinance. To my knowledge, this was never mentioned in any discussion by the commissioners. Hillsborough County Animal Ordinance 00-26, as amended by Ordinance 03-8, Section 10, states: “no dog or cat shall be allowed to stray, run or go at large upon any public property or street, sidewalk, park or on the private property of another without the consent of the property owner.” It further states: “In order for a dog or cat to be allowed on a public street, road, park or other public property … the dog or cat shall be under the direct control of the owner or keeper … to insure the safety and protection of both the public and other animals.” Pursuant to Hillsborough County Animal Ordinance 00-26, violation of any of the above will result in fines per animal per violation incident in the following: first offense, $100; second offense, $200; third offense, mandatory court appearance before a judge. Isn’t this a double standard? Private cat owners who allow their neutered cats to roam can be fined by the county for doing what the county can now do with impunity.There are good reasons for that ordinance. Even if a cat is neutered, if it is allowed out in the wild it will kill native wildlife and birds; it can spread diseases to other wildlife as well as to humans, and these stray, hungry, unclean felines can become a nuisance to property owners. The commissioners’ action may also have violated provisions of the federal Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Act. These hungry, feral cats will strive to stay alive primarily by killing other wildlife and birds, some of which are endangered species. Commissioner Victor Crist should be commended for voting against this bad decision. It is hoped that the other Hillsborough County commissioners will consider reversing their decision without delay. Jack C. Wolff Plant City Learn English Jesus Guevara is about to be deported because he’s an illegal alien. (Metro, May 2) He has worked, lived and paid taxes for 15 years and doesn’t want to go back to Mexico. But isn’t it interesting that he talked to a crowd at a rally through a Spanish interpreter. What? Over 15 years he didn’t learn English? We need immigrants, but we need those who are interested in becoming a part of the country. Charles Hemrich Wesley Chapel Suspensions It doesn’t require a workshop to know why black males have the highest suspension rate among Hillsborough County students. Their level of misbehavior is directly related to socioeconomic status and gender. We all know environment is more important then skin color. Boys are more overt than girls and generally more disruptive. This is borne out by the district data showing they account for nearly 65 percent of total suspensions. The School Board would do well to dismiss the inane politically correct notion that “cultural sensitivity training” is part of the solution. The job of educators is to instruct, not bond. How ironic that the same public education system that supports the big government intrusion that has decimated minority family life finds itself the victim of its handiwork and believes greater interference is an appropriate solution.
Joseph C. Gardner
Column: A trip down the Apalachicola shows a natural river fighting for its life in a war over water