The plan: Trap cats, neuter, release | May 2
Outdoor cats present health risks
I commend Victor Crist, the only county commissioner to vote "no" on the Animal Services department's plan to reduce euthanasia rates in part by sanctioning the practice of maintaining "colonies" of cats outdoors. I have been researching, writing and speaking on the issue of trap-neuter-release programs for over 10 years. Although cat advocacy organizations have pressured local governments throughout the country to adopt ordinances permitting TNR or "community cats" programs, these policies are not in the interest of public health, safety and welfare.
Credible scientific research is conclusive that maintaining cats outdoors poses substantial public health risks and causes detrimental impacts on wildlife. As an attorney, I would add the practice violates private property rights because cat colony "caretakers" often do not have the permission of property owners on whose land they feed the cats and allow them to roam.
Maintaining cat colonies outdoors is tantamount to cat hoarding outdoors and does nothing to reduce the number of homeless cats. On the contrary, it exacerbates the problem by sending a public message that it is acceptable to abandon one's unwanted cat to become a "community cat."
Thank you, Commissioner Crist, for having the courage to stand up for the squirrels, birds, and public health, safety and welfare.
Pamela Jo Hatley, Tampa
Execution bill tempts fatal errors May 6, editorial
No room for error
Leave it to the Florida Legislature to enact an egregious measure that runs counter to common sense, justice and recent history. The Timely Justice Act will risk the wrongful execution of truly innocent inmates.
The U.S. Supreme Court has acknowledged that when it comes to appellate review of criminal convictions, "Death is different." Contrary to the simplistic and politically attractive blather that the length of time involved in death penalty appeals is due to "legal gamesmanship and legal quibbling," the greatest degree of care must be observed in reviewing the court processes leading to execution.
Florida is a leader in the number of exonerations of convicted death row inmates. The ill-conceived and unjust Timely Justice Act will accomplish nothing except to increase the likelihood that more wrongfully convicted inmates will be executed in the interest of political expediency.
If our state and nation are to persist in being among the few remaining governments to utilize capital punishment (note that more and more states are acting to ban the death penalty), we must maintain the highest degree of examination possible to ensure that only the truly guilty — and deserving — are subjected to this most extreme measure. This foolish legislation begs to be vetoed, and Gov. Rick Scott, in the interest of justice, must oblige.
Morry Bornstein, Seminole
Budget plan's deficits | May 6, letter
Congress is covered
The writer argues that Congress is not under Medicare and Social Security.
That is a common misconception. Those who take this erroneous position feel that members of Congress are not concerned about Social Security and Medicare because they do not pay into the system.
All members of Congress, the president and vice president and federal judges were covered under the Social Security program and Medicare starting in January 1984.
Jim Demer, Tampa
Fatal shooting of toddler | May 6
In Kentucky, a 5-year-old boy shot and killed his 2-year-old sister. The rifle was given to him as a present. The parents didn't know it was loaded but it was. Now they have to live the rest of their lives knowing that they are responsible for the death of their daughter.
A 5-year-old has not yet developed a sense of judgment. That is why we don't allow them to drive a car. Providing them with a weapon that can kill is a tragic mistake.
John Krevens, New Port Richey
We are Duke Energy | May 6, commentary
Column not on point
Alex Glenn's milquetoast response to Bob Trigaux's piece on Duke Energy skirted around the real point of customer frustration.
Our concern is not with Duke's 4,200 hardworking employees or the reliability of service, as Glenn seems to suggest. Our beef is with the senior executive-level decision to actively lobby for fee increases to fund a nuclear power plant that customers may never see.
Jason Medin, Tampa
Peace and quiet, please
On April 26, Florida's Senate voted against reinstating a law banning excessive automobile noise. One senator, Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, explained, "I believe in the healing power of music, and if I want to drive down the street and heal everybody around me, I should be able to."
Those are the words of a don't-tell-me-what-to-do adolescent, not a thoughtful advocate for the public good. Clemens and his fellow naysayers apparently don't believe that you and I have the right to carry on a conversation in our car, choose our own radio station to listen to, or have a baby asleep in the back seat.
I have declared myself a one-issue voter on this bill. I will be voting against any senator who believes it's okay to assail my ears in public.
Jean Reynolds, Winter Haven
Condos have a bone to pick | May 5
Keep communities pet-free
Your article about rules allowing pets in pet-free condo communities was a disservice to every person who lives in such communities specifically to avoid the filth, vermin, noise and other problems associated with pets.
You not only showed pet owners how to undo these communities, you also gave them contact info that would help them to do so. Shame on you for publishing this one.
Pet owners have many pet-friendly communities where they can live; why must they trample the rights and health issues of those who do not want to live with animals?
Those who are pushing so hard to move pets into pet-free communities might think twice if people with vicious dogs, potbellied pigs, boa constrictors and screeching parrots decided they needed the "emotional support" of such animals and moved in next door to the little old ladies with cats.
Sondra Biggart, Largo