Torturing cat brings 364 days in jail | Feb. 24
Shifting standards on killing animals
It was tragic the way Mittens the cat was shot, tortured and tossed in the bay to die by Giovanni Estrada. There is no doubt about that. But the incident gives us something to think about: Would he have gotten the same year in jail if the cat were a rat?
In our society, it's okay to torture and kill some animals, yet it's not okay to torture and kill others.
We have sympathy for domesticated pets, yet we can poison rats and mice and snap their necks with traps without any consequences or feel much compassion.
We can't chop our dog's head off and eat its flesh — that would be cruelty — yet by law we can trap and kill rabbits, slaughter a cow, kill a deer dead in its tracks with arrows or bullets, and shoot game from the sky. It's not okay to kill a bald eagle, yet killing a pheasant is legally fine.
Was Estrada's impulse to kill the animal any worse than the premeditated behaviors and killings of other creatures by hunters? No matter what the classification, they are all living, breathing animals.
It just makes you wonder why the abuse and killing of some animals draw no attention or compassion from most people, while the abuse and killing of others do.
Douglas Vance, Tampa
Penalty was deserved
I was happy to read in the Times that Hillsborough Circuit Judge Daniel Sleet gave a sentence of 364 days in jail in a case of outright animal cruelty to a cat.
The judge is to be commended. There should be more judges like him giving stiff penalties in cases of animal cruelty.
Rosemary Schaumloffel, Port Richey
How a good cop died | Feb. 24
Keep reward current
Those who established the reward for Officer David Crawford's killer deserve thanks. With the help of the media, word of the reward traveled quickly and resulted in a swift arrest.
But the reward should not stop here. For the future support of our police officers, a reward fund should be established for our law enforcement and be well publicized so that every man, woman and child knows that once they shoot a police officer in St. Petersburg, there will be bounty of $100,000 placed on their head. Hoodlums will have nowhere to run and hide.
Let it be known that the citizens of St. Petersburg are 100 percent behind their law enforcement and they are tough on crime.
Ronald C. Cole, St. Petersburg
Gov. Rick Scott
Governor's only a salesman
When I first heard of Rick Scott, I was of the opinion he was the kind of mastermind corporate pirate Americans love, the kind who got away with it. His former company paid him millions of dollars as a reward for his brilliance.
After his first two months as governor, I realize I misread the situation. They did not pay Scott for services rendered; they paid him to go away before his malfeasance ruined them. Scott's arrogance blinded him to the fact that the skill set that enabled him to build a company is not the same skill set needed to run a company.
Scott is not some mastermind, but rather a supersalesman. Maybe if we take up a collection, we can pay him to leave office before he does to the state of Florida what he did to his former company.
Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg
Clean water is all they ask for | Feb. 26
Basic need left unmet
Thank you for writing about the drinking water situation in Palm River. The leaders of Tampa and Hillsborough County all talk about attracting high-end companies to locate here and tout how wonderful it is to live and work here, yet they both let a festering open wound remain untreated.
Stuck between these two great local governments, the tiny community of Palm River suffers with unclean drinking water because the city and county will not come together to solve what most Third World countries have managed to solve.
Every day we see masses of North African citizens demonstrating for more responsive governments and leaders. How would the present mayor and City Council of Tampa, county commissioners and the candidates for office react to thousands of protesters in a public square in downtown Tampa?
How would it play in the national, and perhaps world news media, to see a peaceful demonstration in Tampa for clean drinking water?
Fred Jacobsen, Apollo Beach
Waiting means more deaths
State Rep. Robert Schenck says that he is against legislation that would create a prescription drug monitoring database in Florida because he would prefer a more comprehensive solution. I somehow doubt that.
A comprehensive solution would include creating addiction treatment centers instead of just sending people to jail. It would mean having more social workers at schools and in communities so that we would spot problems early. A comprehensive single-payer health care plan would also help stop prescription drug abuse since it would allow us to identify doctors who were working as drug pushers instead of healers.
I'd actually be in favor of these things if that is what Rep. Schenck wants, but if he doesn't plan on introducing these types of changes, he should probably vote for the database. It won't solve all the problems, but it's a start. Waiting will just mean more lives lost to addiction, jail, or death.
Melissa Becker, Clearwater
Bondi wants stricter rules on felons' rights Feb. 25
The way to more crime
There is something oxymoronic about the notion of tighter clemency. It sounds like an excellent idea to run up the recidivism rate: Put them away for a long time, and then make it as difficult as possible for them to return to a normal life.
If the governor wants to save money, he should disband the Clemency Board; then they won't have meet to deny clemency. The number of inmates who have had their sentences commuted over the past 12 years wouldn't fill a school bus.
Donald Rourke, Tampa