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When I needed help with a mean raccoon, where was Pinellas County Animal Services?

Animal services' work disappoints

We have a whole mess of raccoons tearing up stuff. I trapped a mean one and was told by Pinellas County Animal Services that I had to pay $30 for them to pick it up. What? Why even bother to have that department?

They have only added salt to an open wound. My neighborhood is overrun with cats, raccoons and opossums. I was told to let the raccoon go or bring it to Animal Services. So now I am expected to do all their work.

Whoever is in charge of the budget should be ashamed to let taxpayers have to do the job our dollars are supposed to pay for. Quality of life, my foot.

So I let the mean raccoon go. So much for rabies worries. They took away neuter and spay services, so now what? More animals than people.

Phyllis Dodge, St. Petersburg

Re: No-wake zone is unnecessary | letter, Oct. 17

Boating rules enhance safety

Letter writer Jim D'Piazza highlights exactly why these zones are necessary to help boaters unfamiliar with the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Rules.

To aid both new boaters and so-called "experienced" boaters, there are two excellent organizations in the U.S. Power Squadron and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary that routinely offer safe boating classes to individuals operating power, sail and personal water craft to help protect themselves and others, as well as to safely operate their own vessels. The local groups offering classes are the Anclote Key Sail and Power Squadron and the Tarpon Springs Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-9.

There are some misconceptions stated by the writer that contradict the navigation rules. First, no rule states that "boaters entering the channel need to yield." Rule 15, however, describes a crossing situation where a boat that has the other boat on its starboard (right) side shall keep out of the way and avoid crossing ahead. (His reference to Rule 9 applies to larger, deep-draft vessels that can only operate safely in a channel, not smaller power boats.)

Second, the reference to a channel as an "interstate" is not prudent, dangerous and conflicts with Rule 6, safe speed. This says that every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so it can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and stop within an appropriate distance considering prevailing conditions such as other boats or the weather.

In total, there are only 16 steering and navigation rules to become familiar with, and three — safe speed, overtaking (Rule 13), head-on situation (Rule 14), and crossing situation — are ones boaters face every time they operate their vessel. Basic familiarity with just these would make our waters safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

Carl Roth, Port Richey

Grocers cool to reusable bags

In the interest of doing the environment a favor, I suggest you assign one of your reporters to determine why local grocery chains are not more receptive to customers who bring in reusable tote bags.

I spent the past summer in Dayton, Ohio, where the Kroger Co. encouraged us to bring in reusable carry-out bags, paying us 3 cents each. I normally brought in four bags.

The response of Publix, Sweetbay and Winn-Dixie has been less than enthusiastic — no pennies refund, no thanks, no comment on our effort to reduce the use of plastic bags and thus reduce the stores' costs while helping the environment.

Charles A. Adams, Tarpon Springs

When I needed help with a mean raccoon, where was Pinellas County Animal Services? 10/19/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 9:05pm]
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