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I think everyone is focusing on treating the symptom instead of the cause. The New Port Richey City Council talked about punishing people for feeding strays. Not only will this not solve the problem, but it is animal cruelty.

The true solution to the problem of stray animals is encouraging people to take the animals to get spayed/neutered. The city could offer low cost spay/neuter and provide traps for people who want to help. There is actually a low cost spay/neuter clinic in Port Richey called PAWS (Pasco Animal Welfare Society),

If the city itself wanted to promote spay/neuter, it could pass a law mandating that all pets are spayed or neutered by the time they are 4- to 6-months old. Breeders could be charged a high fee for a license, and that fee could provide the city with money to fund low cost spay/neuter for strays and possibly also pets.

I will be presenting this to the council.

Jodi Chemes, New Port Richey

There are options for helping strays

It is stated the animal control ordinance would help control colonies of stray animals. However, simply outrageously fining people who feed these animals will not stop the animals from multiplying. In fact if caregivers discontinue assisting these animals, it will greatly increase their numbers. The poor animals will just be in deplorable health.

Many colonies are controlled by caregivers who have the cats spayed/neutered and returned to the colony. The caregivers feed and care for them. One low cost spay and neuter clinic is Petluv in Hernando County, the last time I checked a male cat neuter was $20 and a female cat spay was $25. Why not work with caregivers and others to promote trap, neuter and release which actually decreases cat populations? Why turn neighbor against neighbor and make the poor animals suffer the results of irresponsible pet owners?

For years Alley Cat has recommended trap, neuter and release. This method had shown to be the most sensible and successful in controlling feral cat populations. The site even has a resource center for animal control agencies and for other people concerned about the well being of stray/feral cats.

A successful example is the Pasco Animal Control's recent spay and neuter day. They had 100 slots and on the first reservation day, they filled all slots. Many people want to help abandoned cats.

The solution isn't fining people, but seriously researching methods for dealing with feral animals and implementing a program in which citizens will comply and animals will benefit.

Stefanie Schatzman, Spring Hill

Animals, citizens have rights

The New Port Richey City Council is getting ready to pass a new animal control ordinance, one that the Humane Society of Pasco County has a few problems with and you should be aware of some of its sections:

Section 4-2 states that you have only have three animals per residential dwelling unit. This includes cats, dogs and birds. If you have two parakeets or two canaries, you can only have one dog or cat. The council talked about changing the number allowed, but will they?

Section 4-15 states if you feed a stray dog or cat that is hungry and comes onto your property, you will be breaking the law and could be fined up to $500.

Florida Statute 828.12 reads, "any person who unnecessarily overloads, overdrives, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter or unnecessarily mutilates or kills any animal'' is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. And even Pasco County animal control ordinance section 14-37 reads that it is a violation and considered cruelty to animals to not provide necessary sustenance to any animal.

I know the city is trying to stop people from feeding large numbers of animals that then become a nuisance to neighbors. But, I'm sure there must be a better way to word the ordinance to achieve their goals than to tell all of its citizens they cannot feed starving animals on their property or they will be a law breaker.

Also, Section 4-27 reads that ''license tags required by this section shall be worn by the dog or cat at all times. It shall be a violation for any person to remove the license tag of any licenses dog or cat within the city.''

There are a few exceptions, but not included is that you, as the owner of said animal, can take the tag off in your own home or on your own property. So, if you take off your animal's collar and tag at home or in your yard, you are breaking the law and can be fined.

Please get a copy of the proposed animal control ordinances for the city of New Port Richey and read through them. I feel your rights are being trampled.

Suellen Szesyski, president,

Humane Society of Pasco County Inc.

Give board an attendance policy

It is time for the District School Board of Pasco County to have some type of attendance policy for school board members.

In the past there have been some articles in your paper in regard to one of the members being absent a great deal of the time. I contacted Rep. John Legg and he informed me about the Students & Advisory Councils on their attendance policy. After research I found that the School Board does not have any attendance policy for its members.

I attended a School Board meeting June 19 and presented my views on the attendance of School Board members. Florida Law 1003.26 provides attendance policy for their students. Also State Statute 1001.42(16) and 1008.345 has rules for the Student Advisory Councils, on attendance. I said since the students and the advisory councils have attendance policies, the School Board should set an example by doing the same.

I wrote to Chairman Marge Whaley, and copied to the other School Board members certified return receipt requested, on July 5 asking Marge Whaley to discuss and give consideration to an attendance policy for School Board members at the next scheduled district School Board meeting. On July 6, Marge Whaley sent me a reply: "I am in receipt of your letter. I will not bring up an attendance policy for elected School Board members at the next meeting or any other meeting.

"If any other member wishes to bring this up for discussion then I will address the issue."

When I went back to the School Board Web site, below is what was in the minutes that were approved at the July 10 meeting.

"Judy Kennedy of New Port Richey expressed her displeasure that the School Board does not have an attendance policy for Board Members, although they do for students.''

As registered voter, and taxpayer, I feel that the elected School Board members who are being paid $37,500 per year should be governed by attendance policy.

Judy M. Kennedy, Elfers