Letters to the Editor- July 24, 2008

Dear Editor;

    Regarding the Tethering of Dogs, I must repudiate the statements of Kathy Carpenter in her letter that chaining a dog is “inhumane” and “chained dogs are more likely to bite.”  Despite claims that tethering of dogs leads to increased levels of aggression, Dr. Houpt’s team of researchers at Cornell University found otherwise.  Dr. Houpt, the James Law Professor of Animal Behavior in the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, is the world’s leading expert on tethering and aggression in dogs.  She and fellow reseachers published their study, “A Comparison of Tethering and Pen Confinement of Dogs” in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.  The study concluded that the tethering of dogs is a safe and humane means of confinement.

    Sled dogs are best confined by proper tethers.  Experienced musher, veterinarians and other medical professionals that are dog mushers recognize this and use tethering as the preferred method of confinement. Dogs on chains maintain better muscle tone than those housed in kennels, and it eliminates fence fighting and promotes play behavior between the dogs.  But the most important reason for housing the dogs on chains is they learn how to keep from getting tangled and how to get out of a tangle if they get in one.  This is vital to them if they should become tangled when running in a team.  A dog that panics and pulls and fights against the lines is likely to be injured.  Dogs that live on chains become so adept that they will keep going on three legs, raising the tangled leg so the line will slide off. For any dog that lives in an area that gets heavy snowfall tethering is the safest means of outdoor confinement.  There are subdivisions that do not allow fencing, there are dogs that will climb, dig and chew through fencing and there are many individual situtaions where tethering is the answer to safely confining a dog.

    However, I heartily concur with Ms. Carpenter that there is a lack of understanding and knowledge about dogs’ needs and desires.  And it is those irresponsible owners that put a dog on a chain in an inappropriate area and neglect its training and social needs.  But that is the owner who is being inhumane to the dog, not the onfinement by a chain.

    Please do not look to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for valid statements concerning animal welfare.  They are an animal rights organization that seeks to restrict use and ownership of animals, including hunting and fishing, pet and livestock ownership, rodeos, circuses, zoos and animal research.  Their ultimate goals are the extinction of domestic animals, the conversion to vegetarian diets, and abolition of hunting and fishing.  They pursue this radical agenda through a wide variety of means, but concentrate on passing legislation that appears to address animal welfare.  In reality, however, such legislation goes far beyond its superficial intent: placing severe restrictions on the rights of law-abiding animal owners and sportsmen.  These are the words of HSUS president Wayne Pacelle:  “We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding…  We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals.  They are creations of human selective breeding.”  HSUS receives millions of dollars from people who believe they are helping stray or abused animals.  But HSUS owns no shelters.  They are a fund raising and lobbying organization working to eliminate your pet!!

        Nancy Russell

    Less than 1 month left of summer!  Where did it go?  The La Veta Boosters have been busy gearing up for the school year. We thank Eddie Ray for building our new website, currently under construction, but will be up and running soon.  We apologize for the delay with the calendars.  I′m hoping to have them in the next couple weeks.  There will be many changes for next year.  We have less than 10 route ladies for over 1300 listings, and I′ve had no luck finding volunteers for the remaining routes.  So, beginning next year, we will streamline the entire process, by automatically reordering the same listings and number of calendars unless we hear otherwise.  This way, the order can be submitted months earlier.

     Look for T-shirts for the Pikes Peak Run to Remember.  This event is sponsored by Keep Kids Alive, Drive 25!  It takes place on August 16, 2008 and with the permission of the Taggart family, we added Ian to the list.  There are no more slots available for the run, but you can support this event by purchasing a shirt or simply making a donation.  Call me if you would be interested in either.

     Last, but not least, I would like to remind everyone of our "No Cost Fundraisers."  Every day there are many things you can do to help us:  Clip those Box Tops for Education, Campbell′s labels, collect those inkjet and toner cartridges, any and all old cell phones, and the Huerfano Journal′s Make Cents coupons (we are RE-2).  If you have items for us, call me, I will get them picked up.

     Have a great summer, or at least what′s left, and watch for us!

    Jackie Willburn,

    La Veta Boosters President

    742-5307