Caged Animals

Kill vs. no-kill: We were flattered to once again receive your Reader's Choice award for "Best Place to Get a Pet" (Best of Dallas, September 20). We also congratulate Operation Kindness on its critics' choice award from the Dallas Observer as "Best Place to Get a Pet."

However, I'd like to point out that adopting a pet at the SPCA does not mean "[opening] up a cell for another death row inmate," as your text stated. While the SPCA is not a "no-kill" facility, of all the animals (be they sick, injured, aged or behaviorally challenged) that are admitted to our Dallas shelter, close to 70 percent find homes, and 98 percent of the animals on our adoption floor are eventually placed. With percentages this high, you can hardly call the SPCA "death row," nor is it fair to insinuate that our animals aren't "safe" just because we are not no-kill.

The SPCA of Texas has an open-door policy, which means that we do not turn away any animal. Unlike no-kill shelters, which can be selective, we cannot. Becoming "no-kill" would mean we would have to shut our doors upon reaching capacity. And then what? There would be 12,000 animals left to find another shelter or suffer fates much worse than euthanasia, such as abandonment, starvation, neglect and cruelty, just to name a few.

The SPCA of Texas stretches its resources to save 98 percent of the adoptable animals that come our way. As much as possible, those with treatable illnesses get care in our Moody Medical Annex; those in dire need of obedience training are placed in our PREP program; others are fostered until they're ready for adoption. The sad fact remains, however, that nearly 100,000 animals die in Dallas shelters each year, and yes, some of those, despite our best efforts, die here at the SPCA.

Out of 71 major U.S. markets (No. 1 having the lowest euthanasia rate and 71 the highest), Dallas ranks a shameful 50th. This is not the SPCA's fault, nor is it the fault of any other facility that euthanizes animals. It's a community problem.

Warren Cox
President, SPCA of Texas

Best suburban hamburger: I was at Snuffer's on Lower Greenville, eating a hamburger, when I found your endorsement of the hamburgers in McKinney. I won't deny that there are great hamburgers in McKinney, but I'd like to know how long it will be before you change the name of this publication to "The McKinney Observer."

Tom Blackwell

Good Neighbors

Great entrepreneur: I read your article on the Vazquez family and their plight ("Vamoose," August 30). It appalls me that a city council member or a neighborhood association can be so callous in their treatment of this family.

My mom and dad live next door to the Vazquez family. They have lived in the same house for over 40 years. I grew up in that neighborhood. My father has had nothing but praise and admiration for Mr. Vazquez and his family.

Mr. Vazquez began his business out of his home on Winston Street. He always kept things neat and orderly and took particular care not to disturb his elderly neighbors. His passengers never were a bother to my parents. When his business improved, he relocated the business to an abandoned gas station on Davis Street. This station had been abandoned for several years. Curiously, the garage across the street from the gas station used to be a Yellow Cab stand.

I visit my parents often, and I always have to go by that station. It is always neat and clean. If there were no color lines drawn, Mr. Vazquez would be considered an entrepreneur of the highest order.

David Hipp
Via e-mail

Their Finest Moment

The Ticket kept me coming back: I really enjoyed Eric Celeste's article about The Ticket's coverage ("Boys to Men," September 27). I'm a longtime P-1, and you conveyed what I've thought and told my wife about The Ticket coverage. They are comfortable to listen to. They are my friends as I drive to and from work. They were the voices I wanted to hear. And you're right--it was a no-bullshit format. They were one of the last stations to run commercials. They had some touching moments. The Barry Switzer segment was amazing.

I was listening to them interview Jerry Jones when the second plane hit. Jerry was scheduled to head to New York. I bounced around some of the other AM stations but kept coming back to The Ticket.

Greg Duvall
Via e-mail

Bring on the Cranks

More like Mitch: The Dallas Observer's selection of Mitchell Rasansky as Dallas' Best Elected Crank (Best of Dallas, September 20) is surprising to me, one of his constituents. Many of us find him to be quite sensitive to the needs and wishes of the average citizen and not just carrying water for large campaign contributors.

As an example of Mr. Rasansky's crankness, you cited his opposition to the Ursuline School's construction of a new, lighted soccer field at Inwood and Walnut Hill roads. In order to build this athletic field, the school will have cleared two lovely wooded lots in a major intersection of the North Dallas greenbelt.

A local poll indicated that 75 percent of the neighbors were opposed to the project because of increased noise, light, air pollution and traffic congestion. Mr. Rasansky responded to the wishes of his electorate and expressed their displeasure in the city council proceedings. If that behavior is considered "crank," then what we need are more cranks to defend neighborhoods against destructive development.

Gabriel Fried, M.D.

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