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Serious misperceptions'

I wish to address serious misperceptions conveyed by errors in your June 17 cover article, "Marking their territories."

The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR) remains committed to our mission. Part of our responsibility to the community is to behaviorally assess shelter animals thoroughly prior to adoption. We will not place an unsafe animal in a home.

HSPPR's "save" rate is 79 percent for year-to-date 2004, meaning we have saved nearly eight of every 10 animals we shelter. The nationwide average is 64 percent, which we also exceeded as city animal control providers. Our 2001 Annual Report correctly stated that 897 adoptable animals were euthanized, progress toward our goal of zero euthanasia of adoptable animals. We are proud to achieve 100 percent placement of adoptable animals year-to-date in 2004.

All of our numbers increased when we moved into our new facility, including intake, adoption and pets returned to owners. Your article inaccurately stated that we euthanize as soon as possible. In fact, we keep every adoptable animal until it finds a home, so long as we have space to safely house it. We have saved every adoptable animal so far in 2004.

The vast majority of our budget is dedicated to the animals. Your article stated we spent only 2.7 percent on animal care in 2002. We actually spent more than 75 percent on animal care, and 2.7 percent on medical care for the animals.

We are devoted to our work to prevent animal cruelty and neglect and to develop a responsible community where animals and people live in harmony. We appreciate the support the community gives us in return.

We deeply regret that you would publish an article with so many errors, and welcome future opportunities to demonstrate the excellence of our work.

-- Wes Metzler

Executive director

Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region

Editor's note: The Independent stands by its story.

Disgusted and outraged

I am disgusted and outraged by the Pikes Peak Humane Society's inexcusable behavior, as described in your article. I had a hunch things weren't well there, but for them to treat those animals like commodities is unacceptable.

What can be done? Are there any groups forming to take action? I want to help out ...

-- Aimee Martz Dick

Woodland Park

Regime change

As a longtime Colorado Springs resident, and with a couple exceptions, my experiences with the Pikes Peak Humane Society haven't always been that great.

Within the past year, two friends and an acquaintance haven't faired all that well, either.

One waited all day to adopt a dog they were going to evaluate that day. At almost closing, they told him the dog was troubled and he couldn't have it. He persisted and they finally let him have it. That dog has a better home than some children.

Another friend had to wait all day while her dog was evaluated. She signed the papers and gave them her check. Then they told her she couldn't have the dog because she already had a dog and this one wouldn't do well. She told them she had signed the papers, given them the money and demanded her dog. They gave it to her. This dog does fine with the existing dog. It has a wonderful loving home.

The other person's dog was taken to the Pikes Peak Humane Society. It was big and old. They put it down immediately, not giving her the five days to get it.

A few months ago I found a cat. I called the Pikes Peak Humane Society. They suggested I also call the Colorado Humane Society also since they didn't work together to share information. (What an understatement!) I called and said I had found a cat and asked how long I should try to find the owner before I could try to find it a home. "Lady! You could be arrested for stealing a cat! You need to bring it to us!"

This was my first and hopefully my last experience with the Colorado Humane Society.

There seems to be a power struggle between the two organizations. They need to work together and put their differences aside. However, this doesn't seem very likely. Why can't they study other programs in other cities?

The Pikes Peak Humane Society should have been much closer to a no-kill shelter by now. If they don't improve and work together, perhaps we need a new regime. One that cares!

If you decide to print my letter, please withhold my name. I don't want any repercussions should I have to deal with these shelters again. After all, if I'm arrested, who will care for my pets?

-- Name withheld

Colorado Springs

Change the Web site

Concerning the great confusion over the two humane societies in our fair city -- it would probably make a great deal of difference if those in the know at the city level would correct the SpringsGov Web site link to send cybervisitors to the Colorado Humane Society instead of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region. The same goes for the 2004-2005 phone book(s) listing.

Shame on you, Rich Tosches, for not referencing this confusing state of affairs in your article!

-- Sharon Hutchison

Colorado Springs?

Do your job

Is Karen Teja the only District 11 Board member that understands what the purview of the Board of Education is?

The marriage resolution proposed by Willie Breazell and supported in good "Stepford" style by Eric Christen and Craig Cox is a flagrant promotion of intolerant religious dogma that has no place on the Board of Education agenda.

Mr. Breazell's blatant attempt to impose an ideologue utopian worldview as a "central goal of public education in District 11" is not within the legitimate purview of the Board of Education.

The antics of the voucher proponents on this board are sorely taxing the tolerance of this District 11 taxpayer. Do the job you were elected to do.

The destruction of secular public education is not in your job description.

-- Patricia A. Poos

Colorado Springs

Throwing in the towel

John Hazlehurst disappoints me. He espouses local civic activism, but pretty much throws in the towel over illegal immigration. ("People, people everywhere," The Outsider, June 17).

He paints it as an inevitable force of nature -- beyond our control. And after describing the wealth of Colorado Springs residents 50 years ago -- long gone peace and quiet -- he morosely ends with "them as died was the lucky 'uns."

Come on John, you perfectly list many of the dynamics of illegal immigration, but forgot to mention that there are some of us who are fighting in the civic and political trenches. My beautiful hometown of Encinitas, Calif., has morphed into crowded, noisy and dirty. I will fight not only in memory of clean beaches and safe horse trails of my girlhood, but for some semblance of that for my grandchildren.

-- Barb Vickroy

Escondido, Calif.

It is man-made

John Hazlehurst pretty much nails the problems associated with illegal immigration ("People, people everywhere," The Outsider, June 17) but more or less implies that the massive influx of illegals is a natural phenomenon and can no more be mitigated or halted than other forces of nature like drought or blizzard.

The fact is that illegal immigration is a political phenomenon -- it is man-made. Hazlehurst's choice of closing phrase from Treasure Island -- "And 50 years from now? I'll be long gone -- and it may be, as Long John Silver said, that 'Them as died was the lucky 'uns" -- is colorful -- especially the reference to pirates -- but is only appropriate if today's citizens, fearful of harsh labels, do nothing. Child abuse, corporate fraud, lying politicians and illegal immigration will always crop up, no matter how often we attempt to curb them.

But that is never a reason to do nothing.

-- Marty Lich

Gypsum

Cross-pollination

I just wanted to make a small correction to Ted Rall's column ["The failed seduction of John McCain," Politics, June 17].

In it he states that the last cross-party ticket was in 1796. Well, having studied American history in detail, I need to bring to your attention that the last cross-party ticket was actually in 1864 with Lincoln-Johnson. Though we often read that the two ran on a Union ticket, this was only a superficial formality with the goal of reintegrating the Democratic Party back into the politics of the greater Union with the end of the Civil War in sight. Lincoln was really a Republican, and Johnson was really a Democrat. The country knew this, which is why the Republican-controlled Congress flipped out when Lincoln "bit the bullet," so-to-speak.

-- Alex Twist

Via the Internet

Her favorite page

I eagerly turn to Consumer Correspondent every week, as I would not want to miss a single letter by Kenneth Cleaver. Regularly I cut out Consumer Correspondent to share it with a number of people who also appreciate the wit. Keep that poignancy, humor and social commentary coming. It is easily my favorite page in the Independent.

-- Janice E. Black

Colorado Springs

Correction

In last week's issue, Leslie Yoder was identified as the assistant director of finance for the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region. She is actually the director of operations. The Pikes Peak group held a contract for animal control with the City of Colorado Springs for 53 years until the city awarded the contract to the Colorado Humane Society last year.

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