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8 March 2000 Issues
Can We Relax?

by Joe Feduccia - joef@pdq.net (joef)

It was announced that the sales of lost and abandoned pets to research labs in Metro Houston will stop. Commissioner Steve Radack, with consistent support by Commissioner Jerry Eversole, were joined by Commissioner El Franco Lee and Judge Robert Eckels in a four-to-one decision to stop the contract on March 31st.

It is the apex of irony that lost pets go to research laboratories from any publicly-funded shelter to certain death under uncertain circumstances; and, this shameful practice might be better understood in an area of good-ole boys in a rural location, but Harris County/Metro Houston is a space-age Mecca.

This is the Metro to which the first words from the moon were uttered, where futuristic skyscrapers adorn an otherwise barren prairie, where an African-American mayor was elected to show that everybody can succeed in harmony, and where one of the World's foremost medical centers maliciously had insisted on using lost and abandoned pets as specimens in experiments of questionable value.

Is this a final deal? Not quite. In addition to possible dumping of pets to labs between now and the 31st, Joe Stinebaker's article in the 2-23-00, Houston Chronicle, relates a note of caution, "...Texas A&M....asked the county not to ban the sales of animal corpses....

"'I know this is an emotional issue,' [Dr. Richard] Ermel said. 'But I ask you to pull the emotions aside and look at what we're asking.'"

It might not be so emotional if it had any veracity, but it does not. Personnel from the pound, including its director, have lied straight-faced to television cameras, to the Houston Chronicle, to an USDA inspector about selling to a Class B Animal Dealer. Would Ermel himself go for a public lie-detector test?

This shelter MUST be opened to public scrutiny. Accept no less. We can work toward a Metro-sized plan to solve the overpopulation problem, but not with closed-door operations using tax money.

We should not overlook the good folks at City, who stopped pound seizures at BARC. The entire Houston Department of Health and Human Services, along with the 1993 City Council, implemented a thorough investigation and decided to stop the sales. Leadership at the department included Dr. Mary desVignes-Kendrick, who presented the recommendation to City Council, Asst. Dir. Artis Payne, and Adm. Mgn. Ken Hertz. Any tittle of inaccuracy in this paragraph may be attributable to notes on a grabbed envelope.

What about the others? The Alexanders of the World Champion Rockets and Comets, the ASPCA, PETA, PCRM, AVAR, Animal Rights Online systems, the local LC Animal group, and of course, the remnant and newcomers to HART. These are only the more prominent that presently come to mind -- apologies to anyone or any organization unrecognized here. Regardless, to both Commissioners Court and City of Houston, and the legions of good-citizens and organizations, thank you.

We've already stomped out twenty-five. Let's go the extra mile to make Metro Houston a pet-friendly town.

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