Letters to the Editor

Animal owners should be 'responsible,' cultivate good behavior

Animal adoption

Many pet owners are responsible

This is in response to T. Thorne who takes issue with Vashon Island Pet Protectors in promoting dog adoptions. She should be taking issue with irresponsible people who have animals and do not take care of them. Many of us have adopted loving animals who have been taken from abusive homes. We do not let our dogs run wild and are respectful of other people’s property. Our two cockers were tied behind a truck for three years before they were rescued, and they have brought us nothing but love and devotion.

— J Clayton

Be an owner

It was a relief to read the letter written in response to “Dog dilemma,” a letter that ran in the May 21 issue of The Beachcomber. I also felt frustrated after reading the letter and had composed several responses in my head. Thank you, Katrina Dorn, for hitting the nail on the head. (Beachcomber, May 28.)

She mentions “a responsible person” adopting a pet. That is the key word — responsible — whether adopting or already owning a pet.

While out with our dog (a VIPP adoptee) on the Island, there have been numerous encounters with other dogs — some friendly, some not. These non-friendly dogs have not been pit bulls or Rottweilers. Any dog can snap, at any time, for any reason. In our Auburn neighborhood, a trained, purebred hunting dog (spaniel) that was a member of a family for years turned on its owner for no apparent reason. In the same neighborhood was a female pit bull that often ran loose. One time I saw a duck chasing her — it’s true. These examples are from a location other than Vashon, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a laundry list of Vashon tales that I could share, some from 30 years ago.

VIPP is trying to help abandoned pets on or off Island by asking responsible people to adopt animals from a shelter. They want those animals to be in a safe, loving home. The fact that VIPP still needs to be operating after 20 years is an interesting point, since the lifespan of a dog or cat is around 12 to 17 years. Who is running the dog/cat import business here?

The remedy to the situation is simple: Be a responsible pet owner. I’m not going to tell anyone how to be one; you know if you are. If you aren’t, then step up and help keep Islanders and your pet safe.

— Lea Heffernan

Death with dignity

The dying may act out of guilt

Karen Pruett’s dedication to her father during his last days of life show that she is a woman of great compassion (“Peaceful and planned death a goal of the initiative,” May 28). I applaud the hospice workers for their sound advice encouraging her to ask, “...is this good for me or good for my dying loved one?” However, I think there is something Karen overlooked, perhaps because it is something she would never, in her compassionate heart, dream of doing. That is, she would never dream of pressuring her father to end his life so that she would not have to take the time to sit with him and watch him suffer or pay his mounting medical bills.

Karen stated that many of the things her father did near the end of his life he did out of guilt or wanting to please his family. Those things included eating, drinking, staying awake and continuing on with medical treatments. If a dying person would do those things to please his family, isn’t it also possible that a dying person might, perhaps out of guilt, take a lethal dose of “medicine” to please the living?

Karen’s father lived with a cardiac condition for 20 years. By the time he died, he died of natural causes while foregoing treatments that were no longer beneficial. He did not receive a lethal injection. Should he have received a lethal injection 20 years ago?

Honestly, aren’t we all a little scared about our last days? If it was really up to us, wouldn’t most of us choose not to die at all? In reality we can never plan the day or hour of our own demise. Legalizing hastened death, as Booth Gardner’s campaign proposes, has the potential to strip people of their dignity by placing pressure on people to end their lives prematurely in order to please others. It also reflects a certain cowardice on the part of our society about enduring any trial that threatens the comforts or conveniences we worship.

Our “right” to decide when or how we die was taken from us long ago. Death is what happens while we’re making plans.

— Kelly Daly

Development

House in Burton raises concerns

There are several concerns about the proposed development at 9080 S.W. Harbor Drive S.W. on the Burton Loop. First, King County is favorably considering granting the owners of the property a right-of-way use permit that would allow them to put their driveway on the eastern edge of the county easement. The county will consider neighbors’ letters before granting this right-of-way use permit. Second, the area of the house being proposed is based on a lot size of 90,302 square feet. Two-thirds of this lot is tidelands, and the county has agreed to count the tidelands in the allowed alteration formula (roughly 10 percent). The house and subsequent alterations will fill all of the lot that is above water. This lot is a Type S aquatic area buffer, and the proposed development is designated a Critical Area Alteration (KCC 21A.24).

This home needs to be behind the aquatic area buffer, not in front of it! Please let King County know your opinion on this. Lastly, visit this property to see that it is a bird flight zone between Quartermaster Harbor and Burton Acres. This flight zone will be gone if this development is permitted.

If these issues are of concern to you, please write to Hillary Jones at Hillary.Jones@kingcounty.gov, File No. L08AE005. To be informed about the development, ask to become a party of record for this property.

— Beverly Miller, Susan Lowry, Sharon Price and Jim Price

VISD

It’s time to be sustainable

Good news sandwiched between bad news is sometimes hard to swallow.

I applaud Superintendent Terry Lindquist’s efforts to put our school district on the path to a “sustainable budget.” It’s long overdue!

Unfortunately, the consequences of responsible spending translate into bad news for many, including our family. Next year, I have a senior and junior at Vashon High School. In many ways I regret my kids didn’t graduate before our administrators decided to dive into “sustainability.” There’s no doubt we’d prefer more counselors and more paper. And how is it fair for athletic fees to go up, yet again?

On the other hand, what’s happening within our district is a valuable demonstration of the personal sacrifice and systematic change required to achieve “sustainability.”

School Board Chair Bob Hennessey is quoted in The Beachcomber as saying, “If there’s any cause for optimism here, it’s that we live in a community amazingly supportive of education. Until the state steps up and fulfills its obligations, I’m afraid private money will have to enter the picture.”

Perhaps he uses the word “afraid” to indicate another good news-bad news scenario. It’s great to live in a generous community. And yet, I see bad news fast approaching if we default to philanthropy to support our district’s basic needs “until” the state steps up. Unfunded state mandates are squeezing the livelihood out of our district and will continue to do so until we put a stop to them. So how do we do this? We take pride in doing the difficult work of reining in our own district’s budget. We seriously question how we’re indirectly supporting unfunded mandates by propping up our school district by using private money. We rally together to bring common knowledge (and outrage) around the destructive nature of unfunded mandates. We supportively demand our state government put our public school system on the path to “sustainable funding.” It’s time. In fact, it’s long overdue!

— Wendy Gage

Wolftown

Don’t tell tourists how to get there

Tourist season is upon us. Please help your wild animal friends here at Wolftown by not telling people how to get to Wolftown. Have them call us first (463-9113) and make an appointment. Wolftown is very busy this time of year rescuing wildlife. Same-day appointments are almost impossible. Call a few days in advance.

This keeps your rescued wildlife comfortable and your volunteer staff safe.

Wolftown needs a boat to help with marine wildlife rescue. We also need non-toxic leaves such as from deciduous trees or fir to help feed ruminants and wildlife.

Please leave baby fawns and baby seals alone. Mom is usually nearby, and they are not orphans. Give spring wildlife a chance. Do not clear trees and brush in early spring.

— T Martino

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