Give 'Em Shelter | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Give 'Em Shelter

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To the editors:

Your article "Cat Fight" (August 27) was disturbing to me on many levels. Ignorance is evident in all parties involved. As the supervisor of a no-kill animal shelter, I was discouraged to see the lack of knowledge pertaining to the keeping of animals as companions. Cats should not be kept as outdoor pets for numerous reasons. Besides the risk of becoming lost, injured, or abused, there is a disease called FIV, similar to HIV in humans, transmitted by a bite wound, for which there is no vaccine or cure.

Keeping a pet unneutered is irresponsible due to the current overpopulation problem. Cats are more likely to roam and incite fights with other cats if they are allowed to remain unneutered. I am aware that sometimes persons from other countries (sometimes even our own) are not aware of this, so this is an opportunity to educate.

I am concerned that Ms. Melvin thought she was "saving the life" of what she called "a useless stray" (even though she admittedly takes in strays herself) by releasing the cat, unneutered, into a dangerous neighborhood. The amount of abuse I see directed toward animals in the inner city is astounding--from small animals used to bait pit bulls to be vicious to animals being shot and stabbed. How could anyone in good conscience release an animal into such an unstable environment?

I am also concerned about the comment made that this cat was "the feline equivalent of a pit bull." The pit bull breed is inherently loyal and loving. It's the owners who do not socialize the dogs properly and train them to be vicious.

Regarding the comments made about animal control: animal control is overwhelmed trying to respond to all the calls they receive. Even someone well-intentioned (unlike Nancy Melvin) could not expect a quick response to a request to trap a cat.

The job I have as a shelter supervisor is the toughest job I've ever taken. The ignorance, abuse, and neglect that I encounter on a daily basis is disheartening to say the least. I hope this letter will be published in order to educate people about keeping companion animals. I pray that Arroudea is found and returned to his family and then neutered and kept indoors!

Catherine Hedge

Animal Medical Associates

W. Division

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