Tuesday, January 16, 2018

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Letters on a generous church, animal abuse solutions

Jan. 13, 2018 at 11:16 p.m.

Demonstration of love

I would like to say thank you to Fellowship Bible Church of Longview on behalf of my students and all the students of South Ward Elementary School for its generous support and demonstration of love.

Rebeca Cooper, the former principal of South Ward, is a member of this church and she brought her concerns for the students to them and they stepped up. This fall the church members helped supply our new "Uniform Closet" with new or gently used clothes for students in need. They also provided Christmas gifts for every single student on our campus.

In consulting with Cooper, the church members determined that our students needed toys/games that would encourage play and interacting together with their friends and families. They then selected, by grade level, different board games for each child. In this manner, families were provided a variety of games to play with one another because siblings that attend our school also received games. They wrapped a "Giant Present" for each class, which were in the rooms when the students arrived the morning of the Christmas parties. As a teacher on this campus, I was able to witness the joy and excitement of my students as they opened our gifts.

Once again, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Rebecca Cooper and Fellowship Bible Church for truly showing the spirit of Christmas to our students at South Ward Elementary.

Charlotte Muñoz, White Oak

Stopping animal abuse

As board chair of the Texas Humane Legislation Network, I want to respond to a recent article, "Animal cruelty laws do little to stop owners from abusing again" (news story, Jan. 1). We have concerns about this narrative.

Animal cruelty is incredibly difficult to prove — victims cannot speak, evidence is easily destroyed and up until our cruelty law passed in September, many abusers avoided serving jail time.

While we support measures like a database, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is already working on a national database and we do not need to duplicate efforts at the state level.

With limited time and resources, we must focus on the most pressing issues: strengthening our tethering law, improving our puppy mill regulations, mandatory spay/neuter after multiple impoundments, and generally working toward a more humane Texas.

We also have a long way to go in educating our population about the link between animal cruelty and human violence. Likewise, we need to raise awareness in our communities about interpreting signs of neglect and abuse, and reporting suspicious behavior.

Without a doubt, the laws we've passed in recent years have improved the lives of Texas animals, from outlawing gas chambers to ensuring better living conditions for animals in large-scale breeding factors, or puppy mills. When we pass a law that requires training to improve officers' encounters with dogs, needless shootings are prevented. When we pass a law that puts an offender in prison for longer, our communities are safer.

Like other humane laws, the most recent cruelty law strengthening punishments for offenders will impact more than just animals — it affects family violence situations, criminal enterprises and neighborhood safety. We advocate for strong, enforceable laws because we want to stop abuse before it starts.

Shelby Bobosky, Dallas (Bobosky is board chair of the Texas Humane Legislation Network)



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