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Mailbag: Gina deserves community support

Thank you so much for the wonderful article on Gina Kantzabedian, her shop, Animal Crackers Pet Supply, and the marvelous work she does on behalf of the animals (“Rescues Endangered," May 22.)

I have watched Gina over the years since she bought the store turn around the lives of hundreds of abandoned and forgotten animals whose plight no one else would have bothered with. I have seen her sell all her jewelry to pay for the eye operation of one little cocker in hopes of saving her eyesight. There is no end to Gina’s generosity on behalf of needy animals. I am delighted you chose to tell those in Laguna who don’t know of her and her work her story.

It is important for the people of Laguna to know about residents such as Gina whose work and efforts benefit all of us and improves our community greatly.

If Gina is forced to close her doors we all lose. If she can no longer support her nonprofit with her store’s income, then all of those animals she could help will no longer find the help and love of someone such as herself.

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I only hope that people read and react by supporting her store and her wonderful nonprofit. Who knows, maybe even someone in town would have a piece of property they could loan her where she could construct a facility where she could house many more of these homeless little ones. Miracles do happen sometimes!

MARLENE DANTZER

Laguna Beach

Disappointed by pet rescue policy

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I am responding to your recent article “Rescues Endangered" (May 22).

I respect what Gina Kantzabedian is trying to do for all the pets that she rescues. I find it admirable that someone would make it their life’s mission to take care of animals that have otherwise run out of options.

What I don’t respect however, is the manner in which she goes about this mission. Her purpose in taking in animals is to “rescue adoptable pets and place them with loving families."

My family has experienced firsthand that what she practices and what she preaches are two very different things. We recently went to Gina’s store in hopes of adopting a dog. When we spoke to her, she asked us why we wanted a dog and also inquired some specifics about our family "” did we have kids, how old were they, had we had a dog before this "” all seemingly reasonable questions.

She then asked us to fill out an application so that she could contact us for her weekend meet and greet, a time where potential dog owners could come and interact with the pets she had available.

The next day, we gave her the application, whereupon she told us that she would be in touch to schedule a time for us to come and meet the dogs. Days passed, and we did not hear from her. When we called to inquire about our application, we were told that she was reviewing it. As more time passed, we realized that she was not going to phone us.

We were very puzzled as to why she did not follow up on our application. We felt that we had more than met the criteria required to offer a dog a loving home.

Our son had his heart set on getting a dog. He was so excited at the potential of a new pet and asked us daily if Gina had called.

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It was only when a family friend called us that we understood why she had never phoned. Our friend frequents Animal Crackers and had asked Gina about our application. Gina’s response was that she has a strict policy of not allowing families with young children to adopt her pets.

As she explained, she did not feel that families who have small children can handle the responsibility of both a dog and a child. She feels that the dog will inevitably be neglected and will not receive proper care. Rather than taking the time to meet our children and see how they interacted with the dogs, she made a decision based on pure bias.

Our objection to Gina is not so much in what she believes, but in the fact that she never once voiced any objection to the fact that we have young children.

She had ample opportunity to tell us about her policy, both in our initial meeting with her and when we brought our application in. Instead of being forthcoming about her reservations about our family, she simply chose to ignore us and could not even show the slightest bit of customer service in the way of a return phone call or explanation.

In your article, she bemoans the fact that she will no longer be able to continue her rescue efforts if her store is not profitable.

She claims that her main goal is to take care of her pets and place them in good homes where they are treated with respect. Perhaps she should take a look at the way she treats her customers and strive to treat them with the same respect that she requires for her pets. Maybe then she will be able to find the support that she is looking for.

CATHY PAIK



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