Mailbag: The scoop on dog problems

Thanks to Chris Epting for writing the article about the dog problems at Bolsa Chica, the over-the-top dog obsession in Huntington Beach and raising awareness ("The O'Reilly factor is at Bolsa Chica," In the Pipeline, Feb. 23).

I have lived in H.B. for 37 years. I have been a dog and animal person most of my life. I have had all types of farm and exotic animals.

Both my wife and I have become more fans of wild animals and less fans of the huge domestic animal population. We enjoy watching what little wildlife is left trying to coexist in this hostile environment that we have created for it.

It seems like our town's people have become so obsessed with their dogs! I don't recall ever having so many dogs and cats in this town. The irony of it is that most of the people in our community (downtown) don't have adequate yards/space for these animals, especially the large dogs, and most are so busy yupping around and away from home that they hire "dog walkers." (Huh?)

Then there is all the barking and howling throughout the day and night because the animals are cooped up and lonely. This just doesn't seem right. This can't be good for the animals, the people or the environment. It is way out of control!

I don't understand the concept that it is OK to take one's animal for a walk to relieve itself on someone else's yard or property, public or private, for that matter. Even if you do pick up, there is still the urine and residue of, literally, hundreds of dogs and cats.

Most dog people do not obey leash laws. They think it is OK to let their dogs run around without a leash in the neighborhood, parks, schools, beaches, etc. It just seems totally rude to knowingly let your animals defecate on someone else's property. There is animal urine and feces all over our public sidewalks, landscaping, streets, etc.

Here's an idea: Why not have the dogs go in their own yard first before they go for the walk? We have some friends who own a couple of big dogs, and they have a large yard for them.

The dogs are trained so that whenever they take them for a walk, they must first relieve themselves in their own backyard. They literally just say, "Let's go for a walk," and the dogs jump up and happily run out to their backyard to take care of business so they can now walk the 'hood without imposing on anyone.

A lot of dog people in my neighborhood intentionally let their dogs out without a leash to go urinate and defecate all over everyone else's yards. But most of the time, they do pick up — sometimes not the same day, so the stuff sits there drawing flies. And what about the urine — who cleans that up?

Gilbert A. Valdez

Huntington Beach


Social media comes with peril

Do we want our bus drivers and custodians having an offline relationship with our students using social media networks? Do we approve of self-aggrandizing, personality-cult teacher and principal Facebook pages that solicit child contact outside parental supervision and apart from the district?

Exactly what is the "law of the land" for the local five K-12 school districts; what direction have superintendents and boards given their staff to guide them in avoiding inappropriate youth contact? These are serious questions that must be answered for the safety of our children.

Local school district history is rife with child molesters practicing their nefarious trade. The Ocean View School District had Jason Abhyankar (currently serving prison time), and the Huntington Beach Union High School District has its retired husband teacher, along with his Ocean View wife, accused of molesting.

The process of molesting typically starts with "grooming," where the predator solicits direct child contact. Social media networks are an ideal way for them to "groom" kids with passwords and Internet use beyond any school or parent control. It would seem imperative that administrations provide written expectations for staff-to-student contact through the Internet to avoid both the reality and the appearance of wrongdoing.

I asked all districts for their policies. The Westminster School District and Fountain Valley School District have no specific direction, only bland and banal prohibitions against personal use of school computers.

Ocean View could produce no policy citations, and the Huntington Beach City School District had no comment. All five districts are lacking specific direction to staff regarding social media networks (Facebook).

The result is any janitor, driver, teacher or principal can and often does have a separate Facebook page soliciting youth contact without any district prescriptions or proscriptions. This could place children at risk.

Please call your district with your opinion to update board policies.

John Briscoe

Huntington Beach

The writer is a trustee for the Ocean View School District.


Time to do the math on Occupy

Assignment for reporters: Find out the average cost to the cities that have been occupied, and ask Huntington Beach if it has that much in reserve to fund the cleanup and extra security that will be required.

Assignment for reporters: What will happen to the market nights on Main Street when the vendors can't get there and do not feel safe getting there?

Assignment for reporters: How were tourism and food sales impacted, on average, by Occupy movements to date?

With these facts reported, now ask the people what they think!

Don't ask for our opinion until you have provided the facts. Not your spin on the facts, just the facts!

Les Watson

Fountain Valley

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