Commentary: Column space should go to the dogs

Undoubtedly, Mona Shadia is an excellent writer and great storyteller, but I feel it is wrong (almost immoral) to use the platform of a local newspaper for her religion/views, week after week after week after week.

It must be about six months now you that have taken up this valuable space in the community newspaper, and each week when I open the Independent, I want to scream when I see her column.

Maybe this allocated space should be rotated for the use of other writers/columnists to share their religious experiences/views — Hebrews, Mormons, Atheists, Christians or whatever their faith or lack of faith is.

I say this because a city like Huntington Beach has issues that need to be shared and solved, and this precious space could be, and should be, used for helping its residents, our homeless residents and animals.

The Orange County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a Huntington Beach-based organization, gives hope and comfort to the sick and needy through its therapy dog program.

It provides food and medical treatment for the beloved pets of the poor and homeless of this community and throughout Orange County. And, importantly, it plays a large part in preventing more unwanted kittens and puppies through its neuter/spay program. Cats, especially, have been abandoned unspayed, creating an out-of-control kitten/cat population.

Save Our Strays of Huntington Beach also helps the needy with their beloved pets and has a goal of Huntington Beach having its own no-kill shelter, rather than its current $619,000 yearly contract with the high-kill shelter located on The City Drive in Orange. OC Animal Care kills over 15,000 cats, kittens, dogs and puppies due only to the lack of space created by an out-of-control pet population (again, where neuter/spay is paramount).

However, I don't expect Shadia to relate to this, since she seems to have dogphobia or some adversity to dogs ("Loving dogs, but only at a distance," Unveiled: A Muslim Girl in O.C., July 12). But it is about informing and servicing the residents of these community newspapers, whereby your space in the newspapers could be better utilized.

Another huge issue: Coyotes are hunting and savagely killing our cats and small dogs. Many residents are not aware coyotes are here.

Every day, I see fliers posted at corners, stores, animal hospitals, etc.: "Missing Cat," "Missing Dog." Probably 95% of these animals are not missing, not lost, but have been torn apart by a coyote. Though late night through early morning is coyotes' prime hunting time, many people, including myself, have seen them at all times of the day.

I have a photo of one running down Orange Street at 2 p.m. just a few blocks from the beach in Huntington. There are no cats left in the area. Heads and body parts are often found even in walled-in communities, such as Landmark, a senior complex on Atlanta Avenue.

I suggested to a City Council member to insert a warning notice in the city's water bill, but it seems that function is reserved for revenue-generating purposes.

Nonetheless, I urge you to relinquish your precious weekly space in the newspaper, not only to helpful organizations such as the OCSPCA and Save Our Strays, but to the volunteer organizations who make a difference to our needy residents, our homeless and the preservation of what land is left.

LYNN COPELAND is a Huntington Beach resident.

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