Volume XI, Issue 23 ~ June 5-11, 2003

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Letters to the Editor

Burton Lover Needs Help for Wild Cats

Dear Bay Weekly:
Let me start by saying I just love Bill Burton articles (especially of animals). I too am an animal lover and throughout the years have had many cats. They are like people to me, which brings me to my problem.

My father, who lived in Churchton, passed away in September. There were five stray cats that he took care of that were dropped by people plus his pet cat, Minnie, who is about 15 years old. He told me that when he died I had to take Minnie home. So this is what I did. I already had two cats.

However, I can’t bring home any more, but everyday I make a round trip of 42 miles to feed the stray cats. I’ve called every place I can think of (cat rescue, SPCA, etc.) to try and have an agency pick up these cats and not destroy them. But each place I call, they claim they are full and can’t take the cats.

Now someone has been so generous to leave a mama cat and a kitten, which both look as though they’ve been starved. I know they are not wild because when I went to feed them, both Mama and kitten came up to me. So they are used to people.

I’m at my wits end, and was hoping you could suggest who I could call who would rescue these poor things and not destroy them.

Your help will be greatly appreciated.
— Debbie Stallings • [email protected]

Editor’s reply: Calvert Animal Welfare League is the region’s most dedicated friend of feral cats. Their work is limited to Calvert County, but they may be able to guide you in solving your Anne Arundel problem. Reach them at 410/535-9300.

Over Mute Swans, Choose Biodiversity

Dear Bay Weekly:
I feet compelled to write a response after reading James Clemenko’s article “To Be or Not to Be, But for How Long?” (Vol. XI, No 21, May 22].

It’s true that the mute swans are beautiful white birds that have inspired art and song. It’s also true that they were introduced into Chesapeake Bay and that they are wreaking havoc. They are not the cause of all of the Bay’s ills, but they continue to decimate resources that groups like South River Federation spend countless hours trying to restore.

The argument presented by the animal rights groups is one that essentially says killing swans is wrong because they are beautiful birds, and that they are not the cause of the Bay’s problems. Maryland Department of Natural Resources and conservation organizations throughout the Bay region openly acknowledge that they are beautiful — but see beyond their beauty to the impacts that they are having in our precious Chesapeake Bay. They devour aquatic grasses year-round and have directly impacted restoration efforts in South River. In addition, the mute swans have disrupted breeding colonies of native shorebirds whose populations are threatened.

The decision to implement a management plan is one that has taken into account the beauty of the swans and has considered the larger implications of failing to manage an Invasive Species. DNR and Gov. Robert Ehrlich displayed the courage to make a difficult and controversial decision to kill swans because it is the right thing to do to protect the Chesapeake Bay. It is for these reasons that conservation groups around the state — including South River Federation, Severn River Association, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Maryland Ornithological Society — have supported the initiative.

If I am forced to choose between having a Bay that supports a diversity of native wildlife and having a Bay that supports mute swans to the detriment of biodiversity, I choose the former, and I hope your readers will, too.

— Drew Koslow, Annapolis

We welcome your letters and opinions. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to us at [email protected].



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Last updated June 5, 2003 @ 12:57am