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Letters to the Editor 3/19

March 19, 2001

Letters to the Editor 3/19



Support cruelty bill



To the editor:

The Maryland General Assembly has many important issues to tackle in its short legislative session. One of the measures that comes up year after year but has not received the attention that it deserves is strengthening the state's animal cruelty law.

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have enacted felony level penalties for animal cruelty, largely in recognition of the undeniable connection between animal cruelty and violence against humans. In Maryland, however, cruelty to animals is still only a misdemeanor.

A recent case out of Salisbury highlights the need for this legislation. Three teens are charged in the burning death of a pit bull puppy named Shadow. The young men allegedly stole Shadow to stage a dogfight. When Shadow refused to cooperate, they allegedly set the dog on fire. Shadow ran through the horrified Salisbury neighborhood on what had been a quiet Sunday afternoon, sparking fires in two yards. Shadow suffered burns to 95 percent of his body and died soon after the attack in a local veterinary clinic. These young men face numerous charges, including arson, but not felony animal cruelty.

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In addition to elevating animal cruelty to the level of a felony, the Shadow Bill - SB 356 in the Senate and a companion bill, HB 649 in the House of Delegates - would also give judges the power to order psychological counseling for animal cruelty perpetrators in all animal cruelty cases.

A number of law-enforcement agencies, state's attorneys offices, domestic violence prevention groups, humane societies and animal protection organizations have endorsed the legislation, which also has a number of co-sponsors and strong bi-partisan support. Governor Glendening has pledged to sign the bill.

The Shadow Bill must first be approved by the House of Delegates' Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. Please call Senator Alex X. Mooney, who is on the Senate committee, at (301) 858-3575 to express your support for the Shadow Bill.

Wayne Pacelle

Senior Vice President

The Humane Society of the United States




Reading opportunity



To the editor:

As you are aware, Friday, March 2, was "Reading Across America Day." This prompts me to write about the opportunity that I recently took advantage of at the Salem Avenue Elementary School. I became a volunteer reading tutor of tow first graders. What a delight to be part of this program.

With the entire month of March devoted to encouraging children to read, the opportunity for other volunteers to take part in school programs to tutor children is here. There are many students who could use some help in their reading skills. It is not an extensive amount of time.

I spend a half an hour with each child that has been assigned to me one day a week. They are both so eager to show how well they are able to read the book they select. The reading instructor at the school has previously selected the books; they are chosen for the reading level of the child. There is a special feeling of accomplishment for the child when he/she is able to show you their skill at sounding out the words and then reading the sentences, which make a story.

Being able to read for a child or anyone opens doors of opportunity for the entire life. It is an awesome responsibility to tutor a child in such a lifelong potential joy. Doors will open much easier for a child who can read. In reading a child learns how to put the words together for expressing their needs effectively and for writing all the papers, essays and speeches over their lifetime.

The rewards for the child who is able to read are incalculable. I encourage members of the community to be part of the endeavor to teach all children to read and read well. It will benefit everyone.

Thank you for providing a space for me to write this letter. I have to thank all my lifetime "tutors," parents, sisters, brother, School Sisters of Notre Dame for providing an invaluable lifelong ability - to read

Victoria E. Hastings

Hagerstown




Postcards sought



To the editor:

My fifth grade class is studying the United States of America. To help me with my part of the project, I am requesting picture postcards from your state. I especially need to know your state's history, culture, climate, and any unique features you think are interesting.

I appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you in advance.

S.H.

Miss K's class

Nashville Elementary School

Box 157

Nashville, IN 47448

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