Animal Law Center, the Indy's Maketa coverage, Douglas Bruce and more 


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It's about the animals

We at the Animal Law Center want to clear up a comment in Long Story Short (May 21) made by a disgruntled former volunteer/employee Juliet Piccone. Her statement, that "everything is about the money" at the Animal Law Center, grossly misrepresents what we do and how we operate.

More than 95 percent of our cases are pro bono or low bono, because we operate on a shoestring budget and strive to serve the public. Each of our highly accredited professional staff members receives far less compensation than our colleagues in the legal field. We make this sacrifice to sustain the firm and to serve the public interest of Colorado, as well as the national animal community.

What little revenue is generated is either invested back into the firm or issued as minimal payment for work. Piccone was a beneficiary of some of that minimal compensation. I donate countless hours to legal cases and related causes and have spent the greater part of a personal inheritance to create and build this practice.

One example of the pro or low bono cases we've done is a pit bull service dog case out of Denver and Aurora. While we didn't receive compensation, we were able to change municipal law. Now pit bull service dogs are permitted in those cities because of the work we did. That more than makes up for the thousands of attorney hours, spanning five years, going unpaid. We also represent countless rescues, shelters, and nonprofit organizations for little or no money. In fact, we don't take a normal hourly rate for many of our cases.

Piccone's indefensible comments constitute a pathetic effort to sully the work we do, and they are offensive. It should be understood by all that the Animal Law Center is about animals first — not profits.

— Jennifer Edwards

Lawyer and founder, Animal Law Center and Animal Justice Center

Pants down

Well, well, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa has been caught with his pants down. If I recall, the Indy reported this same story back four years ago ("Star treatment," cover story, March 11, 2010; "As questions swirl, Sheriff Maketa's opponent weighs in," News, March 18, 2010), and now the Gazette is taking credit for "breaking" the story! What a joke!

If the Gazette was not such a cheerleader for the GOP when Maketa was the rising star, this could have been taken more seriously several years ago and we could have been spared the Maketa legacy.

The Indy has always been more credible and reliable with the truth than the Gazette has ever thought to be.

Well done Indy, well done!

— Terry Lukken


Pay them taxes

Of all the people who could be complaining about poor government services, Doug Bruce has no business doing so ('"Conniving con artists,'" Letters, May 21). You get what you pay for. No taxes, no services. Low taxes, minimal services.

You can't starve government for revenue and expect good government service. It costs money to fix them potholes, Doug. Labor, materials, equipment ... that kind of stuff. You want a government that promptly fixes potholes in a quality way, move to a state with high taxes, and pay them taxes.

But here in Colorado, someone started something called the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, which keeps all our state, county, and local governments perpetually broke, and unable to provide quality government services.

— Gina Douglas

Colorado Springs

Get out of the way

On Memorial Day weekend, of all weekends, Len Bentley's letter ("Food stamp abuse," May 21) is a frightening observance of the uncompassionate in America. To suggest that someone's tattoos or piercings were done while on food stamps is a huge assumption; they could be veterans who got tattooed or pierced while being paid by America the warmonger.

They could be without proper care, (from your government's war) that damaged their innocent brains to the point that they can no longer function in this crazy world. They could be a mother who lost a job and a home, and the car is all they have, and using food stamps in the manner you suggest is not possible when living in a car, or homeless. There are so many reasons that folks need help.

The idea that abuse and fraud are "prevalent" is selfish and unfounded, by the case you lay in your letter. It is virtually impossible to get a full- or part-time job without a phone. All humans, oh heck all those alive on our planet (not just humans) deserve kindness, empathy and understanding. If you cannot do that, Mr. Bentley, then get out of the way for those that want to help.

Not to mention, food stamps are not a huge financial burden on the taxpayers. "SNAP is also one of the most efficient government programs, with a 96 percent accuracy rate" (tiny.cc/z7sigx).

— Deirdre deProspero


Feed our hungry kids

This month, children across the country will begin summer vacation. While summer vacation is considered to be freedom for many children, for the hundreds of thousands facing hunger it means losing the one place that they can count on for a meal. It is estimated that more than 58,000 children are at risk of hunger in southern Colorado.

For most, the face of hunger is surprising. It does not discriminate against age, race, gender or ethnicity. It affects working families who are forced to make difficult choices between food and basic necessities such as medicine or rent. Consequently, these families are left struggling to find a way to keep their children fed when these programs end and summer vacation begins.

The USDA's Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides low-income children with free, nutritious meals during the summer months, is intended to fill this gap. SFSP is the single largest federal resource available for local community organizations that want to combine a feeding program with a summer activity program. Care and Share Food Bank is one of many food banks that sponsor a summer feeding program.

In the coming weeks, I urge everyone to contact Care and Share to learn how you can help get the word out about this program and increase participation in our community. We will be hosting the School's Out Summer Food Drive at our facility on Saturday, June 14, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. to collect non-perishable food items to help us offset the need we face during this critical time. Together, we can ensure that all children have access to healthy meals this summer.

To find summer feeding sites or learn more about our School's Out Food Drive and how you and your business can become involved, please visit careandshare.org.

— Lynne Telford

President and CEO, Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado

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