Animal charity needs additional support to do its job effectively
Your editorial in the Sept. 28 edition (“Ward off vicious dog attacks with responsible behaviors”) is 100 percent solid. I would like to add to it the importance of vigorous law enforcement, which is an important part of the mission of county humane societies. They are charged with the responsibility under Chapter 1717 of the Ohio Revised Code to enforce the laws against animal abuse and neglect.
Our officers, agents and members have police powers. In addition to the dangers of vicious dog attacks due to irresponsible owners, there is a proven link between animal abuse and child abuse, spouse abuse, and other serious criminal behavior. The news is filled with stories about killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer having a history of animal abuse. County humane societies also provide important educational material to the public.
Unfortunately, funding for Animal Charity Humane Society (the county humane society for Mahoning County) is woefully inadequate. We badly need a larger facility. We strive to maintain two humane agents, but that is financially very burdensome. Many times we must delay answering a call because our agent, or agents, are too busy with other calls. Although humane societies are 501 (c)(3) charities, we are legally liable as quasi-governmental organizations because the law-enforcement activities we perform are considered governmental functions, so we are bound by the same Fourth Amendment restrictions as any other law enforcement agency.
We rely substantially on charitable donations. Though the law provides for governmental support, for almost the past two years we’ve received none whatsoever.
Yet Chapter 1717.07 provides that “… the legislative authority of such municipal corporation shall pay monthly to such agent, from the general revenue fund of the municipal corporation, such salary as the legislative authority deems just and reasonable.” Another provision places an identical support obligation upon the board of county commissioners.
I often use two quotes to drive these points home. Mahatma Gandhi said that “A society may be judged by the way it treats its animals.” And a criminology professional whose name I don’t recall said that “A society gets the criminals it deserves.”
County and municipal governments, along with donors, need to step up to the plate to ensure more effective enforcement and educational efforts in Mahoning County to help protect against attacks such as the one suffered by postal carrier Shawn Miller.
Gary Pilcher, Youngstown
The writer is chairman of the Animal Charity Humane Society of Mahoning County.
Legislators look like hoodlums
Regarding debates in Congress over Obamacare: In recent weeks, some of our elected representatives have behaved like hoodlums in a barroom brawl rather than the dignified officials we elected them to be.
Why don’t they calm down, sit down and regain their dignity and common sense? Pass the law that will do the most good for the most people for the longest length of time. It would pass in a flash, if only they could go to work and accomplish what their constituents elected them to do.
Anne Smaic Pachos, Cortland
Youngstown council should rescind its Stand Your Ground resolution
Recently lawmakers of two local governments took actions that seemed appropriate at the time but, upon closer consideration, serve to demonstrate how easy activist groups can panic people into illogical decisions.
At the urging of anti-fracking groups, the city of Niles passed legislation outlawing the process within the city limits. The law actually went much further and could have been quite costly to the city. To their credit, away from the hysterics of the activists and upon some reflection, the lawmakers repealed the ordinance.
Youngstown legislators also gave a demonstration of how easily they can be manipulated by activists in the audience by passing a resolution opposing Ohio legislators’ efforts to institute a “Stand Your Ground” law in the state. As you may remember, “stand your ground” became an issue in the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman shooting in Florida. Even though the “stand your ground” defense was never used by Zimmerman, the radical anti-gun crowd was near apoplectic in their condemnation of the principle.
A local activist group, the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, apparently pressured city council to condemn the lawmakers’ efforts to adopt “stand your ground.” What’s so sad about it is that the collaborative does good work, and makes the claim that it works to protect people’s rights. Unfortunately this effort does the opposite. You be the judge.
Look at a hypothetical situation. You’re returning to your car from shopping when a thug attacks you with a knife or a gun. You are legally armed and hold a Concealed Carry permit. Fearing for your life, you draw your weapon and shoot the attacker. Under Ohio law, you could be charged with a crime because, as the law stands, you must make an attempt to flee before using deadly force. You could have to prove in court that you tried to flee or that fleeing wasn’t possible. In other words, even though you were the victim of a violent crime, you could find yourself a defendant.
Increasingly, states are moving to put the emphasis on protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens when they are attacked by criminals.
Youngstown City Council can send a message to the criminals and protect the rights of its law-abiding citizens by rescinding its hastily passed resolution.
Dan Moadus, Girard
Where’s logic in today’s headlines?
I just read in today’s paper that a Jesus statue had to be taken down in Jackson, Ohio, because it was deemed unconstitutional. But 16 years ago our school funding system was ruled unconstitutional, and nothing has been done about it?
An Amish man in Ohio gets 15 years for cutting off other Amish men’s beards, but a person who kills someone gets eight years and gets out in five years for good behavior?
Youngstown schools go after state Straight A Fund grant money to study if busing is the problem with students dropping out of Youngstown city schools. It probably has nothing to do with Youngstown building new city schools and closing them down after two years and busing students to another side of town?
The longer I live around here, the more I feel like I might be the sharpest crayon in the crayon box.
Andy Pappagallo Sr., Mineral Ridge
Alexander Hamilton nailed it
So what’s going on with our Congress? Alexander Hamilton, President George Washington’s closest and most trusted adviser, proved himself prescient when he wrote the following in Federalist Paper No. 70 over 200 years ago:
“Men often oppose a thing, merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike. But if they have been consulted, and have happened to disapprove, opposition then becomes, in their estimation, an indispensable duty of self-love. They seem to think themselves bound in honor, and by all the motives of personal infallibility, to defeat the success of what has been resolved upon contrary to their sentiments. Men of upright, benevolent tempers have too many opportunities of remarking, with horror, to what desperate lengths this disposition is sometimes carried, and how often the great interests of society are sacrificed to the vanity, to the conceit, and to the obstinacy of individuals ...”
Robert F. Mollic , Liberty