Niagara Falls Reporter
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JAN 20 - JAN 28, 2015

Letters to the Editor

January 20, 2015

In Defense of Pit Bulls

I recently read your article titled “Bite Statistics to Sink Your Teeth Into” by Anna M. Howard. It made me very upset to the point where I feel obligated to speak up for those who don’t have a voice.

First of all, the label “pit bull” started out as nickname for American Pit Bull Terrier. Today, this label is being used to describe any dog with a large head or muscular body regardless of breed or mixed genetics. “Pit bull” means something different to everyone.

DNA studies have even proved the fact that many dogs labeled “pit bull” have no APBT in their genetic makeup. So, the use of this label, “pit bull” is arbitrary, subjective, and often randomly applied. There are shelters in this country where the label “pit bull” is an automatic death sentence. There are people in this country who fear any dog labeled as “pit bull”, therefore they are the ones who fill our animal shelters. Is that fair? EVERY dog should be judged as an individual regardless of breed or labels.

Now lets talk about these statistics Howard mentions. “Pit bulls bite. A lot” are the words she used in her article. They are also the most abused breed of dog in the United States. Once referred to as “the nanny dog,” today they get a bad rap due to one sided media reporting. “It leads the list in unprovoked attacks” is also mentioned by Howard. This statement completely boggles my mind because every dog, regardless of breed, will show signs of distress before it attacks. We also have to ask what kind of conditions these dogs lived in before the attacks took place. Were they a beloved family pet and properly socialized with healthy guidance, were they abused/starved, or were they used as a lawn ornament isolated from regular human contact?

Let’s keep in mind the individual way of thinking as I mentioned earlier. Not all dogs who come from negative situations will cause injury. A prime example would Jonny Justice. Jonny was one of the 49 dogs confiscated from Michael Vick’s horrendous dog fighting ring (only one of the 49 had to be euthanized due to extreme aggression towards people). Today, Jonny Justice is a therapy dog and participates in reading programs with children. These dogs were given a second chance at life because animal advocates worked hard to prove they were worth saving. They proved to the world dogs are capable of overcoming the worst experiences imaginable.

Howard also brings up breed specific legislation (BSL) for the city’s “pit bull problem.” Countless studies prove BSL is ineffective. It fails to capture all dangerous dog owners (regardless of breed), while unnecessarily persecuting the responsible family pet owners. BSL creates a false sense of security, with no actual increase in public safety. Citizens believe they are safer, but are not. Some areas with BSL have seen dog bites decrease at slower rates than communities that have breed-neutral dangerous dog laws. BSL is also a waste of tax payer dollars that could be used on more pressing matters in our communities.

So what is the real problem? The answer is simple… irresponsible dog owners! How can we start to fix the problem? Education. People need to be educated on the standards expected of them if they want to own a dog. People need to be encouraged to spay and neuter their pets and made aware of low cost programs available. Dangerous dog owners need to be held accountable. Repeat offenders need to lose their right to own a dog.

In conclusion, it is not fair to judge all dogs falling within a specific label when the real problem is far greater. The media has a huge responsibility to investigate and publish all facts before they feed into people’s fears. We need to look at dogs as individuals. Stop stereotyping and unfairly discriminating. Those of us who speak up are not only “’Pit’ fans,” but fans of all dogs and seek fair treatment for all breeds.

Murisa Printup


Sparklers Could be Dangerous

I read about Niagara County legislature's proposal for legalized sparklers. You can do lot of explosive damage with sparklers. You can scrape off gun powder and put it in a bottle. These people don't know the damage they can do. I am 70 yrs old. These legislators are pinheads to approve it. if Muslims get a hold of this, they can do all sorts of damage.

Concerned in Niagara County


Contraceptives Gateway to Abortion

Any honest statistician will acknowledge that contraceptive usage has, in a cause-and-effect way, exacerbated and elevated the incidences of sexual mischief and abortion to their present destructive levels.

Consider, too, the corroborating fact that many of today's "contraceptives" act, physiologically, as abortifacients.

Far from lessening abortion's incidence, then, as one Jan. 2nd Buffalo News letter writer incorrectly holds, contraception is fetal slayings’ number one enabler and encourager.

To no avail, I, a retired truant officer, opposed the advancement of said grievous anti-life evils at the hands of public salaried counselors, nurses, administrators and school district officials.

And the recollections today haunt me on a daily basis. The print media are to be commended for airing this factual rebuttal .

Joseph A. Carnevale
Aged 84, Buffalo


Council to silence residents?

On tonight’s City Council agenda there will be a vote to silence residents and censor our freedom of speech, violating our first amendment rights. The agenda item will change the time public speakers are allowed to speak, and what residents can say.

This will amend the city charter and change how many minutes residents can speak at city council meetings from five minutes to three minutes. Public speakers have been allowed to speak at these meetings for five minutes for over 20 years.

Why change it now?

The city council meets two or three times a month. This is one of the very few places people have to interact with city government, to let our elected officials here our concerns, if anything they should increase the time from five minutes to seven.

I have been to many council meetings and the average number of people that speak are between three to eight people, therefore there should be no time change, and people should be able to say what they want as long as it’s respectful. If someone comes and talks about the bad job city government is doing, or criticizes a department, under this new law will it be offensive, will the speaker be asked to stop speaking, will concerns go unanswered? Where is the accountability? As with the garbage plan, the change was voted on with no public input, only after it was passed residents had a say. The budget was passed with a tax increase, with one public hearing held, why not three or four in different parts of the city. The hearing was at four PM when most people are just getting out of work. Accountability? There doesn't seem to be any. Maybe someone doesn't want to hear the concerns residents have or maybe they don't care. With all the issues facing our city, this one is important, limiting our are freedom of speech, let’s hope the city council votes this down. This is America not communist China or East Germany.

Robert Ventry Jr
Niagara Falls


Drug Story was Helpful

I am very impressed with the content of your publication and article on Drug Culture. I am a Nurse Educator at ECC -North campus and have a 2.5 hour lecture prepared for my students about substance abuse and the impact it has on our patients and the community. I am very interested in using the content written by Mr. Frank Parlato for my substance abuse/use lecture that I present to my nursing students. Mr Parlato's article really gets to the point of the current addiction issue in WNY and I thank him for writing it.

Annette T. Mineo Brady RN MSN


Call Marijuana by its True Name -- Cannabis Indica/Sativa

I humbly correspond in reference to your January 13-20 editorial, "Reporter to examine legalization of marijuana in New York state." Between 1999 and 2001, I worked full-time as a print reporter in the Capital Region. In the 14 years since, numerous freelance articles and letters to the editor of mine have been published in local media. My work often takes a critical look at New York's strict cannabis laws and compares them to the progress of cannabis legalization nationwide.

In your examination, please consider two facts: (#1) The plants in question are named botanically Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica, not "marijuana" (there are other varieties of the cannabis plant, but they are reportedly used very rarely in the United States for industrial, medicinal, nutritional or recreational purposes). The word "marijuana" is Mexican Spanish slang--it literally combines the lady names Mary and Jane--for the cut-and-dried, seedless, female flowers of cannabis plants.

I think all media should cease utilizing that simplistic slang term, because in so doing they provide inaccurate information about cannabis to the public. It's a dioecious plant species, offering separate male (pollinating) and female (seed-bearing) flowers, as well as stalks that yield strong fibers and useful pulp. Cannabis hemp--when both flower types are grown together in fields--cannot be consumed as a drug at all.

The history of cannabis in New York State (#2) is undeniable: First, many public records are available proving that cannabis hemp was grown by New York farmers, going all the way back to colonial days. How else did Hempstead, Long Island get its name? Secondly, cannabis plant extracts were already commonly prescribed by New York doctors, who treated a plethora of ailments with these natural remedies from about 1850 through the 1940s. The 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, passed by the U.S. Congress, eventually compelled doctors to stop writing such prescriptions. Forty years later, in 1980, New York bravely started to challenge the federal "marihuana" ban by enacting a therapeutic-research law at the behest of a state lawmaker and cannabis proponent, Antonio Olivieri, who died that year after battling brain cancer (that law was basically forgotten in the era of President Ronald "Just Say No" Reagan, who vigorously enforced the federal ban).

Thank you, sirs, for considering all relevant facts in regards to cannabis plants. I look forward to reading your analyses.

Lawrence D. Goodwin
Milton, NY


Advisable to Study Other States on Marijuana Legalization

My name is Calvin Hill. I've contributed to your paper in the past and respect what your paper has done for the city, which is why I'm writing to you now.

I was a volunteer for Jack Herer in the '90's when he was at the forefront of the push for Prop. 215, the first legislation in California that made Cannabis "legal".

Since then I've founded American Organic Remedies, a small collective that provides safe access to organically grown Cannabis to anyone with a recommendation from a licensed physician. It's a great way to make a little extra money (I also have a full time job dispatching at a limousine company), but also provides my clients with safe, but more importantly, discreet access to Cannabis. I pay taxes, am regulated by the state and my clients and I like the current situation. Many of them are professionals who would not want to bump into their children's friends at a dispensary, so they call me.

I wanted to draw your attention to the system that Cuomo has developed that only allows 5 growers in NY to produce and distribute Cannabis for medicinal use. This is basically like only allowing Genesee Beer to be produced and sold in NY State. If that were the case, the Bills would be playing at Genesee Stadium right now.

I'm not sure who these lucky few are that have been given this privilege, but I'd bet a dollar to a donut that they know more about Cuomo than they do about Cannabis. If NY wants to reap the same financial benefits that accompany this sort of legislation, they're going to have to make it an opportunity that's available to anyone willing to comply with state standards. Any thing less is just making a black market gray.

I'd suggest looking into Colorado's system also. When they developed it, they had the benefit of hindsight and could look at the pros and cons of California's new laws and draw theirs to better suit their needs.

Something to keep in mind as you examine the laws of each state is when they got into the game. California was the first, so we had to convince and in many cases acquiesce to the “Just Say No” crowd.

So, that's my two cents. Have a great day and keep up the good work,

Calvin Hill
Culver City, California






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Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
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