Letters to the Editor

Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Dog who was dragged behind vehicle sustained serious injuries

Unfortunately an article was printed in the Clarion on Feb. 11 that included very inaccurate information. This was the article on "Buck," the dog that had been dragged behind its intoxicated owner's vehicle and taken to Twin Cities Veterinary Clinic by Alaska State Troopers.

The article reported that the veterinarian said the dog did not sustain life-threatening injuries. I was the veterinarian who met the trooper that late night, and what I saw was the most horrific and heart-wrenching case I have encountered in almost 12 years of practicing veterinary medicine.

Miraculously, Buck was able to walk when the trooper brought him in. Even though his body was covered with large wounds that extended deep into his flesh, many areas down to bone, his eyes were kind and he seemed to understand, as animals often do, that we were there to help him.

I treated him for shock, pain and infection, and as he lay in his extra soft bed after the trooper was gone, I cupped his soft muzzle in my hands and wept as I have never wept over a patient before. I wanted to apologize somehow to him for this terrible thing that had happened, to end his misery. Without the owners consent my hands were tied, so-to-speak.

To put this in perspective, if this had been a human, he probably would have been transported to Anchorage, most likely treated similar to a severely burned patient. He would spend days or weeks in intensive care. If he had survived the initial trauma and subsequent complications with potential internal organ failure and secondary infection, he would then undergo months of surgical repair and reconstruction. Medical bills would be astronomical.

Wisely, the owners decided to end Buck's suffering and authorized euthanasia. Indeed, his wounds were life threatening, but he is in a better place now.

Dr. Jayne Hempstead

Twin Cities Veterinary Clinic

Soldotna

Future of Alaska's children should not depend on oil prices

Our community is proud of our strong work ethic. We believe in awarding and supporting our citizens who make contributions to our community and society.

Feb. 9, Kenai Peninsula Education Association and Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association were bargaining. We as public school employees are proud of our bargaining team. Hats off to you, ladies and gentlemen.

While listening to Mr. Putney's high pitch intimidation tactic as a public school employee, I am not happy. It is very disrespectful and insulting to all of us. He should go back where he came from. I don't understand why the district pays him $90,000 a year. I believe the district wants to save money? Send him back and you can save money right away. That is almost four special education workers for a year or maybe four full-time cafeteria workers for a year.

As a taxpayer and living in this town, I want to know where my hard-earned tax money goes. Salaries have slipped badly for the past 15 years. Attracting and retaining the brightest, best workers is our No. 1 problem because of underfunding. Custodians, tutors, bus drivers, clerks/typists, secretaries, aides, bookkeepers, librarians, data processors, nurses, theater technicians, food service workers and teachers are overworked.

It is time to fund public education. Public school money was continually drained because of national trends like privatization, charter schools, private schools, home schools, vouchers, block funding and high-stakes testing.

Increasing work loads, decreasing staffing, increasing job responsibilities, lower skilled people filling some jobs, difficulty in finding substitutes, difficulty in receiving leave and release time, ESP performing teachers' duties and teachers performing ESP duties: these are some issues we need to address, too.

I hope that our politicians stop blaming each other. I cannot believe that the future of Alaska's children is tied up with the price of oil.

People, this is our community. This is the future of our children and it's time to fund public education.

A very big thank you to the Peninsula Clarion newspaper.

Anita Byers

Soldotna



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