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Voice: Bouquets better than bashing

July 14, 2001

The morning after Madeline Olsen's vindictive letter against our local Humane Society that appeared in this column, a more thoughtful patron left a large bouquet at the pet shelter for manager Charlene.

For 13 years this lady has put in 64 hours a week at the shelter, using so much of her own salary that she keeps less than minimum wage for herself. She and volunteers maintain the aging building and depend on private donations, fund drives, service fees and bingo for the average $65,000 a year needed to keep the doors open. In-kind donors also deliver other necessities such as pet foods and cat litter that the meager budget could not adequately provide.

Beyond the view of our critic, a day's routine begins with confining the guard dogs, scrubbing down the place with Clorox, opening cat cages for feline exercise and play, and accepting and giving shots to all incoming animals. Charlene keeps her own pets behind the service counter, and takes them home each night. Except for those few nighttime cats who specially hunt for scavenging mice, all animals are confined for the night and during the day are out for adoption.

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The humane side of our society does not warrant the tarnished picture Ms. Olsen cared to paint. The bouquet was more appropriate.

If you include the Humane Society in your plans, please send donations directly to the Society at 1575 W. Pico Road in El Centro.

JAY VON WERLHOF

Ocotillo

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