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Our Opinion: Honoring Edna

July 23, 2001

If dogs and cats are not allowed into heaven, as many argue, Edna Martin is terribly disappointed right now.

Martin, who died Thursday at age 98, spent much of her time and almost all of her fortune keeping unwanted and abandoned pets alive. Lulu Belle Memorial Animal Haven on Dogwood Road north of El Centro and east of Imperial, over the last decade and a half, became the temporary or permanent home for thousands of dogs and cats cast off by humans. While they might not have had the loving families in which so many pets revel, at least the animals didn't have to be put to death for committing no crime.

We hope that can continue. Lulu Belle's has had difficulties for years, but has been struggling to stay open even more in recent months as Martin's finances became embroiled in controversy and nastiness. Fortunately, some big local businesses took on the burden of providing food for the animals at the haven and others have contributed time or money to keep the facility open. We hope all will continue to do so, at least until Lulu Belle's can get on steady financial ground.

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There is the chance that will never happen, so Lulu Belle's is a project the community may have to take on to a greater degree than ever before. The county Humane Society shelter is already overcrowded and its staff overworked. It could not possibly take on the overflow if Lulu Belle's were to close.

We all know if Lulu Belle's were to be shut down, it would mean more innocent dogs and cats would have to be euthanized, which is just a euphemism for killed. Almost all those dogs and cats would be sentenced to death because of the negligence of humans, who are too busy, too preoccupied or too uncaring to either get their pets spayed or neutered or provide the animals a decent home. There are sweet and beautiful animals at Lulu Belle's right now just looking for a loving home.

Martin, an unparalleled real estate saleswoman in agricultural properties, was such a giving person and such a lover of animals that she gave everything she had to Lulu Belle's — literally.

A fitting memorial to Edna Martin from this community would be for this community to come together and work tirelessly and give generously to keep Lulu Belle's open.

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