Probe: April 30, 2002

April 30, 2002

CAT ON MEDI-CAL — You should check your facts when you say you can't put a cat on Medi-Cal. I saw it myself. I was in my vet's office when a women paid for spaying her cat with a $5 bill and a Medi-Cal card. It cost me $90 to neuter my animal. So check your facts. — Charged, El Centro

When we're wrong, we're happy to confess. We always learn more from our mistakes than from successes. We have made so many mistakes that we know practically everything.

You're lucky because this time you are going to learn something. You didn't see what you thought you saw.

When you saw a pet owner "pay" for "fixing" an animal with a Medi-Cal card and $5, you thought the money was coming out of your pocket. Wrong. No taxpayer money was involved.

The cost was picked up by Maddie's Fund, $8 million donated by the Dave and Cheryl Duffield Foundation to spay and neuter the pets of the poor in California. The Duffields are the owners of a Silicon Valley software company.


The idea is to reduce the overpopulation of animals — and to make the killing of surplus cats and pets unnecessary.

The foundation decided to require a Medi-Cal card to simplify the screening process. It's not perfect. It eliminates the working poor pet owners too rich to qualify and too poor to pay for the operation. It's a start.

If it works, every pet will have a loving home because there will be no surplus. There might even be a shortage of cats and dogs. No animal will be killed because you don't destroy valuable property.

OLD PEOPLE NEED PETS — The woman who said people too poor to take care of a pet shouldn't have a pet. Pets are good for the elderly and many elderly people are on Medi-Cal. If they need help getting their animals neutered, I'm willing to pay for it. — Taxpayer, Brawley

Good, but aren't you glad some rich people in Santa Clara County are paying for it?

QUESTION: If that young man is doing a report on famous Valley athletes, he should not forget the famous Manuel Ortiz, who reigned as the bantam weight champion from 1942 to 1950.

He was the first Mexican-American to become a world champion fighter. Ortiz was inducted into Boxing's International Hall of Fame in 1996. If he needs more information he can access Manuel's home page on the Internet. He can type in . — Boxing Fan, El Centro

Ortiz, an El Centro home boy, gave local fans a lot of thrills. Born in 1916 in Corona, he grew up in the 100 block of Olive Avenue in El Centro.

He started his boxing career in 1938, won 98 fights (49 knockouts), lost 28 and fought to a draw three times.

He became champion in 1942 and defended his title frequently. He must have made a ton of money but we don't think he had much when he died.

Perhaps because he fought so often, sports writers made up several titles for Ortiz. Weighing just 118 pounds, he was called "the little man with a hoe" or "the rancher" from El Centro and sometimes, "the lettuce farmer."

He lost his title in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1950 to Vic Toweel in what was described as a "clear-cut" decision. Ortiz died May 31, 1970.

By the way, we gave you a wrong number for Eric Galvan in Monday's PROBE. We gave you the number for Sports Editor Richard Myers, not Galvan, a lowly sports reporter. Galvan's number is 337-3434.

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