Letter: Letter writer’s comments ‘hurtful’ to Richmond animal society

Dear Editor

Re: “Shelter price tag escalates,” Letters, July 25.

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Your paper published a letter by Brian Bennett, in which he voiced a derogatory and uninformed opinion about the City of Richmond Animal Shelter, and the Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS)

Mr. Bennett’s remarks indicate that he does not understand that the City of Richmond owns the shelter building and property.

The Regional (used to be Richmond) Animal Protection Society bid on the contract to operate this shelter about 10 years ago, and they won (and since renewed) the contract from the city.

He seems to imply that the City of Richmond somehow is being coerced into paying RAPS $8 million for a shelter.

His characterization of the society as “a few private citizens, with a penchant for harboring stray cats” and as “the lunatics have indeed taken over the asylum” is spiteful, hurtful and demeaning to the many people who support RAPS.

I am a long-time Richmond resident, and I remember quite well the “old days” when animals went into the shelter, and would be routinely euthanized due to being “unadoptable” or due to lack of space in the shelter.

I remember the sad sight of many road-killed animals and I also remember that there was little or no education of the community with regard to the many good reasons to spay and neuter pets, and to keep cats indoors.

From starting small as Richmond Homeless Cats 20 years ago, the times have changed for the better. As a non-profit society, RAPS has made a huge difference not just to our community, but across B.C., and RAPS works cooperatively with the SPCA and other rescue organizations.

As a community paper, I also believe that it is irresponsible of you to publish offensive letters like Mr. Bennett’s.

I understand the right to freedom of expression and the freedom of the press,  however, when the misinformed and malicious tone of his letter is taken into account, the damage he can wreak is unconscionable.

If he were doing this in an online forum, he would be characterized as a “troll” and removed from the page when admin were notified. What will you do about this?

Joanne Nicholson

RICHMOND

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