Letters to the Editor


Inhumane treatment

I am the owner of the Feed Bag pet store in Cutchogue, but I do not sell animals. Prior to opening my store I worked for three different Suffolk stores that sold puppies. I would like to describe for you my firsthand experience in this business.

The majority of puppies sold would be trucked from huge Midwest puppy brokers, some with numerous USDA violations. When they arrived, an assembly line would be set up. The transporter would grab a pup by the back of the neck and hand it to a store employee, who would then pass the puppy to me. My job would be to “inspect” the puppy. I was not a veterinarian or a vet tech.

If the puppy had visible abnormalities it would be tossed back on the truck, its fate unknown.

The puppies sold at this store that did not come off these trucks were shipped by air to either La Guardia or Kennedy. They arrived in filthy crates filled with many puppies, not all of them alive.

The healthy-looking puppies that came into the store would go right onto the show floor. If the puppy was sick it would go to the “Iso” (isolation) room. All illnesses — kennel cough, parvovirus or distemper — were lumped together and all sick animals would go in the same room. The shop owner, not a veterinarian, would then determine the medical treatment the puppies would receive.

Every morning when we arrived for work the puppies would be filthy, covered in excrement, screaming and hungry. These were the lucky ones. Some just sat and shook. Others were removed from their cages dead. The shop owner would be compensated by the broker for puppies dying within a certain time frame after delivery.

There was no incentive to make these puppies healthy by sending them to a vet; that would cost money and affect the bottom line. After a week or so in recovery, and as demand required, they went to the sales floor. As sales associates, we were never advised to counsel potential buyers on the appropriate breed for their family. We were given bonuses based on our gross sales.

The other two stores I worked in that sold puppies differed very little from this.

When I went into this business it was because I wanted to be the person that facilitates that perfect moment when a family meets their new member. I wanted to be the one that put those fabulous smiles on their excited faces when they found the perfect puppy.

I work closely with the local shelter, providing high quality food at low cost for the sheltered animals and space in my store for animals needing homes. In spite of this, I have found that there is no way for me to sell puppies that does not contribute to the suffering of both the parent dogs and the puppies bred from them.

Reputable breeders with high standards of care do not sell their puppies to any pet stores for resale. The only option for pet stores wishing to make a profit selling puppies is puppy mills.

I do not sell animals in my store because it is impossible to do so without contributing to this barbaric trade. I wholeheartedly support this legislation and thank Legislator Cooper and Legislator Romaine for introducing this bill,

Amy Cirincione


Two big changes

I want to thank the Suffolk Times for its recent public stance opposing the sale of “puppy mill” puppies in Suffolk County. If any of the readers have ever seen the chaotic and pathetic circumstances in our local puppy store, or worse, a sick and listless puppy on display there, bravo for finally making a public statement that I can wholeheartedly sink my teeth into.

Shame on those of you who continue to support such an elitist and cruel practice by purchasing their dogs from pet shops and out-of-state breeders. Look into the eyes of a “rescue” and feel the love and pride of someone who has given and been given a second chance. For the first time in years, I closed my paper with a feeling of small-town pride.

On a broader note, bravo New York State for passing the same sex marriage bill into law. Just a year ago I had the extreme privilege and honor, as an ordained spiritual minister of The Esoteric Interfaith Church, to perform a marriage ceremony for a very dear friend and his partner of 11-plus years. My daughter (then 13) accompanied me to New Haven for this beautiful ceremony on the Yale campus. The ceremony was followed by a festive Cuban lunch and a stop at Town Hall to pick up a marriage certificate.

I would like to share these excerpts from their heartfelt and poignant vows:

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other.

Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other.

Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.

May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years.

May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth.

One year later, New York has become the sixth state to make it legally possible for two people to marry without bias. May this declaration catch fire, spread throughout the country and incinerate the prejudices existing among us.

Joni Friedman


A very good start

Recently Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper introduced a local law that would ban the retail sale of puppies by pet stores in Suffolk County, unless they are obtained from animal shelters, animal rescue organizations or local breeders.

The North Fork Animal Welfare League is in full support of this legislation.

One hundred percent of the microchipped puppies originally purchased from local pet stores and then abandoned at the Southold Animal Shelter came from huge, out-of-state puppy brokerage houses, known better as puppy mills.

While the NFAWL is aware that this law alone will not close down these hellholes, it makes a very clear statement regarding what the residents of Suffolk County are willing to participate in.

If this law passes, our community is unequivocally saying that we will not encourage, enable or support the brutal and inhumane puppy mill industry.

Voltaire said, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” There is no one perfect law that will end the suffering that puppy mills perpetuate. But this is a good law that can be an outstanding example of how acting locally can promote national change.

Please let your voices speak for those who cannot speak for themselves by attending the public hearing on this issue on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge at 6:30 p.m.

Gillian Wood Pultz
NFAWL executive director


Why the delay?

Tell me why the GOP is taking so long to make a decision on the political sign moratorium.

This is a no-brainer.

Karen Klingman


Signs are already up

It appears the next political cycle is in full swing and Democratic Committee chairman Art Tillman appears to be leading the way into silly season.

While I agree political signs are a hassle (especially for committee people who have to put them up and then take them down), he may have spoken too soon on a total moratorium on these signs. There are already political signs up in town and — guess what? — they support local Democratic politicians.

There are signs in front of a Cutchogue business supporting former town Democratic candidates because of its owner’s very public feud with the current administration.

If Mr. Tillman gets his way, would those signs be removed? Or in his rush to find free publicity, did he chose an issue that does not enjoy popular support?

If the Democratic chairman truly supports a sign moratorium, he should ask for the removal of those old signs, which are several years past the election cycle, before telling other citizens what they should or should not put up on their property.

He needs to take a drive through the town to see what is already up.

Jerry Martocchia


Bring on the signs

Buttons and bumper stickers, hats and pennants, posters and signs and, yes, even the political lawn signs are all part of the American electioneering process.

In some cases electioneering paraphernalia ends up as collectible and valuable memorabilia.

I doubt that Mr. Tillman has conducted a scientific environmental impact study to support his assessment regarding said signs being posted on people’s lawns and property.

Let me clarify: It’s called advertising and it’s the way we get our message across. Of course, if you have nothing significant to advertise and your opponent has, it’s a smart move to call for a moratorium on advertising under the guise of reducing cost and protecting the environment.

There’s no denying that the electioneering process is costly. Mr. Obama is poised to spend almost a billion dollars in his re-election bid. After all, when you’re asking the American public to re-elect a man whose policies and ideology are as detrimental as his, you have to be willing to spend a ridiculous amount of funds.

Let’s face it, the Democrats in Southold are strapped for cash, they don’t have any candidates worth the cost of a lawn sign and while their policies are a microcosm of Washington, D.C., they do nothing to enhance Southold Town roadways or neighborhoods.

Mr. Noncarrow, please send me any number of lawn signs supporting the Republican Party.

George Dengel


It’s a game-changer

It’s a sad day for New York. Gay marriage, the new law, has redefined the true meaning of traditional marriage.

What’s next?

What’s really sad and tragic is our Republican political leadership betrayed us and our Catholic bishops came on too little and way too late.

Sad, but true, it all comes down to politics, power and money, across the board. As far as the rest of us go, we all sat back and watched it all happen.

No excuses. We didn’t stand up for what was right and moral. We folded.

God help us. What has taken place is only the beginning.

Will we unite before it’s too late?

Time will tell.

Jack McGreevy


Put it in perspective

Think of the very devastating harms people have done each other, such murder, rape, pedophilia, kidnapping and arson.

Think of all the suffering involved in war, famine, illness, poverty, slavery.

Think of all the natural disasters that can befall us here on earth. Think of all the accidents to which we are subject.

Honestly, I cannot take seriously concerns over the state’s acknowledging commitments between people who love each other.

Maureen Sanders


Two basic questions

Dictionaries I’ve checked define marriage as “the legal union of a man with a woman.” Thus, “same sex marriage” is an oxymoron.

Same sex marriage legislation involves two issues. First is redefining marriage. Does a state have the constitutional authority to do so? I don’t know, but if the issue eventually goes before the U.S. Supreme Court, it will be interesting to follow.

Second is whether a state has the authority to provide the benefits and obligations of marriage to legalized same sex unions. I believe yes, but if the Supreme Court rules that a state does not have the authority to redefine marriage, then the union will have to be known as something other than marriage.

Unless, of course, the Supreme Court decides that the redefinition of marriage is not a constitutional issue and opts not to accept the case.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, I hope this legislation and whatever judicial decisions follow will go a long way to eliminating the prejudicial speech, biased actions and hate crimes to which so many of our gay brothers and sisters have been subjected.

Joe Sullivan


We are so ready

During the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, many politicians and legislators said the people were “not ready” for integration of schools, public spaces and other government services. Many went further to say the people were “not ready” for interracial marriage, and fought to enact laws forbidding it.

Today, amidst the equal rights movement of our times, Senator LaValle claims to speak for his constituents, saying that we are “not ready” for marriage equality.

The senator seems like a decent, hard-working public servant. It’s too bad he’s chosen to ally himself with those who, like his predecessors in the middle of the last century, will go down in history as lacking the courage to come out on the right side of a civil rights issue with a weak cop-out statement that we are “not ready.”

The reality is that bigoted legislators of the 1950s and 1960s were the ones who were not ready for de-segregated schools and de-segregated drinking fountains. Senator LaValle is the one who is not ready for marriage equality. His constituents, particularly the significant number of gay constituents and their straight supporters who live on the East End, are ready.

Let those of us who are ready for marriage equality also make sure the senator hears from us at the polls when he runs for re-election.

Those who write letters to The Suffolk Times proclaiming that marriage between two men or two women who love each other is an affront to your religion, do not fear. The great thing about our country is that we all are free to practice the religious beliefs of our choice.

The Marriage Equality Act changes nothing about your faith and your church, and those of us who support marriage equality should also support your right or your church’s right to believe that marriages between a man and a woman are the only true marriages.

However, those religious beliefs will no longer tread on the rights of another citizen to marry the person he/she loves. This is part of what makes this the greatest nation on the planet.

Doug Roberts


Why we celebrate

In 1821, construction workers in Alexandria, Va., accidentally disturbed a grave and discovered a body in full Revolutionary uniform. The body was quickly reburied.

There he lies, in the “tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary Soldier known but to God.” Never heard of the place? Yes, it’s little known and little visited, even though it’s in a church cemetery close to Arlington National Cemetery.

Independence Day will be upon us this weekend and, as John Adams stated, we should celebrate with “great illuminations and fanfare,” or something like that, and we will.

However, as you read this, please reflect upon the reason America came to be. It started just after Chris Columbus discovered the New World and people in Europe yearned for religious freedom and boarded little ships and crossed a big ocean and came to this New World and established themselves.

As the years went by and these settlers grew more and more self-reliant, they realized that they did not need the “mother country.” When dear old mother England crossed them one too many times, the voices of independence gained a foothold. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness ended up in our Declaration of Independence.

We wanted less government interference, more say in our daily life and, most of all, the ability to live a life far different from what had been established in all of the then-known history.

Talk about foresight. Our Founding Fathers gave us a Republic and a sense of freedom. But freedom had to be earned and many lost their lives and fortunes to establish this country.

July 4th was by all accounts a very hot day in 1776 and, yes, men and women came forth and placed their lives and fortunes on a chance that they could create a new and exciting form of government. All historical knowledge of that time placed all odds against them. Yet they persevered.

This is why we celebrate this day:

That such men and women lived and were willing to die for a just cause greater than themselves. That each succeeding generation has honored the preceding. And that our pursuit of happiness continues.

America, may you continue to persevere.

Bob Bittner


The library’s future

The Board of Trustees of Southold Free Library would like to thank James Ahearn for his thoughtful letter in last week’s edition.

We appreciate his support of our efforts to make modest, cost-effective improvements to the library in the wake of the failed bond vote last fall. While many taxpayers supported an expanded library, many did not agree with the proposed size, cost or design.

We heard from the community and have been considering the issue carefully. We believe that libraries are relevant and necessary, even in the age of e-books.

Libraries can help people navigate the overwhelming amounts of information now available to us. They can provide access to both traditional formats such as books and DVDs and new media like e-books and MP3 files.

Most importantly, the library is a common space that serves as an antidote to the isolating effects of today’s technology.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors and supporters, the library’s expansion fund now totals more than $1 million. This summer we will begin to solicit input from the public about what you want from your library now and in the years to come.

Watch for an ad in the paper announcing a series of public meetings.

Please join us, or contact director Caroline MacArthur. We want to know what Southold and Peconic residents envision for the future of Southold Free Library.

Maggie Merrill

Southold Library Board of Trustees president, on behalf of the board


You missed the point

Your recent article, “Off the grid,” in the real estate section seems to be off the mark.

It misses the real idea of solar energy as it exists today.

When I was a young kid, I took a little solar cell and powered a small electric motor to  get a tiny fan-like gadget to operate for a few seconds. As I grew up, so did those solar cells and now I power my entire home for free.

Just like 4,000 other on-the-grid adult homeowners, I use photovoltaic cells to be energy independent. No gadgets, no toys, no small fans.

You can find out the exact details fully explained at renewableenergylongisland.org/.

Joel Reitman


Close the loopholes

A few days ago Republican Senator Eric Cantor walked out of Vice President Biden’s deficit reduction meeting because, “I can’t continue with these meetings if the Democrats keep demanding tax increases”.

The Democrats are not demanding tax increases; they are trying to close costly tax loopholes. Most of us North Forkers don’t have any personal experience with loopholes because they are the province of the wealthy and corporate America.

Divert your income to a post box in The Cayman Islands? Set up subsidiaries in foreign countries where profits are lightly taxed, if at all? Make your income look like capital gains, not ordinary income? And on and on.

A report issued by the Citizens for Tax Justice found that from 2008 to 2010, 12 Fortune 500 corporations with $171 billion in profits enjoyed an effective tax rate of negative 1.5 percent because of corporate loopholes, shelters and special tax breaks.

Last year Exxon Mobil recorded $45.2 billion in profit and paid zero dollars to the IRS.

On top of this, the oil and gas industries are receiving $32.9 billion in subsidies and other tax deals.

The revenue from allowing the ill-conceived Bush tax cuts for the rich to expire would bring in nearly $40 billion of needed revenue.

If we are serious about fixing the deficit and restarting the economy — and we have to be — we must look realistically at the entire problem. Cutting expenses is a real goal. Obviously, increasing revenue should be a real goal. Sharing the pain must be a real goal, too.

We may not have personal experience with loopholes, but we can still fight to eliminate them. Tell Senator Cantor and the rest of the Republicans to look for fairness and intelligent policy, not simply goodies for greedy supporters and lobbyists.

Howard Meinke

Editor’s note: Mr. Meinke is an alternate committeeman with the Southold Democratic Party.

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