Week of May 16, 2001

Mad About Maddie
They have something to hide: Thank you for your report on the Humane Society's refusal to support the proposal for Maddie's Fund [Laura Higgins, "Bully on the Block," RFT, May 2]. My friends and co-workers are all disappointed that an organization we supported with donations and adoptions is uncooperative in discussing a goal common to all "humane" persons and groups. Their attitude is annoying, their reasons are vague and we're all confused. It truly does appear that they have something to hide. I am anxious to see if your magazine digs up any further information. I have e-mailed my displeasure to the Humane Society and my kudos to Stray Rescue.
Kathy Stenberg
Warrenton, Mo.

This grant could do so much: Thank you, thank you, thank you -- for taking a stance on the Maddie's Fund grant proposal and the Humane Society's refusal to participate [Ray Hartmann, "Heavy-Pawed Politics," RFT, May 2]. This grant could do so much for so many animals. The Humane Society's posture is unbelievable and a shame. Please continue to pursue this issue.
Joann Stephan
via the Internet

I saw the horrors of their locked backrooms: I was pleased to see articles addressing problems with the Humane Society's practices. Although compelling and rightfully critical, the articles only began to scratch the surface of the real secrets the Humane Society is hiding. Not only do they wish to push all other rescue organizations out of business for fear of "competition," but, by supporting Maddie's Fund, the Humane Society would have to put to sleep their old and tired practice of killing all pit-bull-type dogs that come through their doors.

I know firsthand about the truth of this horror. After having my female American bulldog stolen out of my backyard one morning, I searched frantically through all the shelters to find her. When calling the Humane Society, I was told to visit the stray area every day, because if she came in, they would put her to sleep (after the initial forced holding time). Her crime? Being a type of pit bull. I visited the Humane Society daily and saw the horrors of their locked backrooms, the rooms no one is allowed to see. Winding corridor after corridor of dogs on death row. Their crimes? Being so-called pit bulls, most of them so badly tortured and abused, they were barely recognizable as dogs anymore. Some had ears amputated, one had two broken legs, one was badly burned by a chemical or gasoline -- but not one barked at me, and almost all offered a friendly wag or lick when I put my hand to the cage. They were the victims of horrendous abuse that happens every day in St. Louis, yet they were the ones being punished. [They're] hidden away like a big scary secret that the Humane Society and the media do not want us to see.

Fortunately, through efforts like Maddie's Fund, the city of San Francisco (where almost 50 percent of all strays are pit-bull-type dogs) has been progressive in rehabilitating and re-homing pit-bull-type dogs and educating the public on dogfighting and abuse.
Name withheld by request
St. Louis

Film McReview
Bring back local reviewers: So I turn to the review about One Night at McCool's [Gregory Weinkauf, "Termagant of Endearment," RFT, April 25] expecting to see some insightful comments about the movie's connections to St. Louis -- in particular, more about the supposed link to the club Humphrey's or the related experiences of screenwriter (and erstwhile St. Louisan) Stan Seidel.

How silly of me. I forgot that the RFT uses the equivalent of wire writers for movie reviews -- people who write generically for New Times and can't provide the local insight or color the RFT is known for.

Leave the wires to the major daily, and bring back some local movie reviewers.
Burt St. John
St. Louis

Plain Vanilla
It's a world of big corporations anyway: Eddie Silva must be commended for telling it like it is regarding the sad state of our built environment and the secret handshakes that control it ["HOK-Dokey," RFT, April 18]. It is hard not to question the inner workings of HOK when, almost every way you turn, they have a big project going on, and all out of the same lame Lego pieces, it seems. With their size and influence, they have certainly made it very difficult for smaller architectural and interior-design firms to get noticed. But it's a world of big corporations anyway, isn't it? With all the big buyouts and the big mergers, it's only natural that architecture -- or, at least, profit-oriented architectural firms -- would follow. Goodbye to all the Ben & Jerry's of the world; it's all plain vanilla from now on.

It is particularly offending to me the ethics within HOK, having worked for them a number of years ago. In the midst of the all-black male outfits and DKNY dresses, there is a strong sense of "We are it" among the young ranks, which effectively clouds their judgment and makes every design decision and whim feel worthy of an award -- which, by the way, they're sure to get through their PR and political ties. If you're fresh out of Washington University's architecture school and land a position at HOK, you have become an undisputed artiste. What a slap in the face for older generations of architects who only by the sweat and blood of their efforts and lifelong learning can attain levels of deserved recognition.

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