Letters to the Editor

Jan 20, 1999 at 4:00 am
To the Editor:
I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful article on Avitrol ("Pigeons Dropping," RFT, Jan. 13). Newspapers rarely bother to publish such thorough and well-written stories, especially when the victims are "only animals." If we're lucky, that article might actually make some people try some of the alternate methods of pigeon control, or -- horrors! -- a few folks might even decide that they can live with the pigeons after all.

Thanks again to Jeannette Batz and the editor. Keep up the good work!
Ione L. Smith, D.V.M.

To the Editor:
When a human does something especially vile and disgusting, it is common for them to be called "like an animal." But only humans do these things. Animals, with few exceptions, kill only to eat or defend themselves. Even in mating season they do not kill their adversary.

But humans delight in killing. We are preoccupied with it. We use it as the first, not the last, resort. Unhappy with a country's politics? Bomb them! Has someone grown up without skills in this conservative paradise and resorted to crime? Kill them! Don't ask why. Don't ask what is wrong with a society that believes in building prisons but not funding schools. Think only of us. Wildlife in the way? Kill it! Need to pollute the environment to make a buck? That's OK. Sure, it will kill some people, but so what? Want a fur or fur-trimmed coat? That's OK, we'll just kill something for you.

I am sure we are not God's "favorite mistake."
Joseph M. Reichert

To the Editor:
I would like to commend Jeannette Batz on the article this past week in the RFT on feral pigeons. I volunteer for Wild Bird Rehabilitation in Crestwood. WBR is known for songbird rehabilitation, as they accept ill, injured and orphaned songbirds up to the size of crows. We also take pigeons when space is available. Pigeons are what I prefer to work with and have worked with for over 5 years, and one of our most loved education birds is a pigeon. We have received birds that have been poisoned; some make it, some don't. It is sad and maddening to watch an animal die in your hand from something like Avitrol. No, they don't scream; they hardly make any noise when they fight, maybe a few grunts. As far as one pigeon driving off other pigeons when they die, pigeons settle in an area or on a building and will "home" to that building when they fly off and fly back in. A dead neighbor just means a possible mate or more room/food for the next guy. The flapping will not drive them away!

Pigeons have been able to blend in with humans quite well, adapting to their environment -- quite like humans have done as they spread across the planet, adapting to different environments. Pigeons are not like many other species that would simply die out because the one tree they depend on dies out. I am not anthropomorphizing, but are we to condemn a nonhuman species for adjusting to their environment as we did to ours? As far as zoonotic diseases in the feces, I have shoveled piles of this stuff and not gotten sick from it. If I had histoplasmosis, I did not know it. Salmonella can be gotten anywhere, as we all know.

This form of "bird control" is cruel, inhumane and an easy way out of a situation that could probably be handled if the building/home owner used a bit of common sense and building improvement. As to Mr. Swindle's comment "pigeons are dumb as dirt," any animal, including humans, are as smart as they need to be to survive. They find food, shelter, they mate, they raise their babies ... they have things to do and places to go.

Again, thank you for your attention to this inhumaneness.
Diane Longenecker


To the Editor:
As a city resident and parent in the voluntary-transfer program, I am happy that a settlement in the desegregation program ("The End of Deseg as We Know It," RFT, Jan. 6) has been reached. With the passage of the Feb. 2 sales-tax measure, not only will the transfer program be continued but necessary funds will be channeled into the city school system for improvements. As I see it, this is a win-win situation, and I encourage St. Louis voters to support the upcoming school-tax issue.

Debora Hawkins

To the Editor:
The two-thirds-cent sales tax that city voters will be asked to approve next month is a good deal. This tax, which will be borne in large part by out-of-towners, will return control of the schools to our community. In addition, for each dollar (the tax) generates, the state will kick in almost twice that amount.

At the same time, the passage of this tax will maintain choice by allowing the continuation of the magnet schools, as well as the voluntary-transfer program.

With this tax, we know our future. If the desegregation case goes back to court, we don't know what is in store for us.

Almitra Johnson

To the Editor:
My husband and I made a mistake. We bought a house in the city. We have a nice home with a low mortgage payment. Two-and-a-half years and two children later, we realize the city schools are in such bad shape that private-school tuition will make up for what we've saved in housing costs. We also know that poor schools have contributed to the decline in property values. We can't move, since we'd barely get what we paid for the house.

We will not vote for a tax increase and cling to the hope that it may improve schools. We will not factor higher taxes into our budget with no guarantee of improvement. We will pay tuition to the school of our choice, a school that meets our very high standards. Our children deserve better than what is offered now, and our taxes may or may not improve the school around the corner. I would be more willing to support a tax increase to get my street plowed in the winter. At least I would see concrete results.

We should have moved to Ladue, where not only do they have good schools, they get to remove themselves from this issue entirely (The Privileged Class," RFT, Jan. 13). Considering what I'll pay in tuition, we could have afforded a $200,000 home, with our children in the best schools, our streets plowed, the value of our home increasing and our thoughts far from the problems of the poor city kids.

Christine Kiefer


To the Editor:
Thanks for Michael Roberts' review and tribute to one of our national treasures, Hank Williams ("Are You Sure Hank Done It That Way?" RFT, Jan. 13). What Hank Williams forgot about country music is more than Shania Twain and Alan Jackson will ever know. And Garth Brooks? I'll give Kinky Friedman the last word on Mr. Brooks. He calls him the "Anti-Hank."

Tim Kidwell