What is HELP FIDO?

Humane Education Leads to Progress
For Informed Dog Owners

Vision Statement: We envision a society free from discrimination, where responsibility, education, love and compassion allow humans to fully respect and understand man's best friend.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dr. M's Whitehall Meeting Adventure

Hello all! These are the basics of the testimony I gave on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at the Whitehall City Council meeting in response to our old friend Jackie Thompson's comments concerning "outsiders" running the city of Whitehall. She made her comments at the previous meeting on July 1st. Here goes.....

I would like to take this opportunity to address some comments made by Councilwoman Thompson at the last public meeting.

I am obviously not a resident of Whitehall. I am what Ms. Thompson refers to as an "outsider". I am, however, a Veterinarian working in Whitehall. I am the Veterinarian mentioned by Ms. Thompson during her butchered, self-edited reading of a post she found on a "pit bull" website. I have quietly sat by watching what has unfolded during meeting after meeting of this council. I have come here with many others, taking time out of our busy schedules, taking time away from out families because of our concern for the citizens and animals of Whitehall. Many of us have friends or family in Whitehall. As for me, a large majority of my clients and patients live here. That makes what happens here very important to me. At first, I attended the meetings so that I would be more aware of the situation for the sake of my clients and patients. However, as I learned more, I wanted to get involved. Living most of my life in NYC, and practicing there for several years, afforded me the opportunity to work with many "pit bull" type breeds and as such, I thought I could help to make some positive change here in Whitehall. I must say that I am very pleased with the passing of the new ordinance. But, I know that we have a long way to go with enforcement.

Although many council members expressed that it was what Whitehall citizens said to them that swayed them to vote "yes", I think that what the "outsiders" did in public and behind the scenes was also very important.

I also must say, Ms. Thompson, that you yourself have many times in this forum quoted information and statistics obtained from "outsiders", and mentioned incidents that occurred in "outside" communities when it suited you to support your point of view. However, you vehemently scorned "outsiders" when you addressed the public at the last meeting. I find this the epitome of hypocrisy.

I have spoken to many members of the Whitehall community regarding BSL, and although many are opposed to it, they are reluctant to come forward in public to the council for fear that they may become direct targets for Ms. Thompson and her supporters. This is a downright shame that people should have to feel this way. As a result, many of us "outsiders" thought it would be the right thing to step forward and assist Whitehall citizens in having their voices heard, as well as to be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves...the animals.

Also, what happens in Whitehall does not necessarily stay in Whitehall. Individuals from other communities are interested in what happens here because they do not want BSL to come to their municipality.

Aside from my clients and patients residing in this city and my overall concern for them, I also pay Whitehall taxes. So, whether or not you like the fact that I live elsewhere, that alone should make my opinion matter to you.

In addition, I think that Whitehall residents, council and most importantly the MEDIA should be less concerned with "outsiders" who are trying to make positive changes and be more concerned with impostors who are touting imaginary credentials and posing as "experts". Just because someone gives themselves a title does not make it so. Before believing what a person says and taking what they say as gospel, or better yet, putting what they say in print and reporting it to the public as fact, please do your homework and check into their background. Whether they claim to be a veterinarian, behaviorist, an animal rescuer, or what have you.

I think that now that this animal ordinance has passed, EVERYONE needs to work hard to put it into practice to make Whitehall a safer place for its citizens. My hope is that Whitehall will become a model for other communities to follow when it comes to bite prevention, safety, public education and proper animal care.

Thank for your time.

Well, that's it folks. I also have a couple of side notes to add. During my reading of this statement as well as while other individuals (like our own Adam, and a Whitehall citizen who has been very active in the recent events) were reading their own statements, Ms. Thompson donned her familiar smirk and folded arms and occasionally whispered to fellow councilwoman Leslie LaCourte. She was her usual disrespectful self. She then accused the public last night of attacking her and continued on her tirade against "pit bulls", the Whitehall city budget, etc. UNTIL....city attorney Mike Shannon left quietly (I'm not sure if that was in response to Ms. Thompson's comments) and then THE MAYOR pretty much stormed out without a word during her usual anti "pit bull" escapade, followed by the city auditor Kim Maggard. That cut Ms. Thompson short as she seemed quite embarrassed. I never thought anything could stop her ranting...but this pretty much did it! Overall a very entertaining meeting. That's all for now!

1 comment:

Adam said...

Clap, Clap, Clap… It was great Dr. M!

I have to say I was greatly disheartened to hear that in the recent weeks Whitehall has seen several dog incidences. I think President Brent Howard said it best when he said, “Owning a dog comes with responsibility. Not only a responsibility for the animal, but also a responsibility to your community.” I had a similar statement somewhere on my scribbled mess of a note card. I have to say that is one GRANDSLAM of a point. Dog owners are the ones with the ability to harbor their animals either in harmony with the community or in a way that can be debilitating to it.

As I said last night:

When dogs are allowed to roam unleashed…

The owner has failed
When dogs are abused and neglected…
The owner has failed

When dogs are put in a position to bite…
The owner has failed

When dog are allowed to roam and ‘terrorize’ citizens…
The owner has failed

These are the dogs of HELP FIDO...our dogs...this is why we are here...