- Snake Nation Press Conference a success

The inaugural Snake Nation Press Conference on Literature and Literacy was a great success with two full days of readings and discussions.

One of the highlights was our "Panel Discussion on Literacy" which explored many important issues that should be of concern to every citizen in South Georgia. Of the many disturbing facts that emerged from the panel discussion one stood out, and that is the expected federal budget cuts for adult education and literacy programs. We urge the people of Valdosta to contact their political representatives and urge them to stop any cuts in adult/literacy education. Having a literate population strengthens not only the individual, but the entire community and our nation as a whole.

The panel members included: Alvin Payton, Jr., Denise Lee-Mathis, Charlie Oliver, Vonda Jones, and Geneva Reed, and was moderated by Paul Arambula of Snake Nation Press. We wish to extend special thanks to Lowndes County Commissioner, J. Edgar Roberts for attending the event.

Also thanks to Valdosta State University English department (our co-host), the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, and the many volunteers who helped make this conference possible.

Snake Nation Press is dedicated to creating a community of readers and writers in South Georgia and we look forward to another conference next year.

Please visit our website at www.snakenationpress.org for more information.

- Hats off to Sullivan response

-- EDITOR'S NOTE: Response to letter by Mechelle Sullivan in Wednesday's paper. "Only You Can Stop 'You"thanasia --

Hats off to Mechelle Sullivan for her response to the person criticizing the Lowndes County Animal Shelter. As a long-time animal welfare advocate, I am frustrated by the fact that so many animals are euthanized each year, not to mention those who are unlawfully abandoned by uncaring owners to terrible deaths by disease, starvation, animal attacks, traffic, torture by animal abusers, and use by dog fighters at "bait" top train their fighting dogs. Rather than criticizing those who are doing their best to combat the epidemic of unwanted animals, each of us needs to help eliminate the need for "you"thanasia. We all share the responsibility for the thousands of unwanted animals.

If you own a pet who has not been spayed or neutered, you are contributing to the problem. If you start feeding a stray cat or dog without taking the responsibility to have it screened for disease, vaccinated, and sterilized, you are contributing to the problem-in fact, you are compounding it if the animal becomes pregnant or impregnates other animals The cost of one vet visit is far less than the tax dollars spent dealing with a litter of unwanted puppies or kittens. If you don't intend to assume this responsibility, you have a duty to take the animal to the shelter to prevent that animal from producing more unwanted animals. If you "dump" an unwanted animal rather than taking it to the shelter, you are committing a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. If you adopt an animal without thoroughly investigating the responsibilities involved, you are contributing to the problem. If you breed animals for sale, you are contributing to the problem. The more animals produced deliberately, the fewer the homes available for rescue animals.

Did you know that persons who offer for sale or exchange (free to a good home) more than one litter of dogs or cats a year without a Department of Agriculture breeders license are in violation of state law? That's right! If you allow your dog or cat to have one litter each that you offer for free or for sale, or if you allow your dog or cat to have two litters in a year you are violating state law if you don't have a breeder's license. The fine imposed on unlicensed breeders is a lot more than the cost of spay/neuter. If you are unwilling to spend the money for spay/neuter, then don't get a dog or cat. The Humane Society sponsors a reduced-cost spay/neuter program for low income families.

As Mechelle said, "If you don't like the way animal control is handled, then don't contribute to the necessity for animal control"! Only you can stop "You"thanasia.

Selina W. Dunworth

Lake Park Area Animal Rescue

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