2016-09-22 / Opinion


No Reason to Kill Cliff

To the Editor:

I was utterly shocked to read that there is a death warrant out for Cliff the coyote. And he is not going to be euthanized, but rather killed. Euthanasia refers to mercy killing, like when we put our companion animals "to sleep." Cliff surely isn't terminally ill nor in interminable pain. Simply put, he's become a "problem" because of us. Using the word "euthanized" is an attempt to sanitize that he is to be intentionally killed when found. People don't like to hear that he is to be killed or, some might say, murdered. Cliff is a feeling, sentient being, who experiences a wide range of emotions, just like the dogs with whom we share our homes. Many people have suggested that the word "murder" should be extended to nonhuman animals when they are hunted down and killed.

There is absolutely no reason to kill Cliff. The newspaper report ("Euthanized: Final Fate for Coyote," Sept. 15) indicated he was watching after pups who need his care and eating food given to him by humans. As in so many other instances when a wild animal becomes a "problem," we're to blame. I've had a few emails about this, one person asking something like if experts go out and kill "problem" coyotes, why can't I?

I hope that killing so-called "problem animals" will soon become an option of the past. It sets a horrific example that basically says if an animal becomes a "problem" because of us, go ahead and kill him or her. No worries, they're merely disposable objects. Indeed, they are not. And what a terrible example for youngsters, who should learn about humane education and the need for peaceful coexistence in an increasingly human-dominated world. Animals such as Cliff are not unique, are becoming increasingly common as we trespass into their homes without a care in the world, and they deserve to live. Indeed, most try to avoid us, but it's almost impossible because we are here, there, and everywhere.

The life of every single individual matters and we suffer the indignities to which we subject other animals. Let's close down the killing fields and strive for peaceful coexistence with the other animals with whom we share space and time. People must accept responsibility for what they do to attract animals to their homes, and can't just keep killing them because they take advantage of what we do.

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D.
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Colorado, Boulder
Advisory Board, Project Coyote

Community Shows Compassion

To the Editor:

Having lived here for the past 33 years, I have always known that Aquidneck Island is a very special place to call home. That sense of community has never been more evident than this past week. Like your readers, we at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center were devastated by news of the terrible fire in Middletown on Labor Day, where Ramon Isaiah Arroyo lost his life. Ramon was a student in the center's Summer Camp and all five of his siblings participated in one or more of our education programs. His sister Olga works in our Afterschool and Summer Camp programs. This tragedy hit very close to home and we were compelled to help.

Our board and staff agreed the MLK Center would work to raise awareness and act as a clearinghouse for donations, to get needed resources directly to the family as quickly as possible. We are humbled by the outpouring of generosity and compassion for Ramon's parents, Banghy Morales and Ramon Arroyo, Jr. and their family.

This family's tragedy affects more than one town. Generous donations made directly to the family – most accompanied by words of shared grief and messages of comfort – have poured in from all six Newport County municipalities, from across our state and beyond. Donors from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Florida, and South Carolina have banded with the local community in trying to help this precious family.

Speaking at her brother's funeral, Nifaty Morales explained when Ramon knocked someone down while playing football, he immediately reached down to lift them back up. Ramon's death has knocked our entire community down, but together, we are doing our very best to lift his family, and ourselves, back up.

The MLK Community Center's mission is to be a locus of hope and help for Newport County. It has been our deepest privilege to have been a local resource at this incredibly difficult time.

It has never been our place to speak for Ramon's family. But it is my place to speak on behalf of all of us at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center to express our profound shared grief, our wishes for peace and healing for Banghy and Ramon Jr., their children and extended family, and our enormous gratitude to our caring and generous community.

Marilyn Warren
Executive Director, MLK Center

Make a Place for Cliff

To the Editor:

I am concerned about what is happening to Cliff the coyote. I had recently learned that Cliff is getting fed by humans and losing his fear of humans because of getting fed. So now he is getting euthanized.

We humans fed Cliff and that wasn’t his fault, it was ours. So I was wondering if we could make some sort of zoo or enclosed area where we could put the animals that may be getting euthanized and that aren’t hurt.

I thought we could do this because it wasn’t Cliff’s fault he lost his fear of humans. It was our fault and now he is going to get killed.

Isn’t it sad that Cliff is going to die because of us? So this is why I’m asking you to help and make a place for these animals nearby.

Cliff is a living animal that is like us. However, we have control over where we live and what we eat. Cliff is just trying to survive and feed his family. Cliff has feelings and doesn’t want to die, as you probably don’t want to die. I also want to say that I feel like this about other animals.

Olivia Dube
Fifth-Grade Student
Gaudet Middle School

Tax Subcommittee Meeting Sept. 26

The Middletown Tax Exploration Subcommittee will meet Monday, Sept. 26, at 6:30 p.m in the Middletown Fire Station Community Room.

The group will consider, discuss and act upon the following items of business:

To examine the way the Town of Middletown assesses and levies property taxes;

Explore and examine how to adapt the California property tax system for Middletown;

How to give Middletown taxpayers affordable, predictable, and transparent tax liability.

The meeting location is accessible to the handicapped. Individuals requiring interpreter services for the hearing impaired should notify the Town Clerk’s Office not less than 48 hours before the meeting.

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