Letters to the Editor

A stranger’s unexpected gesture of gratitude gave table of Columbus teachers a welcome blessing

A group of teachers met for lunch at a local Mexican restaurant after returning from the Winter Break today. While we were eating lunch and of course talking about school related stuff, a lady from a nearby table approached us. She asked if we were teachers and began to tell us how much she admired what we do every day. She said that we were the real heroes and should be honored. She continued to say that we should be respected and be earning the big salaries since we end up spending our own money in our classrooms anyway.

We were all extremely touched by these kind words and thanked her for making our day. As she returned to her table, we sat there just in shock because none of us had ever experienced anything like this. What a nice compliment she had given us on our first day back at work!|

A couple of minutes later, she returned to our table and said that she wanted to buy all of our lunches. We told her that her kind words had blessed us more than she knew. She just insisted on buying everyone's lunch no matter what we said. (There were 12 of us!) She left her food on her table, and went to pay our checks so the owners wouldn't think we were skipping out without paying.

We all left the restaurant feeling so blessed! Still, several hours later, we are in awe over how this stranger blessed us in multiple ways. In today's world, it is so rare to have a blessing like she provided today, and we just wanted to thank her.

Michele Gibson, Columbus

Cruel and futile

Bo the dog, and the Good Samaritan who helped his owner free him, were lucky to have escaped serious injury after stepping into steel-jaw leghold traps in Windsor Park on Christmas Eve (“Columbus man hears ‘excruciating scream,”’ finds neighbor’s dog caught in coyote trap,” December 27).

Trapping and killing coyotes will not prevent conflicts with them. If coyotes are removed from an area, they will quickly be replaced by others. And if attractants like pet food and garbage are not promptly removed in a neighborhood, new coyotes in the area can quickly become a “nuisance.”

Randomly killing this species, whether it’s by trapping, shooting, or with misguided killing contests like the Georgia DNR’s recent “Georgia Coyote Challenge,” will not help to grow the number of deer for hunters, either.

Quite simply, we must recognize that coyotes are here to stay, that they have an important role to play in the ecosystem, and that there are ways to humanely coexist with them.

Citizens have a tendency to demand an immediate response to their complaints, and the city of Columbus hiring a pest control company to trap coyotes is a seductive quick fix.

There are effective alternatives to indiscriminate and cruel traps, but it takes somewhat more effort and patience on the part of everyone involved. For more information and resources, including a template coyote management and coexistence plan for community officials, go to www.humanesociety.org/coyotes.

Bobbi Yeo, CEO, PAWS Humane, Inc., Columbus

No solution

It’s a shame that Bo had to suffer after being caught in a steel-jawed leghold trap because of a misguided attempt to manage a wildlife conflict (“Columbus man hears ‘excruciating scream,’ finds neighbor’s dog caught in coyote trap,” December 26).

This incident demonstrates the inherent cruelty of traps. It’s clear that Bo was injured, traumatized and in pain when this trap slammed shut on his paw. And basic mammalian physiology — not to mention common sense — tells us that his canid cousin, the coyote, with similar bone and muscle structure, would have suffered just as much. Trapping laws and regulations need to be strengthened to protect pets like Bo who are “accidentally” caught in these indiscriminate devices.

Beyond the tragedy of this particular incident, trapping and killing coyotes is ineffective at preventing wildlife conflicts, and can actually result in an increase in their populations by disrupting their social structure.

What’s more, wildlife management professionals, including the Pennsylvania Game Commission, have recently pointed out that killing coyotes will not increase survival of game species like deer. Proven, effective solutions for coexisting with coyotes include keeping pets leashed and not leaving food outside.

Coyotes occupy nearly every corner of this country. They are here to stay. Our best choice is to learn how to live safely with them, rather than try to cruelly exterminate them.

Debra Berger, Georgia state director, Humane Society of the United States