Letters: Readers weigh in on issue of the day

Farmington Daily Times
Letters to the Editor

County should continue support humane treatment of animals

Editor (This letter was sent to all five San Juan County Commissioners):

Our county is currently facing a financial crisis, as is the city of Farmington and many other areas in New Mexico.  I am a committed fiscal conservative, and am committed to being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers who support various public works in the area.

However, I do feel very seriously about the money already invested in our Regional Animal Shelter over the last many years.  To abandon the good work and progress we have made in bringing our animal population under control would be intolerable.

I am not asking that you take food off the plates of your constituents, but to continue the good work done by our shelter.  Over the last few years, our euthanasia rates are down.  Our intake rates are down.  Our rate of live releases to new families is up.  If we at the shelter do not continue to allow county citizens to take advantage of the low/no cost animal neutering program, we will be back to an "animal control" model which means destroying animals. This is no fault of the animals we work with; they are with us only because their owners had no choice in helping stop the overpopulation of pets in our area.  How sad is that?  Innocent animals should not pay the price of a commission determined to make political statements that they will not "take money from people to care for animals."

I understand that the Aztec Shelter is going to be presenting to the SJ Commissioners soon and I would encourage you to ask that they present the same numbers that the Regional Animal Shelter did in their presentation: euthanasia rates, live release rates and intake rates.

I know that animal welfare does not rate as highly as human welfare, and that is as it should be.  However, the shelter adds value to our community in many, many ways, from increasing pet availability, reducing stray populations, and ensuring that animal-borne disease is kept in check.

I have a voice....and while there are many others that do not, I will still stand for these animals that only want a loving home and someone to care for them.

I hate to think that our efforts over the last few years will be defeated by a county commission that does not have the greater good of our pet population and our citizens in their hearts as they work on their budget.

Karen Bayless


Ozone continues to threaten residents' health


The bad news for San Juan County air quality was announced on the local evening news. The American Lung Association released their 2016 report card on quality of air in America.

San Juan County, New Mexico was graded "F" for ground level ozone.  San Juan County was graded "F" for ozone levels last year too.

This is not good news for local residents who suffer from asthma, emphysema, bronchitis,  and other  respiratory diseases especially children and the elderly.   Elevated ground level ozone worsens respiratory problems which requires increased medical care and lessens quality of life.

At a public meeting in 2002 ,sponsored by the New Mexico Air Quality Department, or NMAQ, we, the people in the Four Corners Area first learned that  unhealthy ground level ozone is a serious problem here.

The Four Corners Ozone Task Force was formed to seek further information and find ways to work together to deal with the  problem. Members of the Task Force include citizens, representatives of area oil, gas and coal industries, members of  environmental  groups, NMAQ officials  and many other interested persons.

Over the past 14 years, numerous meetings have been held and stacks of documents have been generated.  Numerous experts including EPA officials have provided  information.  If our area exceeds the maximum allowable ozone level,  the federal government will step in to govern industrial emissions.  Bottom line is, the meetings, documents and lectures are not getting the job done.

According to New Mexico Health Department information, the asthma rate in San Juan County is  high.  Area cancer rates are elevated.  Shiprock and our beautiful landscapes are still veiled in ugly brown clouds of smog.  Visitors to our area are very aware that they are breathing the dirty air that they see.

It is so disgusting to think that after 14 years of united efforts to find ways to clean up San Juan County air quality , the county is still  graded "F" for ozone levels.   Our air quality has not improved much, if at all.  Ground level ozone is still a major problem along with high methane and related toxic compounds that are  released into the air that we all breathe. Some of the coal fired power plant units have been shut down. That action is not enough. The oil,  gas, and coal industries must do more to clean up their unhealthy emissions.

Safe, healthy, clean air is a basic human right. Our health is our wealth.

Shirley McNall