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Letters to the editor – Wednesday (9-10-08)

Starving animal a horrifying sight
Yesterday I happened upon the most horrific case of animal abuse I’ve ever seen. A friend and I were coming in from a fun-filled Saturday when we noticed a driver pulled over, gawking at something on the side of the road. What I saw will always be burned into my memory. Someone had abandoned a helpless dog. I rushed to my friend’s to get my car, and I was on a mission. When I returned, someone had even attempted to place food and water on the side of the road for the dog. However, it was obviously too late for nourishment. He couldn’t eat and could barely lift his head above the ground! The dog wasn’t even 6 months old. He was a boxer mix and should’ve been twice that size. The appalling thing was that he was skin and skeleton. This dog was intentionally being starved to death and then was abandoned on the side of the road to die!
I was angry at the pathetic coward who could do such an inhumane thing to a living creature! If they didn’t want the pup, they could’ve found him a home. Or, they could’ve contacted the Humane Society. As a last resort, they could’ve taken him to the shelter.
I couldn’t get the dog because obviously he wasn’t in the mood to be handled by a human. I didn’t have any protective gloves or clothing with me. So I left a message with the Humane Society. I continued to check on the dog in the meantime. Later into the evening, he was gone. The food and water dish were gone as well. I don’t know who got the pup or what was done with him. But I can only hope someone did the right thing!
ó Tammy L. Walser
Rockwell
Caring for elders
The baby boomers are now the sandwich generation. On one hand, elderly parents need our help and support. On the other, our children and their children pull us in another direction.
Making decisions about elder care is not easy. Retirement communities, nursing homes or in-home care are options that must be carefully weighed. We want to ensure our elders get the kind of care they gave us as infants when we were unable to survive without love and protection.
Based upon personal experience with the in-home care industry, I offer the following:
The in-home care industry, as a whole, is not currently regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services, Older Adult Division. Be sure the service provider is licensed by the state. Call DHHS to make certain.
Never sign a contract or agreement without thoroughly checking the business’ track record.
When signing an agreement, look for restrictions on your rights. Things like paying for the business’ lawyer fees in case of a lawsuit or excessive restrictions on your freedoms to voice complaints are caution flags.
Ask for a list of current and former clients.
In-home services may employ workers who are not trained or licensed to do the skilled care that many elderly clients need. Skilled care requires state licensure.
If one should encounter resistance, excuses, failure to provide services, home care workers who do not do their job or who abuse the elderly, report the situation to your local Social Services office immediately.
If Medicare or Medicaid funds are involved, notify the authorities immediately should problems arise.
Unfortunately, until February 2009, the kind of laws that regulate childcare and nursing homes will not be in place for the in-home elder care industry. It is up to every family to ensure one’s elders get the best care possible.
ó J. Dwaine Phifer
Cleveland

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