Support victims, don't turn on them

The Jason Pedroza case has illuminated significant deficits in Walnut Creek's policies and procedures for reporting suspected abuse of minors. But it has also revealed another disturbing reality -- that when teenage victims report criminal activity of an adult perpetrator, the default response from those who hear about the case is to turn on the victim.

Why do people with no access to the facts engage in this blame-the-victim mentality? I have been astounded to watch the steady stream of negativity directed at one of the victims in this case. Icy stares, cold shoulders, abandonment, betrayal, spreading rumors and false conclusions by adults and peers alike have all been part of it.

Do people not realize how painful this situation is for a teenager and how much additional trauma this causes? I implore the public in the future when you hear of such cases if you cannot find it in your heart to support a victim, please refrain from directing any negativity their way. It cuts to the core and hurts more deeply than you can imagine.

M. Peterson

Los Angeles

Editor's Note: (M. Peterson is a friend of one of the alleged victims in the police investigation of Pedroza).

Euthanasia of cats not acceptable

As a veterinarian involved in the trap, neuter, and return of feral cats, I feel compelled to respond to the number of recent letters decrying this practice.


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Even if we were to assume that our efforts had only a minimal effect in the face of such a huge problem, there are still other reasons why I and many others are so passionate about this practice.

I would remind the detractors about the story adapted from Loren Eiseley's "The Star Thrower," when an old man walking along a beach asked a young girl why she kept throwing starfish from the beach back into the water.

" 'But young lady, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You cannot possibly make a difference.'

The young woman listened politely and then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves, saying, 'It made a difference for that one'."

In a similar manner, we are a relatively small group of people doing the best we can in the face of an overpopulation of "starfish." If more people would join us, our efforts would have an even bigger impact.

But perhaps more importantly, there is an ethical issue in play here. Euthanasia is one of the hardest parts of my job, even in cases where it really is the final and kindest option. We have a hard enough time filling our ranks for trap-neuter-return, so I can only imagine the difficulty in finding people willing to be part of the mass euthanasia of cats. Society would not (and should not) accept such a program.

Thomas Hansen, DVM

Walnut Creek