Horse Opera

Letters published January 16, 2008

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"Animal Abuse, Inc.," January 9

Does the SPCA shed a tear for these creatures? This article did not have the facts in order. Our rescue, Another Chance Equine Rescue, was contacted by Carol Smith about Patty Brooks two months after she had given the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) a statement and pictures of the neglect and abuse at Brooks' farm. Carol told me she had given Penny Blake the pictures and statements two months prior, and that nothing was being done. Carol was frantic to get help for these horses.

I told her I would look into this. I called the SPCA three times to explain that I was asked to investigate this. I wanted to make sure this was an active investigation, but no one ever returned my calls. A week went by, and I received another call from Carol. This time she described the death of the yearling in vivid detail. I was no longer concerned about the SPCA investigation — I decided to do something now.

I spoke with a reporter, who said they would contact the SPCA the next day. I then phoned the SPCA and left a message stating that I had contacted the media. They no longer had to explain anything or answer my calls — they could answer to the media. Five minutes later my phone rang. It was Penny, trying to tell me that they did not have enough to prosecute Patty and that they were not allowed on her property because she'd had encounters with them in the past.

I have done investigative work in Ohio, so I am familiar with what needs to be done. Penny wasn't pulling any wool over my eyes. I told her that the written statements and pictures she was given 45 days ago were enough probable cause for a search warrant. We could take a vet onto the property with a search warrant to assess the condition of the animals. I told her that yearling died a horrific death for no reason, and that the media would be contacting her the next day.

The media did call, but by this time the SPCA had decided to get the warrant, so the media story ended up showing them doing their job. Had they not been threatened with the media asking them why nothing was being done, the horses might still be there — the ones that didn't die, at any rate. The SPCA was well aware of Patty Brooks' past. If you want to be an investigative agency for animal abuse, do it. Don't just say you do. This was all very sad.

Brenda Lewis
Another Chance Equine Rescue
Columbia Station

Why yes, in fact: I just read the article on Patty Brooks. You did a fantastic job. I sat here crying. Your words painted the true picture of what happened.

Penny Blake

Why not use a Colt .45 while you're at it? Patty Brooks shouldn't be in jail. She should be executed. Contact your state legislators and ask them to get tough on animal abusers. Animals have just as much right to be here and live healthy lives as we humans do. We are not better than them. And from the way humanity behaves, I would say the animals are really better. I am disgusted by human behavior — this is just one more shining example.

Georgia Castle

Pony up, animal lovers: What a wonderful article. You did a great job. I sure hope this will help get the rest of the horses adopted and bring in some money to get us out of debt. If you can, please let people know to send their donations to the Medina County Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals, P.O. Box 135, Medina, Ohio, 44258.

Lois Calvo

Letters ("Barkin' at Larkin"), January 9

Boy Wonder
Larkin, the cub-reporter phenom of '54: In a letter in last week's issue, Jim Reynolds suggested I "unethically wrote numerous slanted news stories to send Bay Village doctor Sam Sheppard to death row . . ."

Sheppard brutally murdered his wife in 1954. Isn't it remarkable how much power I was able to wield as a seven-year-old second-grader at Anderson Road Elementary School? And all these years I thought I spent the summer of '54 riding my bicycle and playing baseball in the backyard.

Brent Larkin
Plain Dealer Editorial Director

"The Wild, Wild West Bank," December 12

Past Their Curfew
Liquor Control's excuses fall flat: Can the city enact an under-21 curfew? Didn't they have anti-cruising laws enacted after the problems on West 25th by Moda and the gang activity along most of Detroit Avenue a couple of years ago? What responsibility do clubs have over activities just blocks away from their doorsteps?

You need to realize that Cleveland's five largest nightclubs are on the West Bank, yet they get little protection. I don't think any of the clubs do carryout beer sales, yet there's plenty of flasks and beer bottles littering the entire Flats. Perhaps the State Liquor Control needs to get involved — that is, if they dare to set foot on River Road.

Connie Lynne

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