Letters to the Editor

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Services should not be compared
Editor:
This letter is in response to Virginia Chang’s letter to the editor of Sept. 28, in which she characterizes Animal Haven Veterinary Clinic doctors Pepita and Dean Wilkinson’s Sept. 21 description of how the mobile van spay/neuter service might affect their veterinary practice as “public admonition and denunciation.”

Looking back at the Wilkinsons’ letter, I fail to see where the Wilkinsons’ statement of the effects on their practice as a result of the spay/neuter van could be characterized as an “admonishment,” much less a “denunciation.”
Everyone agrees, including the Wilkinsons, that “the spaying and neutering of domesticated animals does have a positive environmental impact with the reduction of unwanted animals,” and that “in addition, pet-owners demonstrate social consciousness and responsibility” when they do elect to spay and neuter their pets.  
I fail to see how “the revenues garnered by all the invited vendors at a city-sponsored event” is comparable to the spay/neuter van’s economic impact on Socorro’s economy.
First, veterinary services cannot be equated to items sold by vendors at a local event. There is a difference between customers and clients. A client returns again and again to a chosen health care provider for medical/health services; a customer buying a piece of jewelry at a fair may or may not continue a lasting consumer relationship with that vendor.
Our local veterinarians have trained diligently under intensive medical curricula at veterinary schools of medicine that renders them capable of making life and death decisions and diagnoses. We trust them to make those critical decisions for our pets and livestock.
Second, Ms. Chang states that the spay/neuter van “does not create a permanent impact to Socorro’s economy.” However, the very nature of the spay or neuter operations creates a permanent outcome: the animal is sterilized. Once spayed or neutered, the animal will not need another operation of this type. It is this kind of income lost that the Wilkinsons described in their letter as they noted cancellations of this type of operation that had been scheduled for their clinic by clients awaiting the cheaper spay/neuter van.
Third, “a city-sponsored event” like a fair in the Plaza would not just extend invitations only to out-of-town vendors to set up booths. Any of our local merchants would be included and would be invited to staff a booth if they so wished.
No such invitation to submit any kind of bid for these services was extended to Animal Haven, and although I’m not sure about the Ark of Socorro, I submit that they also were probably left without this opportunity to offer these services. However, both clinics may be called upon to render additional aid to animals that have complications from the spay or neuter operations after the van has left town.
Last, but most important in Ms. Chang’s analogy, the impact to Socorro’s economy would not be comparable “to the revenues garnered by all the invited vendors at a city-sponsored event” because the economic impact would be diffused amongst all vendors. In the case of the spay/neuter van, only two Socorro businesses are being directly affected, making the possible loss to those two clinics much more intensive.
In addition, if you asked both veterinary clinics here about “services at a reduced cost,” I would offer that both clinics probably already extend quite a few services at reduced cost. For one, the Animal Protective Association of Socorro offers a voucher for reduced-price spay and neuter operations. For another, our local clinics periodically offer special prices on procedures (advertised right here in the El Defensor-Chieftain) and, most discount other services on a patient-by-patient basis. These professionals are aware of the economic problems within our county and I’m sure try to balance their clients’ needs with the limitations of their own costs. After all, quality medical care is not inexpensive, whether it’s for people or animals.
Yes, we need to do something about the local unsprayed and unneutered dogs and cats; we all agree on that. But, when one solution possibly imperils the financial stability of businesses that have been here for years, of medical professionals who chose to practice right here in Socorro, then those professionals should have had a seat at the table when the whole thing was being organized.
Carol Palmer, Socorro



Band should play national anthem
Editor:
My daughter is in the Socorro High School band and every week they practice playing our national anthem, but every week the “powers that be” tell the music director that the band can’t play it.
I would like to know why our kids are not allowed to play the national anthem and why they won’t let the music director do her job. Every week the band gets their hopes up only to be told they can’t play it.
As a parent, I am never given a reason why. If there is a school choir maybe they could sing the national anthem along with the band, as they play.
Royce Laine, Socorro