Posted: April 17, 2012

THE HORRIFYING report of the Gloucester County woman charged with starving her dog nearly to death seems to warrant specific attention from prosecutors. The condition of both the dog and the cat, who was euthanized, indicate, at minimum, a disturbing lack of empathy on the part of the owner. Caring for one dog but abusing another might also involve some sort of punitive action that needs explaining.

As a psychotherapist familiar with animal-related cases, I know from experience that animal neglect and abuse are cause for serious concern, especially in cases of starvation that happen over a long period of time.

It is my sincere hope that if this woman is found guilty, she will be ordered to undergo mental-health assessment and treatment through a program called AniCare, which was specifically developed to get to the root of cruelty toward animals.

Punishment alone is not enough to make sure that any other animals in her care don't suffer a similarly tragic fate.

Suzanne McAllister, Ph.D.

Animals and Society Institute


The PPA model

It's a shame that it takes a tragedy for city government to admit its systemic failures, but in most instances the reality of the situation is that no accountability is displayed and it's just the beginning of the finger-pointing game.

The tragic deaths of firefighters Daniel Sweeney and Robert Neary were 100-percent preventable because, at a minimum the old Buck Hosiery Building should have been sealed up and contained. City government has a duty to its citizens - when property owners have so many violations that it is a health and safety risk to the community - to step in and take care of the imminent danger. How many more rundown factories are going to have to burn to the ground before Fran Burns, Licenses & Inspections commissioner, truly gets it?

L & I has a reactive approach to code violations instead of acting as a proactive inspections and regulating agency. L & I, should take note of the Philadelphia Parking Authority's approach to processing serial violators. After a series of tickets have been placed on a parked vehicle, the car gets a boot placed on it and a week or two later, the car is towed away and, as far as the neighborhood goes, problem solved.

L & I coddles negligent property owners by dragging out the process over several months before taking a hard-line stance and forcing the slumlords to toe the line. City Hall continues to allow these predators to own multiple properties. How can the mayor expect voters to buy into his vision of prosperity when he cannot even protect us from what many taxpayers perceive as a preventable danger?

Jason Kaye


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