2017-05-03 / Mailbag

How to avoid dog bites

To The Editor:

I am currently a student at SUNY Delhi in the Veterinary Technology Department with a passion for the health of both animals and humans.

As summer rolls around, more individuals are outside enjoying the beautiful outdoors. With this also comes the likelihood of dog owners bringing their dogs out to dog parks, on walks with them, and into the surrounding community, increasing the likelihood of dog accidents, primarily dog bites, leading to possible personal injury, hospitalization, nerve damage, infection and the potential to become infected with diseases including Rabies (Preventing Dog Bites, CDC, 2015). The alarming part, however, is that dog bites not only have the potential to occur from a dog you may not know. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a little over half of dog bites that occur are from a dog that we know.

Among the most likely people to become bitten by dogs include children five to nine years of age (Preventing Dog Bites, CDC, 2015). The NYS Department of Health records that each year around 6,600 children under the age of 20 are treated at a hospital because of a dog bite.

There are many steps that we can take to prevent dog bites from unknown dogs, and from our dogs at home. If you are out walking, always ask the owner if they are okay with you petting their dog, do not tease any dogs, including your own at home, and be careful around a dog’s toys, sometimes they can become protective and defensive of them (NYSDOH). We must be sure to keep our dogs in proper health to prevent them from becoming likely to bite. Providing clean and fresh water 24/7, comfortable shelter, and a well balanced diet are all essential. Check-ups at the veterinarian at least once yearly to get vaccinations and ensure your pup is in good health is a great first step to prevention. Knowing any dogs, including your own dog’s behavior, is also very important to making sure that a bite does not occur (Grobler, 2015).

Get out there with your dog, have fun and be safe!

Morgan Hulbert,

Seasoned educator seeks RCS post

To The Editor:

My name is Denise Johnston and I am running for the fiveyear seat on the Roxbury Central School Board of Education. As a current resident and 1987 graduate of Roxbury Central School, I feel compelled to run for this position for many reasons. In this letter, I hope to provide voters with some information about my experience and my beliefs.

I have a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Math Education. My work experience includes 14 years as a local math teacher at RCS, and 10 years of STEM industry experience. For the past two years I have been the Engineering instructor at ONC BOCES. My work in a variety of educational environments, as well as in industry, gives me a deep understanding of educational and business systems. My varied experiences will allow me to examine topics from a wide range of viewpoints.

I am community minded. There is nothing more important to a community than an education system that inspires a love of life-long learning. In our rural area, the school is the hub of the community, providing a place for people to come together to learn, grow, and develop lasting support networks. Schools go beyond building a strong foundation in academics; they facilitate the development of skills for working together, respecting diversity, and making a difference. As our young people learn and apply knowledge, we become stronger as a whole. This is crucial to the future success of individuals and the community. The importance of these connections will be at the forefront of my work as a member of the Roxbury Central School Board of Education.

The school board guides its district toward a collective vision, and school board members must be committed to supporting the needs of all students, staff, and community members. In order to provide this guidance, it is important to understand multiple aspects of education law and policy. As a seasoned educator, I am knowledgeable about learning standards, curriculum, and instruction. As a school board member, this passion for teaching and learning will drive me to further educate myself about the state and federal laws and policies impacting Roxbury Central School.

As a school board member I will take an active role in making a positive difference. If elected, I will do my best to listen carefully to the needs of students, staff members, and community members. I will become informed and remain open to asking difficult questions before making objective decisions that benefit the entire school community. Thank you for your support on May 16.

Denise Johnston,

Walls are confining

To The Editor:

“Something there is……”

Last fall “The Daily Good” arrived in my Inbox featuring a quote from Sir Isaac Newton: “We build too many walls and not enough bridges”. The article, “Why we shut people out and what to do about it” had a compelling first paragraph. “Remember the thrill of building walls as a kid? Forts made from snow….giant cardboard boxes. Walling ourselves off from our enemies – real or imagined- to fight heroic battles until it was time for dinner”. That day information about a Peacebuilding conference arrived by mail. “Inclusion, constructive dialog and consensus building are fostered by peacebuilding – rather than confrontation and power games. Parties engage in a process of exchange of beliefs, attitudes and behaviors to create bridges of understanding that can sustain a stable, peaceful coexistence.”

Walls conjure up Jericho and trumpets; Jerusalem and wailing; Berlin and gates and Robert Frost. “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, that sends the frozen ground swell under it.” In his poem, the neighbors meet to ‘set the wall between them once again’ and the old farmer says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’ “Why do they make good neighbors? Before I build a wall I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out…and to whom it might give offense. I see him there, bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top in each hand, like an old-stone savage armed. He will not go beyond his father’s saying, and likes the thought of it so well he says again ‘Good fences make good neighbors’.”

I Googled walls. The first significant border wall was built in Sumeria in the 21st C. BC but the enemies soon realized they could walk around it. In the Byzantine Empire , Istanbul was surrounded by 14 miles of moated barricades with a massive 40-foot tall by 15-foot thick inner wall. It survived a millennium, then in 1453 the Ottomans invented the cannon, blasting holes that their troops poured through.

In my lifetime one famous wall was erected and dismantled. From 1961 to 1989 the 12- foot high Berlin Wall included electric fencing, barbed wire and guard towers that kept many East Berliners from defecting to the west. However, thousands succeeded by tunneling underneath or flying over it in ultralight aircraft or homemade hot air balloons.

I no longer am a child. The walls, the box, the fort are not comforting but confining. I seek freedom now. Walls are built with bricks and stone and mortar but fear fuels their existence. Love does not fuel fear. I’ve explored my fences and defenses and realize I will chose to lay myself down over troubled waters, to be the start of or part of a bridge, at the risk of being swept away in a current of love rather than suffocate in a cell of fear. Something there is in me that doesn’t love a wall, something that is stronger than the fear. And I am grateful.

Gail Lennstrom,
Big Indian

Not handling wildlife is key

To The Editor:

The key to saving wildlife is to not save wildlife!

With a long winter behind us, it is time for trees and flowers to bloom. Many animals expect their young soon and the public falls in love with the wildlife, once again. Many times people find themselves face-to-face with wildlife and the decision on whether to “help”. Most people feel responsible to help, little do they realize, that not only are they potentially doing the critter more harm than good, but they are putting themselves, their loved ones, and their pets at risk.

With the activity of wildlife on the rise, the diseases they carry also rise. Rabies is an ongoing public health concern and many cases of rabies are caused by the public trying to “save” wildlife. Rabies is a death sentence for animals and humans alike, with only two known human survivors. It transfers through infected saliva, often by bite. Wildlife does not know how to react to handling and their best defense is to bite! The CDC states that wild animals are responsible for almost 93 percent of all reported rabies cases, worldwide. When the public handles wildlife that seems ill, the animal is often euthanized and sent for rabies testing. This puts the animal more at risk because often they are not rabies positive, but if the health of the public is at risk, there are no questions asked. Often wildlife will do better in the wild by themselves than in captivity. The young are often hidden by their mother for protection while she wonders nearby. One way to prevent rabies is to vaccinate pets because they associate with wildlife without their owners awareness. If a pet contracts the disease, they are capable of transmission as well.

The best advice about wildlife that appears ill or abandoned is to call a NYSDEC officer or your local public health office so they can handle the situation appropriately and safely. Also, vaccinate your pets because they are into shenanigans that you have no knowledge of! This will protect the health of the wildlife, pets, and most importantly, the public.

For more information about rabies contact the Delaware County Public Health Office at 607 832-5200 or delawarecountypublichealth.com. Thank you!

Samantha Maidens,

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