Letters to the Editor

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Editor: I have followed the letters concerning the Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) with great interest. Congratulations to this animal shelter for a successful 2013. We need such a facility in Alameda and depend on FAAS to protect and care for all animals. However, the public should be made aware of a grave incident that sparked all the controversy, one that the executive director would like to sweep under the rug: a dog mauling of an experienced volunteer on Oct. 11, 2013. The victim, Susan Solomon, was just as devoted to FAAS, if not more so, as the others writing letters about the shelter. She had personally trained numerous volunteers at the behest of the FAAS administrators and was well liked and respected by the staff. What I don’t understand is the neglect of a human, whereas the animal shelter’s goal is to provide loving care for all animals. There was very little consideration shown for Solomon, who went two months with no word from the executive director to inquire about her health. When asked, the director said simply that she had been “side-tracked”; a hurtful comment to someone who almost needed to have her foot amputated and who still is in physical pain today. FAAS has made numerous improvements in its operations, but sadly last Oct. 11, it failed to implement the very procedures that would have saved Solomon from injury. Before the attack, behavioral evaluations of animals were minimal. On the date of the attack, no evaluation documents were posted on any kennels, warning volunteers of possible danger. Therefore for the volunteers, this dog was categorized as safe. During the attack lasting a full five minutes, Solomon was alone in the kennels and the public adjacent shouted to the staff for help. There was neither provision nor equipment to rescue a volunteer from attack. The rescue itself was predictably chaotic. Solomon has avoided amputation thanks to doctors’ efforts to clean her deep wounds. Her friends and neighbors have stepped forward to re-bandage her foot, take her meals, run her errands, walk her own dog; all normal daily activities being impossible to accomplish. Her work schedule was upended for months. She could not put weight on her foot, so life stopped for her. FAAS owes Solomon an apology for the mismanagement of this sad event. If we treat animals with kindness, why can’t we treat the human volunteers who help them with the same concern?

— Patricia Bowen

Editor. Obviously, the author of the recent nonsensical blurb in the letters to the editor (“Give them three feet, they’ll take a mile,” Jan. 9) is not a cyclist, or he would know the dangers that come with riding in traffic and appreciate the three feet law. Perhaps then he’d even want more bike lanes in town. Imagine that, more bike lanes! What a crazy idea!

— Adolfo Lazo


The Alameda Family Services League (AFSL) would like to thank the community for supporting AFSL’s 43rd annual Holiday Home Tour. Hundreds of tour-goers enjoyed tours of five of Alameda’s finest homes, a holiday dessert tea, a gift boutique, a raffle and a gourmet shop with all proceeds benefitting Alameda Family Services. The 2013 Holiday Home Tour was a success thanks to many community members and business owners who donated their time, energy and goods to guarantee a fun and festive fundraiser. First and foremost, thank you to the generous homeowners who shared their beautiful homes, wonderfully decorated for the season with tour-goers. Home docents and volunteers at the tea, gourmet shop, and boutique were invaluable in the Tour’s success. We also thank the donors of goodies, gifts and raffle items that made the tea, gourmet shop and boutique wonderful shopping experiences and the raffle a plentiful one. The AFSL board of directors and staff were also invaluable in making the tour a success. Our gratitude goes out to the Alameda Elks’ Lodge #1015 for its hospitality in providing the location for many of the day’s festivities and First Presbyterian Church of Alameda for hosting our holiday tea. A special thank you to our Home Tour sponsors: Farmers’ Insurance/Jeffrey Schwalm; Harbor Bay Realty; Gallagher and Lindsey Realtors; Catellus; Realtors Nancy and Steve Brandt; Alain Pinel Realtors and all other individuals and businesses that advertised in the tour booklet. Finally, to the Alameda community: thank you for your continued attendance and support of the AFSL’s Annual Alameda Holiday Home Tour. We appreciate and value your dedication to ensuring the children, individuals and families continue to receive the invaluable services that Alameda Family Services offers.

Katy Honegger. President, Alameda Service League