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Animal abuse escalates ?to even worse behavior

The recent spate of animal abuse cases in Western New York leads to thought and reflection in the hearts and minds of most balanced individuals, not just "animal lovers." It is disturbing to contemplate the horrific stories that have emerged. People are being held to face charges of felony animal cruelty, and justifiably so.

Not just limited to teenagers, adults and children who commit these acts need serious help. Parents, guardians, law enforcement and the community at large cannot take these behaviors too lightly. It has been studied and proven that there is an interconnectedness of different kinds of abuse: child abuse, neglect, domestic violence and animal abuse. Too often cruelty to animals is part of the type of violence children are exposed to. There are statistics proving that animal abuse is one of the warning signs that help identify youth at risk for interpersonal violence or other conduct disorders. Too often these signs are ignored.

Animals have no voice. People must stand up for their well-being. Abuse takes many forms, from neglect to unacceptable behavior that causes unnecessary pain, suffering, distress or even death to an animal. The laws must be upheld; felony charges must be pursued. This is criminal behavior that continues to escalate if it is not stopped and addressed legally with follow-through in the form of psychological help. I am passionate about this for the sake of innocent animals, society at large and the future of human beings, juvenile and adult, who are on this terrible path of violence.

Carolyn C. Koelmel

Hamburg

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Senate Democrats are? derelict of their duties

In its Nov. 8 editorial titled "Time for action is short," The News again shows its bias. The editorial stated that Republicans in the Senate will have to "outgrow their destructive habit of filibustering" and stated that House Republicans have to put a leash on tea party members.

Why didn't it mention the Senate majority Democrats, who have been derelict of their duties in the past four years? By law, the Senate has to have an annual budget. For the past four years, Harry Reid, the majority leader, has refused to even put a budget on the floor for vote. Why didn't the editorial mention that?

John Orlowski

Amherst

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U.S. voting process? needs major reforms

After reading Denise Jewell Gee's column about New York possibly changing its Electoral College method, and the "stop barriers to voting" column, I offer these ideas:

*First dibs go to our men and women in the armed forces. They fight for our freedoms; give them the first crack at the vote.

*If you can't be in your hometown on Election Day, you must give a legitimate reason in order to obtain an absentee ballot.

*If you believe that society owes you something just for existing, don't vote.

*People should be able to read, write and communicate in English take something like U.S. History/Civics 101, and pass with an acceptable grade before being allowed to vote.

*Since Puerto Rico, Guam and other territories are not yet states, remove the District of Columbia from the presidential vote.

*What is now called Western New York should vote under the name of Niagara, with five electoral votes, thus making the national total 540, with 271 needed to win.

*End "winner-take-all" nationwide. Nebraska and Maine should be the national standard, where their electoral votes are divided among the several congressional districts; who wins the most districts gets the extra two senatorial votes. This way, a truer picture of the interests and values of the American people would emerge, as opposed to the current method where the tightly concentrated, large megalopoli skew the vote, thus giving them an unfair air of superiority over their supposedly "unsophisticated" brethren.

Doing the above would make our electoral system more honest.

Lloyd A. Marshall Jr.

Lockport

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Will GOP compromise ?or push us off fiscal cliff?

During the nightmare known as the Bush administration, too many people died in an unnecessary war, too many retirement plans were gutted and too many homes were lost. One of the worst, if not the worst, recessions began.

Mercifully, those eight years were starting to become a distant memory. Now, however, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire and spending will be cut drastically, which could very well trigger another recession.

House Republicans have the power to determine whether this fiscal cliff will cause the second recession in about six years. Do these Republicans really want President Obama to fail that badly that they will do anything, including trying to destroy the economy once again?

Larry Karmel

Orchard Park

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Mother's poor choices? played a part in death

Lynn DeJac Peters did not murder her daughter, but she was definitely indirectly responsible. If she had not continually exposed her daughter to the low-life men she brought home, including the stepfather who was imprisoned for sexually abusing her, perhaps Crystallyn would still be alive today.

I would hope that instead of reaping the benefits of the multimillion dollars she was awarded at her daughter's expense, she would start a memorial in her daughter's name to help other children who are victims of abuse.

Teresa Morgan

Buffalo

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Funding cultural groups ?is extremely important

Funding is critical for arts and culture. It is nice to see that the current county administration plans to restore some funding to cultural organizations in Western New York, and I believe the Erie County legislators should vote to include this funding in the 2013 budget.

These funds should be allocated to meaningful, responsible and viable cultural groups. These organizations create a sense of community through historic significance, volunteer opportunities, networking events, part-time and full-time jobs and engaging educational programs for our residents. These groups also provide better opportunities to enhance and maintain Western New York's amazing cultural and artistic community.

The bottom line is that these organizations bring a sense of pride within ourselves, within our community and help to bring our residents together in a positive way. Erie County needs to recognize that funding cultural organizations is extremely important and a key function in reviving our community.

Joseph DiDomenico

Elma