Wrong Guy

You have a printed letter called “A Holy Ha-Ha-Ha” (October 14) signed by “Damon Cook, via email.” My name is Damon Cook, and I am a former employee of Scantibodies, and I did not send this letter. It appears that someone is using my name falsely. I don’t agree with these comments, nor would I make negative comments about my former employer.

I would appreciate that you confirm your source. Please also make a statement to clear my name, as this is not right.

Damon Cook
via email

Correction

In an October 21 “Blurt” item, “Squeaky Wheel Tour,” singer-songwriter James Morris mentions a man whom he and his family saw handing out flyers about Amber Dubois, saying that he was her grandfather. We have learned from Amber’s grandmom, Sheila Welch, that both of Amber’s grandfathers were deceased at the time Amber was abducted and murdered.

Convene With Dennis

Thanks for the great article on Dennis Hopper (“Local Boy Makes Good,” Cover Story, October 21). I had the chance to meet him on the set of The Last Ride, which was filmed at the convention center in San Diego many years ago. You also might like to know that Easy Rider was the first film where the music was taken directly from the radio and not written just for that film. Other than that, rock on with Dennis Hopper.

Chris Moore
San Diego

Look Inside Pet Rescue

I was very impressed by the October 14 “Stringers” item “Dead Dog Walking?”, Craig Vansant’s report on the San Diego Animal Defense Team’s protest of the San Diego Humane Society, questioning Humane Society president Dr. Mark Goldstein’s practices and calling for “truth and transparency.”

This was a first-rate mini-investigative report, highlighting the presence of “three large men” hired by the Humane Society to “make sure things go well.”

I am a Baja-based journalist and have been investigating and reporting on Baja rescue organizations since 2004. My experience has taught me that possible strong-arm tactics such as the mentioned off-duty police presence at the event are part of what Vansant may expect if he continues to report on dog-rescue efforts.

Pet rescue and adoptions is a big business in the United States. Million-dollar trust funds, three-figure salaries for administrators, and questionably high fees — in the thousands — to adopt out a single dog.

There are Baja-based spay-and-rescue groups who manage to rescue, sterilize, and adopt out hundreds of dogs every year for a fraction of the sums quoted by the San Diego Humane Society administrators.

 These Baja groups, most of which are run by Americans, have people in the U.S. soliciting donations to support their efforts. Some of these groups are hardworking, devoted individuals, reaching deep into the Tijuana community to bring desperately needed educational programs and sterilization programs to the poorest neighborhoods. Other groups have fancy websites, claiming to have programs they do not actually have.

Reporting on these developing Baja rescue efforts has proved very risky. I have been pushed, shoved, threatened, and even in one case had a group attempt to get a restraining order from the San Diego courts to prevent me from writing and talking about animal abuse occurring at their rescue facility.

One problem is that many of these nonprofits operate without ever being subjected to scrutiny. Often they know that the dog- and cat-loving public just wants to feel good about themselves when they donate and are not particularly concerned about the inner workings of any group.

This is why reports like Mr. Vansant’s are so important. I believe that any nonprofit organization, especially those that care for animals, that solicit donations from the public, should be open to questions and happy to provide answers. Anything less is a red flag.

Vivian Marlene Dunbar
Costa Azul
Baja California, Mexico

What’s Cooking?

Re “Top Chefs” (“Restaurant Issue 2010,” October 7). The top ten chefs in San Diego are all men, huh? I’m sure there must be some ladies out there who can compete with these guys. What is going on here? There must be some kind of mistake. Did you mean to title that article “The Top Ten Male Chefs in San Diego”?

Name Withheld by Request
via email

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