Letters for the week of May 11-17, 2005 

Treating dogs with respect. Treating butt rock with no respect. Respecting immigrant victims of violence. Disrespecting West Berkeley residents.

"Roll Over," Trendspotting, 3/30

I feel sorry for your dog
My publisher recently alerted me to the one-paragraph mention of my book, The Wholesome Dog Biscuit, in an article by Zac Unger. Since Mr. Unger has misrepresented me and my book in several significant ways, and has also asserted an opinion that is actually dangerous, I am writing to set the record straight.

The first way in which Mr. Unger has misrepresented my book is to foolishly imply that my recipes are not good for dogs. If Mr. Unger had bothered to read the section titled "About Food Allergies," he would know that in fact many dogs today suffer from severe food allergies, and all the recipes in my book use ingredients that are the least likely to cause allergic reactions. In dogs, food allergies can cause debilitating diarrhea and/or severe skin rashes which can even degenerate into staph infections.

The second misrepresentation is the statement, "you might like quinoa and tempeh," which implies that I include tempeh as an ingredient in my recipes. This is absolutely not true. In fact, soy is an overused ingredient to which many dogs have developed allergies.

I wrote the book from my heart, and self-published it out of my own pocket. I cannot speak for Csanyi, Houston, Konik, or Markoe, but I did not "churn out" this 68-page book -- it took me the better part of a year to create and multiple-test each recipe, polish the instructions, and draw the dog portraits. I wrote it simply in order to help other dogs like my Maeve, who in early life suffered greatly from allergies brought on by eating the garbage that "big business" introduces into commercial biscuits and dog food. Her healing only took place after I met an honest veterinarian and was told to put her on a healthy, homemade, natural-food diet.

Finally, I must point out the erroneous and potentially lethal dietary opinion expressed by Mr. Unger. He negatively compares my recipes (for biscuits made of fresh, unrefined, organic ingredients) with a "slightly greenish pound of hamburger." Mr. Unger then asserts that we should not "feel guilty for treating our dogs like dogs." I would not like to be acquainted with the kind of person who would be capable of remaining guilt-free if they inflicted the following kind of suffering on their dog by means of "Doctor" Unger's rotten-meat diet: "Food poisoning is common in dogs ... harmful bacteria in discarded meat can do great harm to your dog's system, especially if the food is contaminated with salmonella or clostridium. Salmonella is especially dangerous ... puppies ... can die within hours." This quotation comes from The American Animal Hospital Association Encyclopedia of Dog Health and Care, Hearst Books, 1994.
Patricia Leslie, Richmond


"Sweet Love Hangover," Down in Front, 4/20

Cannibalism lives
In rebuttal to your recent Express show review, I'm firmly convinced that bad journalism reigns supreme. Not that I'm a writer, but that article sucked. Your article pissed me off so much you've immobilized my brain, and yes I am fucking stoned. All I know is that every band on that bill fucking rocked and fucking rolled and what you don't seem to understand is that it's us everyday workers that make rock 'n' roll breathe. And who are you to dictate the terms? What the fuck? This is not butt rock. This is not for the people who don't like rock 'n' roll. This is for bad kids who live for this shit.

So the next time you wanna fucking suck off the Horse's dick, call Eric Shea a goth, and forget to mention the most epic guitar work of Genghis Khan, we might just have to put you on a stake and show you that cannibalism still exists.
Anonymous, San Francisco


"American Nightmare," Feature, 4/13/05

Just two words
In response to your recent sob story about illegal immigrant women and their dysfunctional relationships, two words: DEPORT THEM.
Peter Labriola, Berkeley

Combat anti-immigrant hysteria
I am the attorney for a nonprofit organization that serves immigrant survivors of domestic violence. I wanted to thank you for doing a piece that illuminates so well the many complexities that trap immigrant women into an impossible situation.

There has been so little understanding of the situation of battered immigrant women since the anti-immigrant hysteria that has been inflamed since September 11. Many people are not aware that when harsh and unfair measures that have not been thought through are put into place, it hurts immigrant survivors of domestic violence, many of whom are currently undocumented -- even though they actually have the right to get a green card -- because their abusive husbands refused to file papers for them or sabotaged their immigration status. This hurts their children too, many of whom are US citizens. But citizen or not, no human being should have to endure abuse and violence, regardless of what their immigration status is.

We cannot tolerate abuse and violence against a vulnerable person just because she is an immigrant; if we do so, the cycle of violence will spread until it engulfs our entire society.
Naomi Onaga, International Institute of the East Bay, Oakland

Everyone can learn something
Thank you for writing such a great article. The story is about me too. Even though my version of the peripetei was perhaps less dramatic than others', I felt very lost back then. "Back then," the International Institute was unfortunately rather unhelpful to me, as were the Catholic charities you mentioned. These organizations pick and choose their cases -- I understand they might have limited resources -- but it took me a lot longer to get out of the situation than it would have. Thanks to many kind people who have helped me on my journey, now I am happy, healthy, and with few scars. However, it often is the people who can help who don't quite understand the vulnerability and complications abused immigrant women suffer from.
Katka Kastnerova, multilingual research for (a) change, Oakland

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