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by Abigail Van Buren

Birds in the Bush Are Safer Than Birds in Some Hands

DEAR ABBY: Bless you for your humanitarian objection to the traditional Labor Day Pigeon Shoot in Hegins, Pa.

I happen to be a bird lover, and it may please you to know that I wrote to you in 1961 on the subject of cruelty to birds. You printed my letter and I still have the clipping. I am enclosing a copy. You may want to print it again. -- STILL A BIRD LOVER AT AGE 89

DEAR BIRD LOVER: It's a wonderful letter, and I certainly do want to print it again. Here it is:

DEAR ABBY: Will you please say something about people who buy birds as pets, and then mistreat them? I have actually had people say to me, "Our canary fell into the dishwater and was drowned." Or, "Our parakeet flew into the open fireplace and got burned up." Or, "The cat got it." Or, "The dog got it."

I once knew a man who used to give his parakeet vodka just to see how it would act. This same man is big and strong, and just because the bird pecked him on the ear, he knocked the bird down and broke its wing!

What a pity that birds are the most abused of all pets. -- BIRD LOVER

DEAR BIRD LOVER: Not all pet birds are abused -- only those who are unfortunate enough to belong to people who belong in cages.

DEAR ABBY: Will you please say something to older women who work at fast-food places and take jobs from us teen-agers?

There's one who works here, and she's so goody-goody -- always on time, and she never goofs off. I don't think she really needs the money.

She must be 50 years old -- at least. -- A TEEN, CENTERVILLE, IOWA

DEAR TEEN: I doubt very much that a 50-year-old woman would be working at a fast-food place unless she really needed the money. It's possible that if it weren't for that job, she would be on welfare. If she's always on time and never goofs off, I'd say she's setting a fine example for the other employees. Give her a break.

DEAR ABBY: I couldn't resist sharing this old story when I read about the plate-licking dog:

The preacher was invited to Sunday dinner by a church member. When he was called to the table, he noticed that it was set with the dirtiest dishes he had ever seen.

He asked his hostess: "Are these dishes clean?" She replied, "They're as clean as soap and water could get them." He then reluctantly blessed the food and began eating. The food was delicious, so he praised the hostess in spite of the dirty dishes.

When she cleared the table, she took the dishes to the back door and hollered, "Here Soap! Here Water!" -- DOG LOVER IN ABILENE, TEXAS

Everybody has a problem. What's yours? Get it off your chest by writing to: Dear Abby, P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069. For a personal reply, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

4900 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64112; (816) 932-6600