DEAR ABBY: The last time you mentioned SPAY/USA in your column, we received about 15,000 telephone calls in three weeks. SPAY/USA helps people locate veterinarians or programs with affordable spay-neuter services for cats and dogs. Because you printed the letter in the winter, before litter season, the births of several hundred thousand unwanted pups and kittens were prevented. Most of them would have ended up on the streets or in shelters -- not in permanent homes.
During 1999 we are making a special effort to reach people who are still resisting, still procrastinating, still not making the time or effort to get their cats and dogs to the vet to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated. Abby, if we can reach that hard-core 1 percent of pet owners, we can prevent the killing of 6 million surplus cats and dogs in this country.
Our campaign is called "Start Targeting One-Percenters" (S.T.O.P.). Readers who want to help -- or who have cats or dogs to "fix" -- can call (800) 248-SPAY (7729). Our phone counselors will give them information on the nearest participating vet, clinic or program. Thank you, Abby, for caring. -- ESTHER MECHLER, SPAY/USA, A PROGRAM OF THE PET-SAVERS FOUNDATION
DEAR ESTHER: The fact that only 1 percent of irresponsible pet owners are the cause of the destruction of 6 million innocent animals is certain to leave animal lovers aghast. Dogs and cats that are not intended for breeding should be spayed or neutered. This eliminates the risk of ovarian or testicular cancer, reduces the risk of prostate disorders, and eliminates the urge for the pet to wander and "mark its territory." Readers, spring is upon us, and with it, thousands of unwanted litters -- so please don't delay getting your pets spayed or neutered.
DEAR ABBY: I'm writing regarding the letter in your column from the guy who complained about the freeloading guest. He and his roommates might want to seek the advice of a lawyer before taking any action.
I found myself in a similar situation and decided to get legal advice before changing the locks, etc. I was shocked to find that according to the law, my unwanted guest was now my "tenant" and I her "landlord." In order to get her out, I would be required to take her to court and evict her -- a 60-day process -- during which time she could remain in my home, placing me and my possessions at risk!
Another option my lawyer suggested was that I move out, and let my landlord evict her. Of course, that would mean I'd lose my deposit, ruin my credit, and leave myself open to a lawsuit from my landlord.
It took a month, but I tricked her into moving. I quit buying food, blocked all but local calls on my phone and disconnected the cable TV. I told her I had to move because my landlord had sold the house. I packed everything I own, but moved only a few of the valuables for safekeeping.
We now have a new rule at our house -- no temporary houseguests. -- BEEN THERE IN SPRINGFIELD, MO.
DEAR BEEN THERE: Your letter, viewed from a legal perspective, is certainly an eye-opener. After reading it, many hospitable souls may be tempted to roll up their welcome mats.
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