Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:
The Kingsport TimesNews on ordinances to protect dogs from abuse:
Johnson City is expected to take final action on a new ordinance to protect dogs from abuse by ignorant owners who permanently tether them. Bristol and Rogersville have similar laws in effect. Kingsport has yet to act.
The ordinances forbid owners from tethering dogs more than a maximum of 12 consecutive hours per day and, at that, are inadequate. At minimum the law should require a trolley or pulley system to allow dogs freer range of movement. But the laws are a start.
In time, Johnson City’s law will take the lead regionally in the protection of dogs. Initially, it will ban dogs from being tied up for more than 12 hours, but beginning Jan. 1, 2021, it will provide that no dog may be left unattended while tethered or chained outside to a fixed object.
That’s where all municipal laws need to go. It is cruel and inhumane to torment a dog by tying it to something and largely ignoring it other than providing food and water. Dogs are social animals that require interaction with people or other animals. Permanently restraining them damages them physically and psychologically, according to the U.S. Humane Society.
“An otherwise friendly and docile dog, when kept continuously chained or intensively confined in any way becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious and often aggressive,” the society states. “It is common for continuously tethered dogs to endure physical ailments as a result. Their necks can become raw and sore and their collars can painfully grow into their skin. They are vulnerable to insect bites and parasites and are at high risk of entanglement, strangulation and harassment or attacks by other dogs or people.
“Tethered dogs may also suffer from irregular feedings, overturned water bowls, inadequate veterinary care and extreme temperatures. During snowstorms, these dogs often have no access to shelter. During periods of extreme heat, they may not receive adequate water or protection from the sun. Because their often neurotic behavior makes them difficult to approach, chained dogs are rarely given even minimal affection,” says the society.
Tennessee municipalities should not have to pass these ordinances because state law should provide for the full protection of dogs. Currently, 33 states place specific restrictions on tethering animals, and Tennessee is among them. However, it makes it an offense only if “tying, tethering or restraining a dog ... results in the dog suffering bodily injury.”
That law has been on the books for years as the welfare of dogs continues to be ignored by state legislators. In Johnson City, Christy Rabetoy, who co-chaired the task force that put together the ordinance and also is the founder of Chain Free Dogs, reports that in just the last five years, that organization has caused 160 dogs to be taken off chains in the city and Washington County.
Thank you, Johnson City commissioners, for coming to the rescue of dogs. Will Kingsport follow suit?
The Johnson City Press on Veterans Day:
President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.”
Homer Pease did not settle for a life of ease. At only 13 years old in 1942, the Johnson City youngster managed to join the Marine Corps to fight in World War II.
After basic training and airborne paratrooper school, Pease jumped into France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He was wounded but later rejoined his unit to fight in Ardennes Forest, the Battle of the Bulge and at Berchtesgaden. When he was wounded a second time, military authorities learned his real age and sent him home. At 16, he tried again, only to be sent home again from Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
After graduating from Science Hill High School, Pease joined the Army National Guard. In 1965, he volunteered to be a military adviser in Vietnam and completed the U.S. Army Ranger course. On Nov. 19, 1966, Maj. Homer Pease was killed in action while leading a ground combat operation.
Last year, U.S. Rep. Phil Roe made sure Pease’s name would be remembered. On Dec. 21, President Donald Trump signed Roe’s bill naming Johnson City’s East Main Street post office in Pease’s honor.
Other names worth remembering are leaving us at rate of 294 per day. They are the veterans who served this country through the 20th century’s darkest challenge. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that of the 16.1 million who served in World War II, about 389,000 were living in 2019 — down from 558,000 two years ago. In Tennessee, the number was fewer than 6,900. Now, in their late 80s and 90s, many of those still with us hold more history in their minds than any book could ever contain. With each death, this nation loses a bit of its essential experience.
Our nation has been far too lax in recording our real history. Beyond the strategies, decisions, battles and turning points are the personal stories of those who lived through such events as World War II.
The Library of Congress, though, has an initiative to change that. The Veterans History Project preserves firsthand remembrances of U.S. military veterans from World War I through more recent conflicts. The goal is for future generations to hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
Volunteers and organizations can record audio or video interviews of veterans and submit them to the project. Veterans History Project also accepts memoirs and collections of original photographs, letters, diaries, maps and other historical documents from veterans.
You can learn how to help preserve the accounts of the veterans in your life by visiting the project’s website at www.loc.gov/vets/vets-home. You can also contact Roe’s office at 423-247-8161.
Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, and we can think of no better way to honor the occasion than by joining the effort to preserve history.
The Crossville Chronicle on being aware of scams:
Rarely does a day go by that we in the Chronicle newsroom aren’t discussing scams.
Advances in technology have made it easier than ever for con artists to cheat us out of our hard-earned money, and it doesn’t look to let up any time soon. In fact, the state has a portion of its website dedicated solely to identifying the various scams, schemes and swindles affecting Tennesseans.
Our best defense is educating ourselves and others about fraudsters' tactics and to carefully guard our personal information.
The elderly and disabled are particularly vulnerable to thieves who have stepped up their game from offering goods, services and prizes to making claims of unpaid bills, posing as charitable organizations and even threatening arrest, prosecution or litigation under the guises of agencies such as Social Security or the Internal Revenue Service.
Diligence is key in protecting ourselves and our information from those intending to steal our money.
- Government agencies will rarely call you without first initiating contact by mail ― and they will never threaten arrest on the phone or online.
- Gift cards are not accepted as currency for taxes, hospital or utility bills, or debt collection.
- Be wary of callers claiming a friend or loved one is in trouble and needs money immediately. Hang up and verify the claim with someone who would know and whom you trust.
- It's not a prize if they ask you to pay. Never agree to pay taxes or fees on winnings offered via phone or online.
- Most importantly, carefully guard your personal information. That includes your Social Security number, bank account and credit/debit card numbers, address and date of birth. Do not give them to anyone who calls, emails or requests them via social media, no matter how polite or threatening.
The best advice, though, is to simply hang up. Or, even better, don't answer calls from unknown numbers.
Spread the word. The more we know, the less likely we'll be victims ― and we can put them out of "business" for good.