Letters to the Editor

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Howard High student proud of her peers

I want to thank you for your wonderful article (Jan. 19, "Students' generosity shows") recognizing the efforts of Howard High School to raise money for tsunami victims.

As a senior at Howard, I was growing tired of reading about the negatives at my school when there really are many positives. This fund-raiser would be one.

At first, I must admit I did not think students at Howard would react this way, but after the first day's collection, my faith grew. Although the generosity of the students was not for publicity, it's nice to know that we are finally being noticed for something good.

Howard High School never has been a bad place, and I think this single act proves that class is not just something students attend here, it's something they also possess.

Christina Burke

Class of 2005

Resident supports use of leghold traps

As a lifelong Maryland resident and current Howard County homeowner, I was extremely disappointed that Howard County's legislative delegation approved legislation banning leghold traps in the county (Jan. 20, "Legislators supporting bill to ban leghold traps").

Trapping bans enacted in California, Massachusetts and Washington have led to increased human interaction with beavers, cougars, coyotes and other nuisance wildlife. These encounters have placed children and pets at greater risk and resulted in increased property damage.

Proponents of the ban justify the measure by alleging leghold traps pose a risk to pets. Yet, Maryland law already prohibits the use of leghold traps within 150 yards of a permanent residence - the area where pets are most likely to frequent. Moreover, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requires persons managing nuisance wildlife for hire to be licensed.

Persons violating the current use restrictions are subject to fines and other penalties levied by the DNR.

Arbitrarily removing valuable pest management tools, while politically expedient, is very shortsighted. Minus leghold traps, the number of incidents of coyotes and foxes preying on cats, dogs and other pets in Howard County is sure to skyrocket.

I trust that Howard County legislators who supported the ban will have something comforting to say to people whose pets are killed by predatory wildlife that could have been managed more effectively with leghold traps.

Gene Harrington

Ellicott City

The writer is manager of government affairs for the National Pest Management Association of Fairfax, Va.

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