Re the March 5 letter by Judie Kremin, Questions linger on dangers of big-cat shelter (http://newstimesonline.com/stories/021903/new_124-2510.shtml):
I choose not to attack the character of someone I do not know. But I would like to address the facts of the matter. There is no law against possessing exotic animals in Columbia County, and we have done nothing to make anyone think there should be. There have been no lies or deceptions on our part, or on that of the county.
We are fully licensed on state and federal levels. In order to get these licenses you must have thousands of hours of hands-on experience with these animals. We have put in our hours and have the experience to operate the type of facility that we have.
I do not see that the Environmental Protection Agency would have any more interest in our animal waste than that of a dog, cat, horse or cow. But for the record, our waste goes into a septic tank for the animals. Our tiger does not have the opportunity to go out and hunt for food, so if we did not feed her she would die - not be a threat to the public. If I am at work at International Paper, my wife Melanie is there; she also has had 10 years of experience.
I feel that we have been slandered by Kremins comments made about lies and egos; what we do is for the love of these animals, not for ego. Our story has not changed. We have made our telephone numbers public, and still welcome contact from anyone who has legitimate questions or concerns.
And to all of the people who responded to the story in the Feb. 19 News-Times (http://www.newstimesonline.com/stories/021903/new_124-2510.shtml) with donations of time, money and materials, thank you on behalf of the Gress family and Kali.
(The writer is owner of Augusta Conservation Education.)
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