I am a friend of Charlene Hayes, the foster parent who raised Worthy, the golden retriever being trained as a service dog by Eyes Ears Nose Paws in Carrboro. He died a tragic death as a result of becoming overheated when he was left in a car for two hours by Deb Cunningham, program director (CHN, June 30, bit.ly/1aq4TZP).
I have known Charlene for many years. In characteristic style, she is transforming her grief into a cause. Apparently, each year dozens of children and pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia. Charlene has set up a Facebook page (facebook.com/worthy project), “The Worthy Project,” to raise awareness about the danger.
The N.C. House recently introduced legislation to strengthen animal abuse laws by 1) specifically criminalizing confinement of animals in vehicles, and (2) authorizing certain people to rescue these animals. Please write to your state representatives to support for this bill and strengthen it with greater penalties. Get the contact information at bit.ly/X5dEhl
We can all honor Worthy’s legacy by being proactive in spreading the word and changing the laws so that fewer such tragedies continue to occur. In this way, Worthy’s death would become truly “Worthwhile.”
I write from Rwanda, where I am leading a UNC study abroad program that focuses in part on the horrific genocide of 1994. We have learned that more than a million Rwandans were slaughtered in less than 100 days. We also learned that the political extremists who perpetrated the genocide began by compiling detailed lists – names, addresses and professions – of political enemies.
It therefore was jarring to hear that in North Carolina the Civitas Institute, which gives voice to the extreme right wing, is compiling lists of political opponents, particularly citizens who have participated in Moral Mondays.
I do not intend to imply that extremists in North Carolina are planning to perpetrate systematic violence against opponents , but history tells us that extremists make lists of perceived enemies, and that evil follows. We do not have to wander as far afield as Rwanda for examples. Joseph McCarthy’s (fictitious) list of "known communists" in the State Department and Nixon’s enemies list come to mind.
Professor of law, UNC
Editor’s note: U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan released this statement after the Senate failed to take up the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013, which she co-introduced in June to maintain a 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized loans another year. On July 1, those interest rates doubled to 6.8 percent for 176,000 North Carolina students.
“It is unacceptable that we have not been able to come together in the Senate to keep federal student loans affordable for middle class families.
“Passing this bill would give us time to find a long-term solution for the federal student loan program without placing a burden on students who rely on these loans right now.
“North Carolina students and middle class families should not be penalized for dysfunction and partisanship in Washington.”
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan