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Clarifies her position

April 17, 2013

To the editor: I am writing to clear up a few misconceptions about my opinions regarding the Oleson Park Zoo. For those that have heard that I want it closed, that is simply not true....

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(13)

Colonelbanters

Apr-17-13 2:54 AM

Good on you Amy and keep up the good work. When I brought my girlfriend to Fort Dodge to visit for the first time, she was so angry she was almost in tears at what she saw at Oleson Park-it really is that bad. I had to talk her down for about two days from reporting that "zoo" to PETA. Fort Dodge needs to change in so many ways to catch up to the reality of the times and this is just one more shining example.

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FtDlover

Apr-17-13 9:46 AM

Breeding animals for the auctions and buying and selling at those horrible auctions are not necesary or something our community should tolerate. Real zoos don't do this and neither should we. We are better than that. Lets all start demanding better of Parks & Rec and the zoo. Thanks, Amy, for having the courage to advocate for the animals and for a better experience for the kids. You should be applauded by everyone in this community for your leadership and compassion.

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FtDlover

Apr-17-13 3:31 PM

The city (taxpayers) provides a great deal for the zoo - land, food, insurance, and is responsible for everything the zoo can't pay over and above the budgeted funds. This was the way the zoo wanted it. As a friend pointed out the other day - the potential liability for the city is enormous. The zoo's underfunded story just doesn't fly in the face of reality.

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FtDlover

Apr-17-13 5:43 PM

hbockoven - ask to see the city/zoo contract. It is public information.

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Whatever

Apr-17-13 5:52 PM

hbockoven - My problem is with the fact that these inexperienced people seek out animals they have no clue on how to care for. When the matters of the cages were brought to their attention the responded by saying the cages were adequate. They placed a wild cat next to the cage of the lemur, which later suffered serious injuries and lost its tail. And back to third set of Arctic Foxes that they refused to give any shelter from the heat. Sets one and two mysteriously disappeared. I will gladly donate money once they stop breeding exotic animals, selling exotics, and buying more. It is disgusting the way they treat these animals - so under no circumstances tell me that I am the problem. The problem is them and their obsession with bringing in these animals. Other zoos will not associate with them do to this. Bring in animals that are well-adapted to the surrounding in Iowa.

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FtDlover

Apr-17-13 8:36 PM

hbockhoven, you are right. The city is not losing anything by having the zoo on city land. They are creating something - liability for injuries and pollution of the land and water due to the concentration of 100+ animals in a small filthy area.

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AmyVonBank

Apr-17-13 8:56 PM

Hbockoven, I am so glad you went and helped with the clean up, and I am glad you are asking questions of all sides. I wanted to comment on the part about people and the city not financially supporting it not helping, I agree, but there are many levels to this that you may not understand. The zoo has not been forthcoming about their finances, even when asked by the parks department for them, they refused to submit them. They have received many donations over the years and rather than invest them into better habitats, they have bought more animals then they could care for. Throwing money at this won't fix it, they want a tax levy to buy a $100,000 building, they were gifted the two buildings that are there now, and the new barn was stacked with cages of animals requiring special care and food. Does that make sense? Scale back down and put the money towards making the "zoo" a better environment and leave the exotic animals to zoologists who can properly provide and care for the

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AmyVonBank

Apr-17-13 8:59 PM

*them.

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FtDlover

Apr-18-13 5:37 PM

hbockoven, I respect your position. Please understand that others think that because this has gone on for so long the only way to stop the perpetuation of the abuse of these animals is to "starve the beast". We believe that removing support is the only truly effective way to end the current situation at the zoo and move it to a creating a more humane environment. Many people are waiting for this to happen and they will step up to help once the city accomplishes this.

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FtDlover

Apr-18-13 7:32 PM

No one wants to starve the animals and I can assure that won't happen. Money given has been used not for animal care but acquisition. Their use of the funds is counter-productive to the care of the animals.

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AmyVonBank

Apr-18-13 10:00 PM

hbockoven, I have the contracts including the latest one presented by the zoo this year. They wanted permission to purchase many new animals (some have been purchased) others are on the list they want to buy once the contract is approved, including a bobcat. Why would they be buying even more animals when they can not afford to provide the care needed for the animals they have now? I will donate to animal care, I do for the shelter, I won't donate to purchase more animals.

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AmyVonBank

Apr-18-13 11:06 PM

I'm not upset with you. I applaud your efforts and hope it helps the animals, that is all I have asked. I was just responding to your post about not giving them money and explaining why I can't support it. Animals are bought new, bred, caged, sold, and then it all starts all over again. They feel like if they don't have these animals kids will never see them. That isn't true, and just because you can buy them doesn't mean you should, and if you can't afford them you shouldn't buy them or expect others to fund your efforts to do so, especially if you are not willing to be forthcoming with your finances. I believe their intentions are good, their methods are flawed.

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jammer

Apr-19-13 12:48 PM

Just who is/are the "they/them" of which you speak? Put some names to these people that are getting away with such atrosities. Buying/breeding/selling of the exotic animals. Who are these people? Start naming names so the people who truly have an interest in helping to save the zoo can go right to the top. So...until we know who these people, I can't see where much can get done at all. Just my 2 cents worth.

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