Humane Society director deserves an 'A' for her argument against cuts in county funding
As a retired communications professor, I was intrigued by “Humane Society director challenges proposed county contract cuts.” This article presents two attempts to persuade the reader regarding a proposed 50 percent budget cut by the Washtenaw County Commission on their contract with the Humane Society of Huron Valley.
In the article, Commissioners Conan Smith and Rolland Sizemore Jr. violated several aspects of effective persuasion. Smith offered a vague argument suggesting he is not certain the state mandates services to abandoned and abused animals, while Smith used a vague emotional pitch about the need to set budget priorities that favors kids over animals but never identifies a specific program for kids that will be saved by cutting money for neglected and abused animals.
A more effective argument for not cutting the budget was presented by Tanya Hilgendorf, executive director of HSHV. Hilgendorf provided solid evidence and effective emotional appeals for the continued current funding of the program. She offered data comparing Washtenaw County costs per resident on animal control and was persuasive in convincing me (a resident of Livingston County) that the service provided by HSHV is a bargain for the county. She also provided a more convincing argument for the existence of a state mandate for animal control and the value of the service provided by HSHV.
If Smith, Sizemore, and Hilgendorf had presented their persuasive arguments in one of my communication classes their grades would be C, C and A, respectively. I sincerely hope the County Commission was as persuaded as I was.
M. Kate Murphy