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Posted on Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 4:04 p.m.

Humane Society director deserves an 'A' for her argument against cuts in county funding

By Letters to the Editor

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


The Picker

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 10:29 p.m.

If you just start charging for parking at the Cherry Hill pound, I think your funding problems are solved.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 10:01 a.m.

So true...and that's a sign of how important HSHV is to the people of our county. The place is always packed.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 3:21 a.m.

jcj - confused by your comment - you read a "Letter to the Editor" - someone's opinion. Why did it strike such a nerve? Maybe because you're uncomfortable with the fact that what was written was 100% correct? No, Ms. Murphy s not the decision maker here - unfortuately. Instead its left up to commissioners that are very uninformed.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

rosy12 After looking at your history of comments It would appear you have also had a nerve struck concerning various topics. I certainly don't condemn you for your opinions!


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:33 p.m.

rosy12 Sorry for the late response. I was busy cleaning up dog and cat dung and then I was trying to catch up on the sleep I lose every night because of the dogs in the neighborhood barking! I guess that's why it struck a nerve. Few people are 100 percent correct all the time. Ms Murphy is very fortunate to be one of the few.

Jane Q.

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 7:17 p.m.

Great editorial here, right on point. And yes, sadly, stating the Commissioners are very uninformed is even an understatement. They talk first and check facts later. If they ever check at all.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 12:20 a.m.

Well fortunately you are not the one that decides the fate of the budget. Did I communicate that fact clearly?


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

Well the fact of the matter is Ms Murphy not only does not decide the fate of the county budget. She cannot even vote for those that do , being a Livingston County resident! Dog Lover I would like to give you an "F" for failing to recognize that Ms Murphy had to toot her own horn about being a "retired communications professor" and I just wanted to know if I communicated my point .


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 10:12 a.m.

As a matter of fact, the county commissioners do respect and rely on public input to make these difficult decisions with OUR money. We all decide the fate of the budget, with our votes and our participation in public discussions. Thank you, Ms. Murphy, for your comments--they help us better understand what we heard from the Commission. Thank you, Ms. Hilgendorf, for setting the bar high for discourse at the leadership level.

Dog Lover

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 6 p.m.

You get an 'F' for your unconstructive comment. Is there no civility when people disagree anymore?