Letters to the editor | December 20, 2017

Responsible pet ownership

EARLY one morning in September last year, while being walked on a lead at Coughlin Park in Horsham, our dog was attacked by an off-lead tan staffie under the control of a primary school-aged boy.

Our dog sustained bite injuries that required the care of a vet and costs of $544.65.

We contacted Horsham council and a ranger was able to ascertain the attacking dog’s owner.

We did not know and do not know who the owner is.

The dog’s owner agreed to cover the costs of our vet bill as long as we agreed not to contact the police or local press and not to claim further expenses.

We agreed and payments were to be made via the council officer.

But the payments ceased with $300 still owing.

While most owners are responsible, these people were not and the result is we are out of pocket and our dog suffered both physically and emotionally.

This letter is to stress the importance of responsible dog ownership.

That includes having the dog on a leash when walking and accepting responsibility for its behaviour.

Mike and Rhonda Coffey, Horsham

Helping children in need

ON BEHALF of Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child, I would like to convey my heartfelt thanks to the many churches, schools, organisations and numerous individuals who were involved this year in packing a shoebox for a child in need.

Each child is special and they will receive only one shoebox of gifts once in their life.

This gift will bring immediate joy and hope to the child.

It might open up opportunities they had never dreamed of.

Samaritan’s Purse can then assess the needs of the community such as safe, clean water, education, health and community empowerment projects and implement programs where possible.

The total number of boxes received and processed in Melbourne this year was 54,277.

From Victoria, the shoeboxes have gone to Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and Thailand. 

All of our team would like to give a huge thank you to each person who took the time to become involved either by packing a shoebox or donating goods or money.

Thank you also to the many people who made many different handmade items for the boxes.

We look forward to working with you all again next year.

Remember, you can collect items all year round. For further information please refer to our website samaritanspurse.org.au

Ann Rohde, Horsham

The first Christmas story

ON A winter’s evening more than 2000 years ago, angels appeared to tell of the birth of Baby Jesus – the first Christmas story.

The angels didn’t tell the politicians, the angels didn’t tell the socially important people – they told the shepherds, the farmers and the night shift workers.

The baby that was born lay in a manger, which is a sheep trough – hardly the most fancy cot for the Son of God.

Wise men from another country turned up to honour the birth of the new king.

They brought gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Those guys may have been wise but they sure didn’t know how to shop for a decent present for a baby.

Even on the first Christmas, blokes were giving impractical gifts.

Within weeks the baby and his mother and father had flee their country as the dictator wanted to kill them. They became refugees.

Ultimately, that baby grew up in a sheep and wheat producing district in a country town, working with his hands as a carpenter, a tradie.

Later, downing the tools to go on a speaking tour, his words are still felt around the world today.

He said: “Treat others how you want to be treated.”

He also said: “What you do for the least you do for me.”

Among the great Aussie food and wine, the time spent with family and the excitement in the eyes of children on Christmas morning, take the time to read the Christmas story.

I wish you all a very merry and safe Christmas.

Andrew Broad, Member for Mallee

Drug use on the rise

VICTORIA’S drugs crisis is ruining lives.

New figures show more and more Victorians are falling victim to the drugs scourge, with Victoria recording the highest rate of heroin use in Australia.

The Andrews Labor Government thinks a drug injecting room in Richmond will fix Victoria’s drugs crisis, but this does nothing to address problems with drug crime and access to rehabilitation.

A drug injecting room will not stop the flood of heroin coming into Victoria and will not help the many Victorians desperate get off the drug but having to wait up to a year for a rehab bed.

Because of Labor’s lack of action we are now in the grips of a drugs crisis that is ruining lives and families.

Victorians have a choice at the next election.

More of the same Labor neglect or a Liberal-Nationals government focused on tackling the drug epidemic with targeted education, better access to drug treatment and bringing down the drug kingpins that prey on vulnerable people in our community.

Emma Kealy, Shadow Minister for Mental Health

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