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Today’s Sound Off is about exotic pets:

Dear Heloise: Why do we allow people to import exotic pets into the US? These are animals such as rare snakes, monkeys, pot-bellied pigs, zebras, etc. These animals should be left in their own habitat to protect them, as well as for our own safety. Florida has a serious problem with boa constrictors that were released into the wild when people decided they didn’t want them as pets anymore. Now they pose a threat to the wildlife of that region.

Monkeys are often captured, and so are chimpanzees, but the mothers are sometimes killed to get the babies. Chimpanzees can be very dangerous as adults and have been known to attack people without any provocation.

Pot-bellied pigs are cute as babies, but not so much as adults, which leads to their mistreatment when they’re fully grown. But that is not uncommon when someone decides to get an exotic animal to fulfill their egos or the need to impress others. So many times, these animals are sold to farms that allow people with guns to hunt the animals. They’ll tie a tiger to a tree, and then the animal is shot by a coward with a gun.

Let’s stop this influx of animals that are abused and exploited for someone’s greed and ego. Let’s stop breeders who perpetuate this exploitation of exotic animals. — Angela M., Lake Charles, Louisiana

FAST FACTS

Here are some gift ideas for the person who has it all (or is just difficult to buy a gift for):

— A gift card to a hardware store, hobby shop or book store.

— A gift certificate to their favorite restaurant.

— A gift basket with foods they like.

— Scratch-off lottery tickets.

ROBOCALL DISCONNECT

Dear Heloise: I would like to reply to the woman who said that when you receive robocalls, just press the “we” button, and then quickly press the off button to disconnect the call. Yes, this does disconnect the call, but it also lets the robot know that it is an active line. So, it keeps your phone number in its database. While it is annoying to listen to the phone ring, the best option is just to let it ring and then disconnect itself when the call is not answered.

Or, if your phone has a block feature, use it to block the phone number calling. Thanks to you and your staff for all you do. —Jane M., San Antonio

PET IN DANGER

Dear Heloise: Who should I call? There is a neighbor down the street from me that ties his dog up to a tree and treats the poor thing terribly. They never walk the dog, and they leave him outside in all kinds of weather, with a dirty food bowl and very little food inside of it. On these hot summer days, I’ve taken food and water to the dog. I want to help this poor creature, but who can I call to help me enforce better care of this dog? —Sandra R., Kalamazoo, Michigan

Sandra, call the police and ask for their help. You also can call an animal shelter and local television stations to run a story on animal abuse, but use that as a last option.

Thank you for being so concerned about this dog. — Héloise.

— — —

Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, PO Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.

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