Letters to the Editor

This letter is concerning the upcoming May 5th protest of the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife’s lack of law enforcement at DEW Haven in Mt Vernon, Maine. Julie Miner shot Baghwa the lion in (2005?) because Bob Miner left a gate unlatched and attacked Bob, so they say. The Miners have put out at least three different versions of the event and the authorities were never notified, as required by law. The Miners hid this from The IF&W and did not disclose the attack and death of the animal. The IF&W are required to regularly inspect DEW Haven. They did not do their job and investigate where this lion was upon inspection and not finding him. They did not ask happened to him, was he sold? Did he die? If so how? The IF&W did not enforce the laws and hold DEW Haven responsible for, again, being dis-honest with officials and not disclosing an attack and death of an animal, or hold them responsible for the human lives they endangered due to their negligence when he “escaped”. The lion was photographed being skinned by three widely known Maine trappers. When asked, it was told that this lion came locally from a backyard zoo menagerie in Maine.  The Maine Warden Services has this photo. They say an open investigation is under way but the statute of limitations has run out on Baghwa. The IF&W have shown they do not care about the animals they are required to oversee. The IF&W no longer enforces any laws at DEW Haven at all. DEW Haven was allowed to get away with this with no legal consequences, and gained profit from having the animal skinned and sold. The only redemption Baghwa has, and the only way the public will know his true tragic story, is to protest in front of IF&W and show them there is no statute of limitations on murder.

-Monica Hooper
To the Editor:
On Friday May 5th at 11:30 am, I and others will be demonstrating peacefully outside of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Augusta.  We are simply fed up with the excuses, delays, lack of enforcement of laws, and overall lackluster oversight of DEW Haven, a backyard zoo in Mount Vernon.  For example, in June of 2014 DEW Haven used days old tiger cubs for monetary cub petting.  It was publicized by the press locally and nationally.  It was also quite illegal.  However, despite the obvious publicity, Maine IF&W did not act until someone called and complained.  Then DEW Haven and its owners were simply called and told to stop!   No violation and no fine!  This was after DEW already made quite a bit of money off of these newborn cubs.  
In a documentary the owners of DEW Haven, Bob and Julie Miner, discuss how Bob left a gate unlatched and Baghwa the male lion attacked Bob.  Julie ended up shooting the lion and three different versions of that story have been released since then.  Maine IF&W was never even notified and now they say the statute of limitations has run out.  Unacceptable!  An innocent lion was shot by its caretaker and the rules were not followed.  We have a petition regarding Baghwa the lion and we will be handing it in after the protest.   Please join us as we stand up for the voiceless and ask Maine IF&W to do its job investigating complaints thoroughly and protecting captive wildlife.  Maine IF&W is accountable to all of the people across the nation and the globe that have donated to DEW Haven believing the zoo to be a sanctuary for animals.  
-Kristina Snyder
To the editor:
I was only 34 years old when a brain tumor was discovered. After having surgery to remove it, doctors told me that I need to have a MRI every 6 months to monitor my health and to make sure the tumor doesn't grow back. I have health insurance through my work but I can’t have an MRI covered unless I meet my deductible each year. I should not have to say no to my follow-up care because I can’t afford the out-of-pocket cost of $1500 for a MRI every time.

Who prepares to have a brain tumor at 34? Who prepares to have one at all? The healthcare situation in this country is not sufficient. There needs to be safety nets for people who are struggling to keep their head above water. I am thankful that my friends created a GoFundMe page to help cover my living expenses while I was out of work. I should not have to rely on the kindness of my friends or strangers to receive the care I need. I should not have to go into debt to stay healthy. Healthcare companies have the responsibility to care for the people in this county. It is important that we expand health care in this country, and not roll it back. More people need access and more people need to be covered.

Kathy Smith

Last modified onMonday, 01 May 2017 11:15