To the editor:

An article by Jerry Spangler in the Feb. 5 Deseret News begins, "No one in his right mind would purposely throw Rover out of a moving pickup truck. Nor would he intentionally starve Fluffy to death." He then proceeds to catalog the protests of groups who are opposing two pieces of legislation designed to provide a little more protection to animals in Utah.Whether animals suffer as a result of deliberately sadistic actions or for other reasons is immaterial. The fact remains that more than 100,000 dogs are killed annually on American highways from falling out of the open beds of trucks, not to mention that a safety hazard is created every time an incident like this occurs.

It is a fact that each year animal protection agencies investigate literally thousands of cases of pet dogs and cats who have endured agonies - and often died - from hunger, cold, thirst, untreated injuries and illnesses, excessive and brutal abuse inflicted in the name of "discipline" and neglect. There is no excuse for continuing to tolerate such situations in a civilized society.

Neither of the proposed bills, HB189 and HB190, imposes any restrictions that reasonable people would find objectionable. The supposed threat to rural communities is non-existent, as the bills themselves clearly state.

The transportation bill specifically exempts unpaved roads, livestock, farm trucks, farm tractors, implements of husbandry, off-highway vehicles and off-highway implements of husbandry. It is designed solely to stop the practice of carrying unprotected animals in open trucks along the interstate and other heavily traveled urban thoroughfares.

Gene Baierschmidt

Executive director

Humane Society of Utah