|Sent on:||Sunday, March 25, 2012 10:19 PM|
For the past several months, we have been campaigning and lobbying the Board of Directors of the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival to persuade them to stop giving away pets as prizes at their festival. We recently drove to Ponchatoula to speak directly to the board members, explaining to them firsthand the problems we have documented. We informed them, for example, that many rabbits are mistreated by their new owners, that others are released in nearby woods and fields, and still others are often surrendered to humane organizations. Board members informed us that two vendors were scheduled to give away rabbits again this year, but that one has dropped out because of the controversy we generated, leaving only one vendor who will give away rabbits. Against our wishes, the board decided to allow the remaining vendor to give away their rabbits one more time this year. As a compromise, however, they told us that they would rewrite their charter bylaws to end the practice in 2013.
Unfortunately, that means that hundreds of rabbits will be given away again this year. The vendor giving away these rabbits is a Pentecostal church called Soul's Harbor, located in Hammond. I recently spoke with Marvin Poole, the church's pastor, about the problems with these types of giveaways. He said that they had already purchased the rabbits this year and had the necessary permits to do so. I asked him to do the right thing and return the rabbits to the breeder and offer stuffed animals instead. Unfortunately, we did not reach an amicable solution.
Therefore, we are requesting that you please take a minute to communicate politely to Pastor Poole. Let him know that you are against the church's practice of giving away rabbits as prizes, especially in order to earn a profit for his church!!! Ask that the church instead give away non-living prizes in the future and ask him to send you a written pledge that would go into effect in 2013. You can e-mail Pastor Poole at [address removed] or leave a polite message at [masked].
In order to assist us in gauging the effectiveness of this campaign, please let us know if you made your calls or sent your emails. Sincerely yours, Jeff Dorson Director Humane Society of Louisiana