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Letter: Islip officials shirk blame

Since initial reports in Newsday in April about possible illegal dumping in Roberto Clemente Park, Islip Town officials have continued to publicly blame other people ["Residents on dumping at park," News, June 15].

Councilman Steve Flotteron blamed "deplorable" prior administrations for their failure to maintain town parks and pools. Councilman Anthony Senft is the Town Board's liaison to the parks department and should be shouldering some responsibility. Instead, the town forced Parks Commissioner Joseph Montuori to resign.

Robert Cicale, the Islip Town attorney, was reported to be waiting for the completion of the Suffolk County district attorney's investigation to decide whom to sue.

However, it appears that the Town of Islip actually ignored warnings. In November 2013, a town park ranger submitted a report about "piles of rocky dirt" dumped on soccer fields at the park. Senft said he was aware of the report but had not seen it. Is that allowed? For an elected official to simply not read an important report and then claim no knowledge or responsibility?

In fact, as far back as Aug. 27, 2013, at a news conference about the long-unused pool at the park, a Newsday reporter spotted trucks and piles of dirt at the park. Both Senft and Montuori said they didn't know what was going on.

I was born and raised in Brentwood. I don't see that any dumping has been done in well-off areas such as Brightwaters, West Islip or Fire Island. That is no coincidence.

Kathleen A. Malloy, Islip Terrace

McCain's insistence on Iraq involvement

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been blaming the Obama administration for Iraq going bad, saying we won the war there ["Obama weighs military options," News, June 13].

Strange, I recall that our soldiers were still being attacked and killed when we withdrew at the request of the Iraqi leader Nouri al-Maliki, who was installed during the Bush administration. Maliki has failed to make any compromise with the Sunni sect to secure peace, and the tension there has grown. That is not President Barack Obama's fault.

McCain also said we should have maintained troops in Iraq, as we do in Japan, South Korea, Germany and Bosnia. He doesn't seem to understand that when war ended in those places, our soldiers weren't being shot at. If we were to go back to Iraq, we would lose more of our countrymen.

Haven't we lost enough?

It's a terrible situation, but not one that should fall entirely on this country to resolve.

Clare Worthing, Wantagh

In 2002, Saddam Hussein obtained United Nations permission to sell Iraq's oil for euros instead of U.S. dollars. The United States invaded in 2003 under the pretext of Hussein having chemical and biological weapons. We allowed Hussein to be lynched, installed a puppet regime in Baghdad, and now Iraq's oil is back on the world market but only purchasable with U.S. dollars.

The people of Iraq are tired of being ruled by a U.S. puppet regime, as was the case with Iran in 1979. They are trying to take their nation back.

The United States, intent on continuing the campaign of wars to force the world back into dependence on the U.S. dollar, cannot afford a single loss, and hence will have to re-invade and reconquer Iraq.

Joe Grifo, Holbrook

State puppy mill law falls short

When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo enacted a state law authorizing municipalities to crack down on unregulated pet dealers, Suffolk County legislators were quick to act ["Suffolk pet bill passes," News, June 4]. Local leaders passed an ordinance to regulate the sale of puppies in pet stores, making Suffolk County the first municipality to take advantage of the new state law.

The Suffolk ordinance prohibits pet stores from selling puppies that come from breeders with certain violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, relying on these standards as a model for addressing welfare concerns. This approach will keep some puppy mill animals out of Suffolk pet stores.

However, U.S. Department of Agriculture enforcement is weak, and dogs can still legally be kept in tiny, wire-floored cages, while female dogs can be bred at every heat cycle. This falls short of the goal of improving the lives of dogs.

While we commend Suffolk County for its efforts, there are more effective, targeted approaches to tackling this problem. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stands at the ready to help Suffolk and other localities enact a more comprehensive approach to keep puppy mill puppies out of New York pet stores.

Bill Ketzer, Manhattan

Editor's note: The writer is the senior state director for government relations for the ASPCA's Northeast region.