When we are young, our parents normally told us not to approach or try to pet an animal that we did not know. Evidently Joseph Gima was not taught this. He tried to pet a dog in the back of a pickup truck.

That dog was only protecting its property. If the dog had jumped out of the truck and attacked Gima, a person might think he was justified in buying the BB gun and shooting the dog — but this dog was not acting vicious.

I sincerely hope that there is not a lawyer in this county that will condone what Gima did to that animal. Gima should be found guilty of first-degree animal abuse, first-degree aggravated animal abuse and second-degree criminal mischief. He should also pay the veterinary bill for the damage that he inflicted on this dog. — Suzi Collins, Eagle Point

It is frightening to know that Joseph Gima is out on bail after allegedly pre-meditatively shooting Parent-Lewis' Labrador in the back of her pickup (Tribune, Jan. 21).

Obviously a dog will be protective of her owner's vehicle. This dog was doing her job. Gima had no right to pet her and the reaching into the truck bed would constitute a trespass of property.

Since Gima is not a child, this would not be considered an attractive nuisance. The shooting was malicious and intentional and therefore, in addition to the criminal charges and hopefully a felony conviction, Parent-Lewis should also file civil charges to regain monetary loss and punitive damages. Since this would be considered a contingency case, she would only be out of pocket expenses until the lawyer prevailed at the end. Check out www.aldf.org the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Kudos for witness Church for calling the police and thank you to the officers for persisting in finding the evidence to charge Gima. Contact the district attorney in support of felony prosecution. Let's give this guy what he deserves. — Lisa A. Frost, Ashland

Regarding Saturday's story about Joseph Gima shooting the dog: Doesn't Mr. Gima know better than to attempt to pet a dog in a car, cab of a truck or a truck bed? Wasn't he ever taught that the animal will protect her space and protect what is hers?

The dog was doing what dogs do, and he was so far out of line as to be funny. The dog wasn't vicious. How right does he really think he is — after all, he tried to deny the entire incident.

I so hope the dog is going to be OK. — Cherry Marrone, Medford

Arriving from a big California city, I could not help but notice the front page photograph of the Mail Tribune and the caption, "Titan comes home." It was the story of a great Dane lost for over two weeks in the Portland area, then saved in a harrowing rescue from a steep ravine by a 28-year-old mom who refused the $1,000 reward. It was enough to raise anyone's spirits.

What about international news, you may ask? I found pages devoted to foreign, national, local, business and sports news.

What surprised me is that the local newspaper seemed to contain as much substantive news as offered by a big-city newspaper. Quality made up for quantity, and I did not miss the conservative bias of the San Diego Union. Here is a thank you to the local press. — Doug Strong, Ashland

With the Republicans' spurious repeal of health care reform headed for an ignominious defeat, you'd think they would give it a rest — but no. Next they plan to peck it to death. What a terrible waste of two more years.

The GOP has degenerated into something only the tea party could love. They don't think twice about squandering countless billions wreaking havoc in Iraq, but bitterly oppose providing universal health care to their uninsured fellow Americans. They even opposed a bill providing care to 9/11 responders until finally being shamed into passing it.

Sarah Palin's whopper about "death panels" was PolitiFact's 2009 Lie of the Year. The GOP's portrayal of health care reform as a "government takeover" was the 2010 Lie of the Year. Now they label it "budget-busting" and "job-killing," more deliberate distortion. What is it about health care that turns Republican politicians into such brazen liars?

Falsehoods like these are relished by people who take a perverse pride in their contempt for facts. Let's hope most Americans are astute enough to realize, those who resort to lies in order to make their point don't have one. — Michael Steely, Medford

Your "opinion" page of Jan. 19 appeared to me to be another attack on our Jackson County sheriff. His effort to protect the public from gun-carrying dope users should be lauded and supported by the general public. Mike Winters continues to make the county as safe as possible by doing just that.

The Mail Tribune said that Winters was attempting to decide for himself what laws to enforce or not to enforce. What an irresponsible statement. His moral and ethical discharge of the position of the top law enforcement officer in the county deserves better.

One may disagree with law interpretation; however, what is safest for the general public is the bottom line. That is where he is coming from. So you and your news hawks need to lighten up! — Don Ellsworth, Ashland

Leave it to the Democrats to try to turn a senseless tragedy into a crusade to still the voices of their opponents.

The massacre in Arizona had nothing to do with liberalism, conservatism, political parties or radio talk shows.

But that hasn't dawned on those same folks who dumped trash on George Bush for eight years. The actions of a trigger-happy lunatic have instantly become their guiding light.

Their reaction is shameful and their lack of logic is abysmal at best.

As for the Republicans, even though I'm not one of them, I'm impressed that they haven't used this slaughter as an excuse to rob others of their freedom of speech. At least they don't see this rampage as a source of inspiration. — Ron Smith, Medford

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