Marsha McGregor writes that she left her heart at SeaWorld and mourns the removal of orcas and bottlenose dolphins from Northeast Ohio (“Shadows of Shamu,” June 2008). A piece of my heart was also left broken at that same dolphin petting pool that McGregor describes.
Like most kids, I wanted to be close to the animals. But what I saw at that pool left me in tears: laughing children without parental supervision (and no intervention by SeaWorld staff) slapping the surface of the water in the shallow pool, causing the bottlenose dolphins to slap the water with their tails in annoyance. I was too young to know exactly what was wrong with this spectacle, but I knew it was abuse. The old seal and dolphin show at Cedar Point also left me saddened.
Later I became friends with Ric O’Barry, the man who trained the original Flipper, as well as field scientists. I learned these animals are highly social and intelligent and travel miles a day in complex environments that can never be replicated in captivity.
My nieces now share my love of animals, but they tell their friends not to go to SeaWorld or any other dolphin prison. The removal of captive marine mammals isn’t a loss for our community, but rather a benefit to the families of dolphins and whales that will not face capture. It’s a sign of a growing respect for these animals and the knowledge that the biggest thrill is seeing them living as they were meant to live, in the wild. Scott VanValkenburg Cleveland Heights
Remembering a Cowboy I too rode with Bill at Platte Ranch on a yearly basis (“Summer on the Slopes,” June 2008). Did you know he passed away in May following bypass surgery? You described him beautifully. He will be missed. Lois Worst Lancaster, Pa.
Corrections • In our June Rating the Suburbs feature we incorrectly noted that Avon has an entirely new city council. Most of the current council members ran as incumbents in the last election. A new Ward 3 councilman was appointed due to a death.
• In our June Rating the Suburbs feature we reported that Bay Village is building a public skate park later this year. However, the grant money the city needs to make the construction project possible has not yet been acquired.