AR-News: (US-fl) Animals get love, abused kids get cold shoulder

Animalconcerns info at
Sun May 23 09:33:43 EDT 2004

[opinion from South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

... The South Florida Sun-Sentinel published a fascinating series
investigating the dark side of the marine theme park industry and its
adorable dolphins, whales and sea lions. Also in the news: the horrible
death of 3-year-old Angel Hope Herrera, allegedly at the hands of a mother
who spent her childhood being abused while the state was supposed to be
protecting her.

Do you really have to ask which got the bigger response?

Readers by the score called and wrote about the marine mammals. Herrera's
death didn't provoke one letter to the editor or any reader calls to the
reporters who covered it.
Sally Kestin, the investigative reporter who spent eight months on the
marine park series, isn't surprised about the disparity. Kestin once
covered Florida's dysfunctional child welfare system for the paper. She
recalls doing horrific stories about abuse cases and getting a handful of
calls. Two years ago, she did a series on dogs and cats being euthanized
at animal shelters and got more than 500 responses.

And then there's the reporter who did a series on homelessness and a week
later asked the letters editor how much response it generated. Nothing.
Then she did a story about a cat needing a home and got 38 phone calls.

Karen Lacov, 43, of Pembroke Pines said she called to praise the marine
series because, "It just touched a nerve."
Michael Mayo can be reached at mmayo at or 954-356-4508.

full story:,0,7194225.column?coll=sfla-news-col

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