November 23 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank Kate Hand for her November 17 letter recognizing the work of Shanna Elmore and Big Bend Pets TNR (trap, neuter, return) work at the old jail. This work is part of Big Bend Pets’ larger effort in Marfa that began in early 2022. Since then, we have TNR’d just under 60 Marfa cats, and this is only the beginning! Big Bend Pets’ trained and dedicated Marfa trappers are the cornerstone of this early success. Elaine Mustard was instrumental in trapping and returning the adult “jail cats” and Joni Marginot is active in our community also doing this essential work. Our goal is always to keep the colony safe, sterilized, and not reproducing. TNR Works! Since our founding in 2019 we have sterilized and returned 700 cats to their outdoor homes. In one nearby town, the shelter has seen a 15% reduction of homeless cat intakes and a 30% decrease in nuisance feral cat euthanasia. It can be an efficient and humane solution to reduce Marfa’s feline overpopulation, too. The adage –– if you feed, don’t let them breed –– is the very best outcome for these free-roaming cats and the neighborhoods in which they live.

If you would like to support this work, our “Pay It Forward” fundraiser is underway: You can also click the donate button on Facebook or at

We will be at the Marfa Holiday Bazaar December 10 and 11! Please stop by, meet us, and get more information about Big Bend Pets and our program.

On behalf of the free-roamers that share our neighborhoods, thank you, Marfa!

Patsy Culver
Managing Director, Big Bend Pets



Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, claiming a high number of migrant border encounters, invoked the Constitution’s invasion clause (Article 1, Section 10) for taking “unprecedented measures” to repel a “border invasion.” Plans include “building border wall in multiple counties,” “deploy gun boats, enter into a compact with other states to secure the border” and “enter into agreements with foreign powers to enhance border security.” 

Eluding Abbott’s generous use of hyperbole is the hallmark of Operation Lone Star’s previous failed deployment –– four suicides and horrendous living conditions. Shouldn’t that be a glaring red-flag about being wrong again?  

Has the U.S. Constitution or asylum law ever stopped Abbott baiting a fear-based audience? No, he sounds a political dog-whistle targeting undocumented immigrants. 

Has the Bible* provided a theological commandment to confront desperate, unarmed civilians with military force? No, that’s never been an impediment to Abbott’s border déjà vu, either.

*Matthew 25: 31-40. “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah