Peta: Don't fish at Lake Ridge Park & Rec's pool

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is urging people to boycott the Lake Ridge Parks and Recreation Association's annual Fish Out event that begins Friday

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The association plans to release 750 rainbow trout into the Tall Oaks Pool at 12298 Cotton Mill Drive, near the Vinings and Wildwood neighborhoods of Lake Ridge, turning the pool into a fishing temporary fishing hole.

Area residents can come to the pool from noon to 7 p.m. with their fishing reels to see how many fish they can catch, according to the parks & recreation department's website.

Peta spokesman Alicia Woempner said the rainbow trout would feel pain as they are fished with metal hooks and brought out into the open air, and they would suffocate when retrieved. Because of this, Woempner said PETA does not support the event.

The animal rights association has set up a form letter on their website for concerned people to fill out that asks Lake Ridge Association General Manager Ron Pereira to replace the "fish-out" with a "humane celebration."
Woempner said a family-friendly alternative at the pool could involve a remote-controlled boat race, among others.

Peta's letter also alleges that children should "not be taught that abusing animals is fun."

Lake Ridge Parks & Recreation Association's recreation director, Shirley Couteau, said she respects Peta and their mission, but she said that the event has become a tradition over the years.

"It is a great family event," Couteau said. "I'm sorry that Peta feels compelled to have this reaction."

Couteau made it clear that her department fully prepares for the event to ensure the trout are in a safe environment prior to being fished. The fish are not put in chlorinated swimming pool water, Couteau said.

Instead, the association use specially-formulated "pond-like" water that has been pumped to ensure oxygen is in it, Couteau said.

The association also works with the county Service Authority to ensure aluminum, ammonia, and other pool items are not in the pool water prior to the event, Couteau said.

Even with the special arrangements made for the fish, Woempner said that Peta still discourages parents from letting their children participate, citing the other non-animal-involved alternatives.

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