DEAR READERS: Today’s “sound off” is about the need to register animal abusers.

— Heloise

Hints from Heloise sig

DEAR HELOISE: There’s no excuse for animal cruelty, yet sadly, it seems to be on the increase. It’s only reasonable that we make it compulsory for animal abusers to register on a national list — a central database where all that information is stored, with easy access for people and companies that need to check to see if someone is convicted of animal abuse.

Some cities, counties and states have already enacted this requirement, but we need to make it a national law, along with longer prison terms and stiffer fines. We need to ensure that animal abusers are never allowed to own a pet again or to work around animals in any capacity.

— Norma, Texas

Fast facts

DEAR READERS: Here are some items to use as bird feeders:

• An old teacup saucer.

• An old birdbath.

• An empty milk carton.

• A chipped plate you no longer use.

— Heloise

Performance review

DEAR HELOISE: Most companies have an annual job performance review, and as someone who conducts those reviews, I have a few suggestions. Before you go in for your review:

• Keep a list of all your successful tasks. Did you land a big sale? Did you create a new way of doing things or create something for your customers that improved sales or helped you reach a quota? Highlight your successes.

• Be prepared to list your objectives and goals, and be able to explain why these are important goals to reach.

• Don’t complain about co-workers or anything that places you in a negative light. Think in positive terms. If something went wrong, what did you learn from it?

If you have any concerns, be ready to discuss them honestly, but use caution in your words so that you are not blaming or shaming anyone.

— L.G., Connecticut

Valet parking

DEAR HELOISE: My wife and I recently stayed at a nice hotel in Florida, where they had valet parking. While we were out to dinner, I managed to lose my valet parking ticket. Thankfully, I had taken a picture of it with my cellphone, and that helped the valet locate my car. Otherwise, I’d have waited a long time before they finally found my vehicle.

— Vernon G., Holland, Mich.

Hotel room safety

DEAR HELOISE: As a business traveler, I’ve learned a few things about hotel safety. The first thing to do is check out the room — under the bed, in the closets and behind the shower curtain — to make certain no one else is in the room.

Make sure your phone works and the door locks properly. Know your nearest exit in case of fire.

— William H., Spokane, Wash.

Sent hints to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001 or email