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Is Pet Ownership Destroying the Lives of Americans?
by Carole Wade, Contributor

April 30, 2003

Guest Contributor Carole WadeEDITOR'S NOTE: With the recent turn of events in America, the author felt the need to update this article, which we at TAP are happy to do. This article originally ran January 6, 2003, and is re-run with updates.

UPDATE: Given the extremely hateful and vindictive e-mails directed towards Ms. Wade over this article, it is being re-run with the following link by PlanetSave.com that documents concerns the Chinese government has over SARS and animals' ability to transmit the disease, which according toe WHO, now has a mortality rate of 15% - unless you're over age 60, at which point, the rate exceeds 50%. The article, "SARS: China 'culls' pets" shows the potential for disease these animals can cause in crowded environments such as China and Hong Kong. With SARS on the decline in Canada, it is not likely to be a factor in either the United States or Canada any time soon.

With a close eye on a growing senior citizenry and childless unmarried people who “rock their dogs to sleep” in their arms each night, the Pet Food Industry saw an opportunity to increase its billions-of-dollars-a-year in revenues. How? By touting the health benefits of owning dogs ... and by tricking manufacturers into believing that anything will sell if it has a dog in its advertising. The Mega Dog Warehouse owners know that dog owners substitute their pets for children.

Today's dog owners bathe with their dogs, eat with their dogs, and sleep with their dogs. Children often be damned!

The big car manufacturers have “gunned” their engines placing dogs into every commercial. TV ad for an oversized SUV: see a dog. Look at a milk commercial: see a dog. Advertised jeans in magazines: see a dog. Browse through your local newspaper to purchase a rug: see a dog. New York's high-paid advertising executives think that every written ad or television commercial needs a dog to sell an item. Article after article refers to "studies" that claim pet owners are more active and healthy. True? No. As a matter of fact: It is a big lie.

In effect, dogs lock once-active men and women into their homes. Dogs restrict people from interacting with human friends. Dogs restrict seniors from their old activities of playing bridge or golf. Why? How can a senior leave the dog at "home alone"? Dogs and the new computer age have actually increased a person's time staying at home and brought on more loneliness. Interestingly, the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association promotes products that are in the worst interests of people. Their association is not a “medical” society. They are in the business of selling multi-million-dollars a year of pet supplies.

Dogs do play an important part as “Service Dogs” to all people who need a companion for their limited sight or hearing. Nevertheless, the American Medical Association's physicians promote constant “people” contact for a longer happier life. And those studies which "prove" that dogs prolong one's life are paid for by the very rich and powerful Pet Food Industry. In fact, the only people getting richer and living longer and wealthier lives through dogs are the executives of the Pet Food Industry whose salaries are in the millions of dollars each year.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the average American spends $350.00 a year on dog treatments. Lonely men and women line up every morning eagerly waiting to spend their “last” dollar bill or max out their credit card on their pet's psychic reading, holistic pet care, pet photograph, pet spas, doggy Bed & Breakfasts, and pet taxis. Along with their pets' luxuries at home, pet owners demand their veterinarians be board-certified in cardiology, ophthalmology, and dermatology. Overall, the AVMA reports that Americans spend more than $15 billion annually on pets. Statistics also prove that the average homeless child in the United States lives on fewer than 75 cents a day ... including health care.

Non-pet owners who live in apartment and condominium high-rise buildings are today forced to spend millions of dollars each year on medical treatment for allergies created by their neighbor's dogs. Allergens travel through air conditioning systems, and pet hair and pet dander stay in common area carpets long after the dog has been walked. Katherine Schlaerth, an Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine of the University of Southern California School of Medicine, recently attributed deaths to allergic reactions to dogs. In the United States, ten percent of all Americans are estimated to have animal allergies -- according to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Adding urgency to the dog problem, we now endure SARS and terrorist threats. While not covered in the mainstream American news media, it has been widely reported in Asia that dogs may carry SARS on their fur and paws. The local government in Hong Kong alerted dog owners not to permit their dogs out of their homes for fear that the dog would spread the disease.

Residents who live next door to a dog owner in an apartment building or condominium home are forced to put up with their neighbor's multiple adopted rescued mixed Rottweiler/Doberman/Pit Bull aggressive, biting, mauling dogs that bark and attack at their front doors. These dog attacks have left mothers terrified for their children's safety. Seniors living alone are “frozen” and unable to fight back when a dog attacks.

Liberty Mutual Insurance Company released the following dog bite statistics in August of 2002: 800,000 people in the USA require medical attention each year from dog bites. Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Wolf-Dog Hybrids, and Mixed Breeds fatally wound hundreds of men, women, and children yearly.

At the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Dr. Jeffrey Sacks, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, states that approximately 4.7 million dog bites per year are currently reported in the United States. Dog bites are a major health problem for children and the elderly. The majority of dog bites occur in the vicinity of the dog owner's property. Homeowner insurance claims pay out in dog cases millions of dollars each year. However, more and more insurance companies are now refusing to insure dogs.

Not all our fellow Americans enjoy lives of tender love and care. Among us are homeless men, women, children, and infants. So the next time you speak to your dog owning neighbor and learn about the new toilet they just purchased for their pet or listen to their ravings about their dog's $300.00 facial, think about how inhuman pet owners have become. ***

2003 Carole Wade

COPYRIGHT 2003 BY THE AMERICAN PARTISAN. All writers retain rights to their work.

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