Monday, January 31, 2011

From Here On, You Sleep On The Couch

Pictured are my two junior assistants, Niko the Wonder Pup and Beegee the Crack Kitten, arguing over territory on my living room couch after having been evicted from my bedroom. Senior Assistant Kitty Kelly has her claws planted so deep into the mattress that she'll never be ousted. This chaos is all the result of the latest revelation about the danger of sleeping with your pets (your snickers are being ignored).

Who knew those innocent faces were out to kill me? AOL Senior Public Health Correspondent Andrew Schneider has saved billions of lives by warning us of this dangerous practice. Oh, sure, he admits that the benefits of living that closely with your pets are well known. Scientific evidence which is essentially undisputed has proven that being close to our pets relieves human stress, decreases cholesterol and triglyceride levels, increases human immune functions, and gives our hearts a healthy dose of love. It is one of the few successful methods of home relief of traumatic stress disorder among returning fighting men and women exposed to the horrors of the battlefield.

But what is any of that compared to the risk of contracting zoonoses? No, that's not a nasal disease you get from visiting the zoo--it's a disease transmitted from animals to humans. Now this guy is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, so what he says must be true, right? He craftily avoided discussing whether you can get a zoonose from polar bears, so can the junk science chatter. Here's the proof: "The risk for transmission of zoonotic agents by close contact between pets and their owners through bed-sharing, kissing, or licking is real and has even been documented for life-threatening infections such as plague, internal parasites, [and most sinister of all] other serious diseases." He was delicate enough not to mention the dangers of having sex with your pets on your bed.

What makes this even scarier is that his report is going to be published by the Centers for Disease Control. Once a federal agency is involved, can the bed police be far behind? The Supreme Court has said that we have a right to privacy and the right to sleep with whomever we wish without governmental interference, but who knows if that applies to sleeping with Fido or Puff? Let alone with Fido and Puff.

The author cited three worldwide examples to prove his thesis. Three's a lot, isn't it? I know it's a crowd. One was a 9 year old in Arizona who got the plague. He regularly slept with his cat. A man and his wife developed a serious staph infection. They routinely slept with their dog in the bed, and, God help us all, the dog frequently licked their faces. In far-off Japan, a woman contracted meningitis. She had kissed her dog's face. "Concurrence is not causation" you say? You're the same kind of people who denied that breast implants were a direct cause of cancer and got saccharin removed from the market because it causes cancer in rats in high doses (rather than the simple fact that it left a really bad aftertaste).

The study had a full set of other cases where the closeness to pets may or may not have caused a serious human infection, but hey, we have to err on the side of caution. And of course there's the well-known worldwide deadly epidemic of cat-scratch fever (which can also be caused by overexposure to Ted Nugent, but that's another story). The disease largely affects children (the children! the children!), and about 20,000 contract the disease annually worldwide. It can be deadly, but that same CDC has absolutely no figures to show how many deaths have actually occurred in the industrial West.

The CDC's own website reports that "although animals can carry germs, it is important to know that you are more likely to get some of these germs from contaminated food or water than from your pet or any other animal you encounter." Oh, swell, that means I can't eat or drink in bed anymore either.

About 84% of pet owners report that their pets sleep with them at night. Schneider and the CDC are currently revising a certain hockey-stick graph to fit the horrendous increase in deadly disease transmission from exhaled pet CO2, and will then turn the information over to the EPA and Al Gore for further action and regulaton. So kiss Fido good bye (figuratively of course), and wish a fond farewell to Puff, and send them off to the back yard or laundry room at night. It's a matter of life or death. And just who the hell is that giggling in the background?

21 comments:

BevfromNYC said...

Of course, I can get a disease from sleeping next to, kissing, and "other diseases" (she says delicately) from human too. And plant! Don't get me started on the pollen!

But on the bright side, dairy maids were found to be immune from small pox because of their close proximity to cows. Though you'd need a bigger bed.

Have we found the cure for cancer yet? Why doesn't this guy do something more useful like find the cure for cancer...

Tennessee Jed said...

I guess my response to the Pulitzer Prize winner (they don't seem to mean that much any more) is shit happens. In the absence of any kind of scientific testing, Mr. Wizard has way more cred. That said, what would have to happen for the Supremes to decide NOT to hear the appeal? I guess that couldn't happen because it would leave different law in different states.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, "though you'd need a bigger bed" LOL! Ah yep.

This guy is a joke. Few diseases transfer from human to animal or vice versa, and those tend to be things that your pets won't get -- like plague or West Nile fever.

Talk about a made up problem.

T_Rav said...

I would just like to point out that AOL is a joke as far as its news/opinion (the two are often interchangeable) pieces are concerned. It's badly slanted and often lacking in real information. No wonder they ran this crap.

Oh, and I have no problem with letting the cat sleep on my bed. When it lays on my face or coughs up a hairball while doing so--then we've got problems.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: It's always easier for a low-level technocrat to find a couple of bizarre coincidences, turn them into an epidemiological theory, and get the nervous nellies to back him than to do something genuinely useful. The world is full of Chicken Littles but damned few Jonas Salks.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: The Supreme Court always has the option to leave conflicting laws in different jurisdictions, and does so occasionally on small, technical legal principles. But this is BIG, and can't be ignored. It will end up at the high court eventually unless Congress renders the issue moot by repealing Obamacare entirely. That is highly unlikely.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Are you suggesting that we aren't all about to die of zoonoses? LOL

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: Their partners in crime at the CDC aren't a lot better. They'll find diseases almost anywhere for any reason to preserve their funding. They would all be standing in a bread-line if they couldn't find something new to create a panic over.

T_Rav said...

LawHawk, I would like to take this moment to reiterate how dumb the Obama administration was to drop the severability clause from the health-care bill. Really, who does that? Even I know not to do that, and I've never even been to law school!* Oh well, I guess this is what happens when you decide to pass the bill in order to find out what's in it.

*Note: If you or anyone else has done that, then I apologize and retract everything I just said.

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: As far as the history of the law goes, the severability clause is relatively new. It's first major use was in the California Jarvis Amendment (Prop 13 freezing property taxes). I first used it in a Hillside Protection Ordinance in Simi Valley back in the late 70s. Once computers became standard, most of us had it as an automatic insert in legislation and contracts.

Unless I'm misinformed, the authors of that horrendous health "reform" act never had the severability clause in the legislation in the first place. A lawyer in California who failed to include that clause in a contract today would be guilty of malpractice, and only the amount of damages would be left for a court to decide. We can't sue Congress for malpractice, but in this case, we'd want to congratulate them for their lack of foresight. Maybe Pelosi and the gang should have read it before they voted on it.

Joel Farnham said...

Where are the groups advocating for the Human-owners (Dogs or Cats), LawHawk? They must be livid! Can't the ACLU or PETA get involved?

You do know what this is? A new Minority!! Entitled to consideration and love!! Advocacy groups must be formed! They should demand money from the government since they are oppressed! How dare they!!

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: You know, I had almost forgotten about that. Weird, since San Francisco was one of the first Martian colonies to delete the word "pet" and replace it with "non-human companion" and grant civil rights to them.

And having said that, I wonder if they are upset that Obamacare was just shot down in Florida, leaving them and their non-human companions wondering where they'll find a "free" doctor.

StanH said...

I see another multi-million dollar study to prop up university research facilities, ala global warming. I do hate these bastards. If they weren’t minding other peoples business they’d be dead. My dogs will be at the foot of the bed this evening, and this dweeb can kiss my entire ass.

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: Well, the paranoid battle between anti-pet alarmists and PETA/non-human companion alarmists should be fun. Haven't they heard of a three dog night? You can pry my dog from my bed from my cold, dead fingers. Don't these people have real lives? The only reason I don't let my pup sleep on my bed is that he already takes up half the bed--the middle half. That, and the cats won't let him.

patti said...

the pic just made me mad, mad i tell ya...because i wanted a larger one! i need to see the slobber coming from that wonder pup! i need to see the kitty claws! come on law, stop teasing us.

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: I purposely avoided showing the blood and drool on my couch. I'm a very sensitive guy, you know. Some time I'll find an excuse to post the picture of Beegee the Crack Kitten curled up in the big glass fruitbowl on the dining room table with Niko the Wonder Pup trying to eject her by yanking off the tablecloth.

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

I bet this is a fake infomercial taken to extremes.

First re-read what Andrew wrote about Newsvertising.

Then re-read the AOL news article.

Notice what the "two senior veterinarians" recommend? Normal veterinarian visits. Regular common sense ideas that could have come from any mother who is interested in the health of her child. And nothing that indicates any research has been done.

An honest writer would have written:

This is filler. I am writing this so that AOL will pay me to keep my house over my head. It features two veterinarians who are trying to scare you into taking your pet in to see them. Their organization paid AOL to get me to write this for them. What can I say? I need to eat. What they recommend is general in nature and recommended even if there weren't any diseases common to pets and humans.

Yeah, I know, fat chance this Scneider character would try to be that honest.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: Exactly. And now the CDC will publish the article as if it's a serious study, and Schneider will feed off the AOL trough while the CDC feeds off the public trough. All of it based on a small number of dubious connections between human illnesses which may or may not have anything to do with the pets at all. The loons glorify science without having a clue what science actually is. And the junk scientists get rich off of scaring the public about fake epidemics.

Also note that I reported that the CDC has already stated that the animal-human connection is less likely to instigate disease than other very routine activities. Yet when they publish the report, I'm guessing they'll have forgotten it entirely and will join in the hysterical cries to banish our pets from the bedroom (and eventually the entire house). Consistency and solid research are not the hallmarks of junk science.

LoneWolfArcher said...

Is Niko a Great Pyrenees?? We lost our 11 year-old Pyr last year to bone cancer. We now have Apollo, a year-old Pyr. Great breed.

We also have Dakota, a less than 1 year-old Landseer Newfoundland.

Dogs rule. Cats drool.

LawHawkRFD said...

LoneWolfArcher: He is indeed a Great Pyrenees. I've joked with my family that during his puppyhood he's a good Pyrenees but not a great Pyrenees. LOL I've had him since just before Christmas, and he's already become an integral part of the family. My younger daughter lives about 3 1/4 miles from me, and she has Niko's brother, Gus. So we didn't completely break up the litter. When the two of them get together, I'm glad I have my four acres for them to commit mayhem on. They go up and down the hillsides as easily as I walk across a room. My older daughter has a Newfie, and when all three get together, stand back and watch the fun. Now if he'll just get all his razor-sharp teeth in and quit eating the deck furniture, we'll be home free.

LawHawkRFD said...

If I haven't scared you sufficiently with the impending doom caused by deadly dog bed fever, thanks to NewsRealBlog and Megan Fox, here are ten other apocalyptic scares from the left and the junk scientists: The End Is Near.

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