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Jun. 5, 2020 | Friday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: No evidence pets transmit COVID-19
Letter

Dear editor:

The following is an open letter to Lord Mayor Betty Disero and Premier Doug Ford.

While I understand that, at the local level, our lord mayor is just following orders, I am compelled to include all politicians who have participated in the recent injection of fear pertaining to our pets.

 To be precise, I refer to the signage which appeared at the Commons this past week mandating that all animals adhere to the physical distancing measures between themselves and between them and humans.  

And, as Ms. Disero stated in an email to me, "there is no current evidence suggesting pets play a role in transmitting this disease" you also choose to quote other websites that state there are rare instances whereby pets have been infected with the virus. 

Well, fortunately, owing to the internet, we are privy to the same information that you choose to act upon.  My sources of information and the questions I posed are as follows:

How many dogs have died from the virus? Answer: None.

How many dogs have been infected in Canada/Ontario/Niagara-on- the-Lake? Answer: None.

Is there any proof of transmission between dogs or between people and dogs. Answer: No.

I collected the information from the following sources: the Canadian Veterinarian Medical Association, the WHO, the Harbin Veterinarian Research Institute, a CTV News report with Dr. Abdu Sharkawy (an infectious disease specialist), the American Kennel Club, and the Centres for Disease Control. As of April 21, the CDC said there is no evidence of spread by animals, nor is there any evidence of spread from hair, skin or the fur of animals, and on and on and on.

Political opinions are conspicuously absent because politicians prefer to quote rare and "suggestive" anecdotes that promote fear and offer no hard evidence for their unsubstantiated claims.

Ms. Disero, you also mentioned the simple aspect of common courtesy for those who are uncomfortable if approached by dogs during their walks; well, how much more courtesy could we offer those people than by taking our dogs to a small area in town designated as an unleashed park for dogs?

As you say and I agree, "We don't think it is too much to ask for courtesy, allowing everyone (including our pets) adequate space for their physical activity and mental well-being." 

 We do not impose on our fellow citizens – we keep these pets off the sidewalks!  But this is not just about "a walk in the park."

In the same vein, dogs are often the only source of solace and companionship for the elderly in our community and, now, with no evidence of harm, you inject a wedge of fear, totally unwarranted, between them and their beloved animals. 

We are separated from our children, our grandchildren and now we are told to be wary of our pets – that, I find shameful, devoid of reason. 

And, speaking of reason, I conclude with my opinion concerning the total ban on outdoor activity centres. 

Our provincial government bans us from sports facilities (tennis courts, soccer fields, etc), gardens, even benches.  However, when I consult the medical experts they tell us that we are safer in the great outdoors than we are inside our own homes. 

Just consider the logic – vast expanses of air between us and our nearest companions – but, here, as well, politicians want to confine us to small places in defiance of the logic or, more precisely, in the absence of logic. 

Rather than a surgical, well-thought-out plan, we get a blanket response telling us to comply with nonsensical regulations. 

Well, you may have control of my activity but you've lost my respect. We look for factual advice and find intellectual dishonesty.

The information changes every day, maybe it's time for you to change your proclamations.

Sincerely,

Deanna Haigh 

NOTL 

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