One Journalist’s Journey Into Delusion

This is what a dog-hater looks like

I have never heard of Jake Wallis Simmons. According to the tagline appended to ‘The Telegraph’ article Mr Simmons has written, he is a published author. Still whatever books he has published, maybe he should stick to book writing and leave journalism research to someone else:

I was on the beach in Devon, watching my children play in the sand. The weather was glorious, and the scene was picture postcard perfect. Then a dog bounded across the beach, squatted to urinate and defecate, and bounded off again. The owner, to her credit, picked up the poo, but did nothing about the patch of urine; before I could react, my three-year-old son had run through it, barefoot.”

What precisely could the dog owner do about the dog’s urine? Suck it up with a straw? Maybe Mr Simmons should have better verbal control over his kids.

“My son had mainly come into contact with dog urine rather than faeces. Most people would simply shrug, give him a wash, and move on. Which, ultimately, is what we did; though there is a slight chance that contact with dog urine can lead to infection with Leptospirosis, one of the commonest diseases transmitted from animals to humans.”

Actually Leptospirosis is transmitted by inhaling the vapours of the infected urine, not skin contact. So Mr Simmons’ son should be quite safe.

“There are at least 50 to 100 confirmed instances of toxocarosis in Britain each year, usually in children aged between one and four, who tend to play in contaminated soil and put it in their mouths. Thankfully, due to modern medication, equipment to support people who struggle to breathe, and an operation in which the eye is kept open with a special contact lens so that a laser can burn to death the parasites lodged there, fatalities and blindings are rare. But it is not, shall we say, very nice.

The irony is that toxocarosis is totally avoidable. If every owner administered worm medication to their dogs on a regular basis and cleared up after them conscientiously, the disease would be virtually eradicated.”

That’s nonsense. What about millions of wild and stray animals, including dogs, foxes and sheep, which also carry the infection. By the way the most common way to get Toxocarosis is eating uncooked meat.

I could keep going with this article but I think you get the point. As much harm as dangerous dogs can cause, sometimes I think dangerous reporters can cause more.

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About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim Chelom is a Registered Veterinarian, a writer and an educator

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