It took the owner of a newly adopted kitten only days to get so emotionally attached to the animal that they turned it into an accessory. The kitten was brought on errands and gatherings, taken with the owner all over Mercer, Middlesex and Monmouth Counties. The problem? It turns out the kitten had rabies that whole time and the owner didn't know it until after it had licked and scratched many people. Now a full blown and very justifiable rabies scare is in play.

Two students at Branford Hall Career Institute may have been exposed. Scarier yet this owner took the diseased kitten to a Middlesex County hospital but the Health Department refused to name the hospital because the cat was kept in a carrier and they don't want to cause a widespread panic. Sure, the cat was kept in a carrier, but how many people may have reached in through that wire door for a little pet and then touched patients? The rabid animal was also brought to a Thanksgiving gathering in Old Bridge.

The kitten had to be euthanized and the owner is now undergoing rabies treatments. But what about all the people potentially exposed? How is this fair to them that someone who wants to elevate an animal to human status and bring it with them everywhere they go has now put them at risk? Forget rabies for a second. This is just a rare and extreme example of what can happen when you decide to Disneyfy animals and treat them like humans. What about the people who are allergic to cats or dogs? What about the manager of a grocery store or restaurant who is forced to decide between making a scene or violating a health code? Why must so many people be so inseparable from their four legged friends these days?

If you insist on bringing your pet with you the way Paris Hilton would bring her clutch purse you have your priorities completely screwed up. It's a dog. Or a cat. It is not a child.

You are being a selfish jerk to assume it's okay to walk inside any business establishment with your pet as a constant companion. Stop deluding yourself with the notion that "everyone loves your dog." Not everyone does. And not every employee or manager will speak up because of the high number of idiots who lie and pass off their dogs as service animals. Nitwits like you have made businesses afraid of frivolous lawsuits and don't want the confrontation. It doesn't mean they're okay with it.

I've seen dogs walking around airports unleashed, a clear violation of rules. I've seen dogs in malls, bookstores, grocery stores that were no more service animals than I'm a male model. In Lambertville I had some pompous woman's dog wrap itself around my feet with its 15 foot leash in a small hard-to-navigate coffee shop while the owner was completely oblivious. I've seen an unleashed dog in a bar and grill urinate in the middle of the floor five feet from where people were trying to eat and the jackass of an owner insist an employee go clean it up instead of her.

Grow up. It's an animal. Stop pretending its any more than that. Stop making an annoyance of yourself. You are being an irresponsible pet owner by taking your pet places it does not belong. It isn't the animal's fault. It's yours. Perhaps a Tamagotchi would be more your speed.

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