98 Indiana Law Journal 1 (2022)
A new scientific study shows that COVID-19 can be transmitted from cats to humans. Luckily, this channel of transmission seems extremely rare, at least thus far. But next time—and there will be a next time—we may not be so fortunate. This Article addresses this underappreciated risk of what I term a “petdemic”—a pandemic or epidemic that involves significant disease transmission between pets and humans. With nearly 70% of U.S. households owning pets, a petdemic could be catastrophic. One of our go-to responses for even perceived petdemics, honed over the last century, is to slaughter our pets. This pioneering Article proposes a way to break that cycle. Would existing legal restrictions curb the excess reactions of individuals and governments? Unfortunately, they would not. In the immediate aftermath of COVID-19, we have a chance to prepare for this problem. We must seize this opportunity to craft proactive legal and other policy solutions that emphasize creating options for pet owners to retain their animals, as well as removing knowledge gaps likely to characterize a novel infectious disease and potential bottlenecks exacerbated by legal restrictions or infrastructure shortfalls. The survival of our animals and our very humanity may depend on these endeavors.
"The Next Pandemic Might be a Petdemic,"
Indiana Law Journal: Vol. 98:
1, Article 1.
Available at: https://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/ilj/vol98/iss1/1