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It’s Time to Be Nice to Your Pets

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Animal Revolt Update: We have good news and bad news about the year 2000 computer bug. The good news is: You don’t have to worry about the problem anymore. The bad news is: The reason you don’t have to worry is that animals will have taken over the planet by then and enslaved the entire human race.

Here are the latest frightening omens:

* In Florida, alligators are now conducting deadly mind-control experiments on innocent humans. According to the Tampa Tribune, a 77-year-old man was almost eaten alive after “sleepwalking” into a pond full of gators. His wife claims he has a history of sleep strolls, but we’re pretty sure he was responding to telepathic reptile commands that he “come swim in the pond.”

* In November, a possible animal assassination attempt against President Clinton was narrowly avoided when Buddy the dog sank his teeth into the hand of the Marine Corps helicopter pilot who flies Clinton to Camp David. Fortunately, the incident occurred on the ground, probably because Buddy misunderstood a secret animal directive to attack the pilot while Clinton was airborne.

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(By the way, this isn’t the first time a White House pet has tried to foment civil strife. Historian Roy Rowan says Teddy Roosevelt’s bull terrier, Pete, almost created an international incident at the turn of the century by tearing off a French ambassador’s pants at a White House function. And John F. Kennedy’s dog carried on a Cold War romance with a communist pooch that was a “gift” from Nikita Kruschev.)

* In another attempt on the life of a key government official, the mayor of Hollister, Calif., was recently gored by a 300-pound boar during a hunting trip, according to the Wall Street Journal.

* In upstate New York, field mice were blamed for sabotaging emergency radio equipment at a county communications tower, according to the Glens Falls Post-Star. Obviously, this was a dry run for disrupting human communications during the full-scale animal revolt.

* In Arizona, a Tucson cop was seriously injured and another driver was killed when a kamikaze cow deliberately stepped onto a darkened highway to be rammed by two cars. Meanwhile, in Pomona, reader Raymond Pace reports that kamikaze pigeons have begun divebombing cars on Highway 60.

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Another problem is that some humans are unwittingly playing right into the animal conspiracy’s paws. For example, a Purdue University professor is looking for clues to violent human behavior--but he’s doing so by creating a breed of super-vicious chickens.

The killer chicken experiments seem particularly foolhardy in light of a recent Christianity Today article in which fallen televangelist Jim Bakker points out that the last of the Bible’s four horsemen of the apocalypse involves animals killing 25% of the world’s population.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: In case you don’t believe us, no less an authority than the Weekly World News recently ran this story: “Your Pet May Be Plotting Against You!”

Off-Kilter’s e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com. Unpaid Informants: Paul D. Blumstein, Socks the Cat Fan Club, Washington Post, Pamm Higgins, Arizona Daily Star, Wireless Flash News Service. Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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