Being cautious can be a good thing, but if that caution involves taking innocent lives, then something isn’t right. A council in Australia is currently receiving backlash because they killed 15 rescue dogs in response to COVID restrictions. Yet, their reasons for doing so are flawed and unclear.
Social media is outraged over this decision, and it’s making many animal lovers question the council’s motives. Animal welfare organizations are fighting back, hoping to launch an investigation on the matter. After all, these dogs died for reasons that weren’t their fault. As usual, humans are to blame instead.
Why Did These Dogs Die?
Bourke Shire Council in New South Wales is responsible for the death of the dogs. Five were at a local shelter since early August. Then, one of them gave birth to 10 puppies. The council shot and killed the dogs, including the puppies. They claimed it would help stop the spread of COVID by preventing people from traveling far to adopt them.
The council also claims that the staff was concerned about the dogs due to a lack of space at the facility. Two of the canines also supposedly attacked other dogs. However, different sources say that the shelter already had strict COVID protocols in place, so they were distressed over the death of the rescue dogs.
“We are deeply distressed and completely appalled by this callous dog shooting and we totally reject [the] council’s unacceptable justifications that this killing was apparently undertaken as part of a COVID-safe plan,” said Animal Liberation regional campaign manager Lisa Ryan.
Australia has seen a recent surge in COVID cases, which is why restrictions are in place. Yet, the staff is still allowed to work at animal shelters during the lockdown. So, an investigation is going on to determine if any animal cruelty laws were broken in this scenario.
Fighting for What’s Right
The council reportedly reached out to their usual contact for re-homing dogs. Yet, that organization was unable to come to Bourke at the time. So, the council shot the dogs over concerns that people from other communities would enter Bourke and spread the virus by seeing these adoptable dogs.
Many outraged social media users spoke up about this decision, including comedian Ricky Gervais. Even if this event did protect humans from COVID, there’s no way it was their only option. Those dogs didn’t deserve to die.
“Shooting them not because dogs spread CV, but because people were willing to pick them up and give them forever homes, and that was deemed a threat. Fact is, there were people just itching to shoot dogs. Sickening,” wrote one Twitter user.
An Office of Local Government spokesman explained that councils are encouraged to work with volunteers and re-homing organizations to help rescue animals during the pandemic. With the shelter staff and volunteers already following safety protocols, the adoptable dogs were no threat. Animal lovers worldwide are heartbroken by this event, and they hope it won’t happen again.