A rural council in New South Wales, Australia has shot dead dogs waiting to be rescued by a shelter in order to prevent volunteers from traveling during Covid-19 restrictions, the Sunday Morning Herald has reported. According to the Office of Local Government, the Bourke Shire Council killed the dogs to prevent volunteers from a Cobar-based animal shelter from traveling last week.
“OLG has been informed that the council decided to take this course of action to protect its employees and community, including vulnerable Aboriginal populations, from the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” the watchdog’s spokesperson said.
One of the dogs was a new mother and as per the report, the animal shelter had necessary precautions in place to transport the dogs safely. Moreover, Cobar has not seen any recent case of local transmission of Covid-19.
Animal rights campaigners have demanded an immediate investigation into the matter. Lisa Ryan, Animal Liberation’s regional campaign manager, said, “We are deeply distressed and completely appalled by this callous dog shooting and we totally reject council’s unacceptable justifications that this killing was apparently undertaken as part of a COVID- safe plan.”
She stated, “Council pounds are paid for by local communities, and it is clear that shooting lost and unclaimed dogs housed in these publicly-funded facilities falls far short of community expectations.”
A government probe has been launched into the matter. Meanwhile, massive protests have broken out in Australia over the imposition of lockdown by the government. The Police on Saturday employed harsh measures, including the use of rubber bullets and tear gas, to disperse crowds. Hundreds of protesters were detained and seven officers were hospitalised as a result of clashes.