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Ebola: Outrage as Spanish authorities plan to euthanise pet dog of infected nurse

A petition to stop it has tens of thousands of signatures already.

HEALTH AUTHORITIES TODAY ordered the death of the dog owned by a Spanish nurse infected with Ebola in Madrid, triggering a campaign to save him by her husband and animal rights activists.

The nurse’s husband, Javier Limon Romero, who has been placed in quarantine, contacted local media to object to the decision by Madrid’s department of health.

“They told me that if I didn’t give authorisation, they would get a judicial order to enter my home by force and sacrifice the dog,” he told El Mundo newspaper.

That court order was issued today, sparking impassioned pleas to save Excalibur, an online campaign under the hashtag “#SalvemosAExcalibur,” and even street protests.

An online petition has already gained tens of thousands of signatures since it was launched earlier today.

The petition labels the plan to euthanise the animal “an unacceptable affront to animal rights” and calls for tests to first be performed to check if he has contracted Ebola.

The authorities said in a statement there was a risk the dog could be “a carrier of the virus even without showing symptoms”, and that he could “expel the virus in his fluids with a potential risk of contagion.”

Romero said Excalibur was isolated at home with a stockpile of food and water and could relieve himself outside.

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Some studies have in the past shown that dogs can contract asymptomatic Ebola (they are infected but don’t suffer symptoms), but this usually results from eating infected animals.

Spanish animal rights group Pacma, however, said there was no evidence of the Ebola virus being transmitted from dogs to humans.

“He should be examined and placed in quarantine, and treated if necessary,” said Javier Moreno, a co-founder of Pacma.

Contains additional reporting by AFP.

Read: WHO says Ebola is “unavoidable” in Europe as three more isolated in Spain>

About the author:

Dan MacGuill

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