Since March, the Ebola outbreak has killed more than 3,000 people in West Africa and one in the United States, but there’s one death related to the deadly virus that has sparked so much outrage — that of a dog.
A Spanish Ebola victim’s pet dog was put down on Wednesday as health authorities feared it could transmit the disease, prompting a huge outcry among animal lovers who chanted “murderers” outside the woman’s home, MailOnline reports.
The dog’s owner is Maria Teresa Romero Ramos, who became the first person to contract the virus outside of Africa.
A nurse, Ramos got infected while caring for an Ebola-sticken missionary who died on Sept. 25. She was admitted to hospital on Monday. She, her husband Javier Limon and three other people have been quarantined.
But much of the public attention was focused on her 12-year-old, mixed-breed dog named Excalibur after health authorities said it should be euthanized to stop the spread of the disease. Scientists are not certain whether the virus can be transferred from dogs to humans.
Pet lovers started an online petition on change.org asking the authorities to spare Excalibur’s life. The Telegraph said more than 350,000 people had signed it by Wednesday afternoon.
A Facebook page was also set up to campaign on the dog’s behalf, garnering more than 86,000 “likes”. Twitter was awash with photographs of dogs and other pets with the hashtag #SalvemosAExcalibur, Spanish for “Let’s save Excalibur”.
Meanwhile, protesters camped outside Ramos’s residence in Alcorcon, a suburb of Madrid, in a bid to save the dog’s life.
A scuffle ensued as police dragged away the rallyists who were blocking the gates of the apartment building.
Excalibur remained inside, unaware of what all the commotion was about, feasting on some 30 pounds of food and plenty of water that Limon left before going to the hospital. It was the dog’s last meal.
On Wednesday afternoon, authorities entered the building to clean the flat and remove the dog.
A government official confirmed that Excalibur had been destroyed. “Unfortunately, we had no other choice,” he said.
The animal was put to sleep inside Ramos’s flat, and then taken away in a white van to a nearby incinerator.
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