COVID-19: Rescue dogs shot dead in Australia over coronavirus restrictions

A council in Australia killed the impounded animals to prevent volunteers at an animal shelter from travelling to pick them up and potentially spreading the virus.

Fifteen rescue dogs, including 10 puppies, have been shot dead by a rural Australian council under its interpretation of coronavirus restrictions.

Bourke Shire Council in New South Wales destroyed the canines, which had been at its pound, to prevent volunteers at an animal shelter from travelling to pick them up and potentially spreading the virus.

“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 Office of Local Government, a government watchdog, told The Sydney Morning Herald.

The spokesman said officials were investigating whether any animal cruelty laws had been broken.

Five of the dogs had been housed at the pound since early August and one of the dogs then had 10 pups.

The council said staff became concerned for the welfare of the animals due to overcrowding at the pound and two of the dogs attacking one of the others.

A source said the shelter volunteers were distressed and already had COVID-safe measures in place to handle the dogs.

And comedian Ricky Gervais has expressed his disapproval of the killings on social media.

Bourke Shire Council told ABC News the dogs were euthanised because the rescue organisation was from another local government area and they had concerns about people from other communities entering Bourke.

All of regional New South Wales has “stay-at-home” orders in place due to COVID-19.

The council said it had contacted its usual dog rehomer, who is based in the same area, but they were unable to come to Bourke.

The shelter that was supposed to receive the dogs declined to comment.

Animal Liberation regional campaign manager Lisa Ryan has called for an urgent investigation.

“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,” she said.

Australia has recently seen a surge in COVID-19 cases, forcing the country’s largest city, Sydney, to extend its lockdown through September and impose tougher restrictions, such as a curfew and a mask mandate outdoors.

Staff are allowed to work at animal shelters even when lockdown measures are in place, according to the Office of Local Government spokesman.

“Councils are also encouraged to continue to work with re-homing organisations and volunteers to care for animals, where that can be undertaken consistent with NSW Health advice,” he added.

A pregnant mother dog, left at our doorstep when she was 9 weeks pregnant, has just welcomed 14 incredibly adorable puppies into the world!

In a heartwarming turn of events, the Instituto Amor em Patas (IAPA) recently encountered a pregnant mother dog who had been abandoned at their gate. Natajuli, as she came to be known, was nine weeks pregnant and in dire need of help. When the compassionate volunteers at IAPA found her, she was weak, unable to stand, and consumed by fear. Her vulnerable condition tugged at the hearts of those who came to her aid, and they embarked on a journey of care, support, and new beginnings.

Natajuli’s previous owner had left her at the gate, driven by fear of her impending motherhood. Initially, Natajuli’s fear manifested in her protective behavior, as she guarded herself and her unborn puppies from the unfamiliar faces of the volunteers. However, with time and patience, she began to open up and trust those who extended a helping hand.

One volunteer recounted the moment they first encountered Natajuli, sharing, “Look at her belly – it may contain 13 or 14 precious lives. We are planning to schedule her tests for tomorrow as she is quite weak.” The concern for Natajuli’s well-being was palpable, and the volunteers rallied to provide her with the care she needed.

The anticipation grew as the volunteers prepared for Natajuli’s ultrasound to ensure a safe delivery. Despite her weak state, Natajuli returned to the shelter under their watchful eyes. The momentous occasion finally arrived – Natajuli successfully gave birth to her first baby, a lively young boy.

The heartwarming surprise was unveiled as Natajuli continued to give birth – not to a few, but an astonishing 14 adorable puppies. The sight of Natajuli and her 14 babies evoked a mix of emotions in the volunteers, ranging from overwhelming joy to the sense of responsibility that lay ahead.

A trip to the vet followed, where Natajuli and her 14 little ones underwent check-ups, ultrasounds, and blood tests. Their health was a top priority, and the relief was evident when Natajuli emerged red-faced but strong. The puppies were no exception, each plump and healthy, a testament to the care and dedication poured into their well-being.

One volunteer shared their sentiment, saying, “I was nearly brought to tears when I saw Natajuli’s smile, and her puppies are just too adorable – I can’t help but want to shower them with affection.”

As this heartwarming journey unfolds, the volunteers find themselves faced with the delightful challenge of naming the 14 tiny wonders. An invitation is extended to all who share in their story to suggest names that hold meaning and resonance. These names will become a part of the tale of resilience, hope, and unwavering compassion that defines Natajuli’s journey and the lives she brought into the world.

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