Teresa Romero Ramos, a nursing assistant in Madrid, became infected with Ebola after treating a patient there. As she fights for her life, she and her husband, Javier Limon Romero, who are both in quarantine, have also been fighting for the life of their dog, Excalibur.
Authorities from Madrid’s regional government stated today that “available scientific knowledge indicates there’s a risk the dog could transmit the deadly virus to humans,” according to the Associated Press (AP).
What scientific knowledge? Michael San Filippo of the American Veterinary Medical Association told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last month that while dogs have tested positive for Ebola, they have shown no symptoms, and there are no documented cases of dogs infecting people with the virus.
A 2005 study published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal confirms this.
On the Facebook page for animal-welfare group Villa Pepa Protective Association, Romero had requested their help in saving his dog’s life.
“I want to publicly denounce a man named Zarco, whom I believe is the chief health officer of the Community of Madrid, [who] told me that they have to sacrifice my dog just like that, with no explanation,” Romero wrote, as translated by Mashable.com. “He asked for my consent, which I denied strongly. He said that they will ask for a court order to enter in my house and sacrifice the dog.”
And that’s just what has happened today. The government “had to get a court order for the euthanization over the family’s objections,” the AP reports.
A lot of animal lovers want to know why Excalibur couldn’t be quarantined instead of killed.
“It would be much easier to isolate or quarantine the dog just as they have the victim’s husband,” wrote Carmen Sanchez Montañes of Sevilla, Spain, who created a Change.org petition that had more than 71,000 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon.
“If this woman were to die, the dog which has accompanied them for so many years would be an important emotional support for her husband. This is not ‘just’ a dog; for this couple, he is one of the family.”
Ramos was the first person outside of West Africa to become infected with Ebola, which has claimed the lives of more than 370 health workers in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
“If they are so worried with this issue, I think we can find another type of alternative solutions, such as quarantining the dog and put him under observation like they did with me,” Romero wrote on Facebook.
“Or should they sacrifice me as well just in case? But of course, with a dog it’s easier, it doesn’t matter as much.”
According to the AP, authorities stated that Excalibur will be “euthanized in a way to avoid suffering and using bio-security measures that it did not specify. Its body will later be incinerated.”
Photos via Facebook