Several dogs heading to an animal shelter were instead shot for rescue due to the interpretation of health restrictions linked to COVID-19 by a city council in Australia.
According to information obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald from the Local Government Office (OLG), Bourke Shire Council, in northwest New South Wales, did so in order to prevent volunteers from the Cobar shelter from getting to go there to retrieve the animals.
A spokesperson for the government agency said: “OLG has been informed that the Board of Directors has made this decision in order to protect its employees and the community, including vulnerable Indigenous people, from the risk of transmission of COVID-19.”
The latter also noted that audits surrounding the events are underway to determine whether any laws regarding pets and animal cruelty have been violated.
The board did not respond to interview requests from the Herald and members of the Rural Outback Residency/Rescue – the shelter where the dogs were to be cared for – declined to comment.
However, a source familiar with the matter noted that the volunteers at the shelter are in shock and have a COVID-19-related safety protocol in place to receive the animals and continue their operations.
According to Public Health NSW, no community infections have recently been identified in Kobar, although traces of the virus have been found in sewers.
An OLG spokesperson also said the agency has made recommendations to all councils on operating shelters during the pandemic, including changing procedures to ensure continuity of services while ensuring the safety of staff and volunteers, according to a “Herald” report.
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