A local government in Australia shot and killed rescue dogs because they feared that COVID-19 would spread if people traveled to the shelter to pick them up. The killing of the animals has ignited outrage, and many commenters believe Australia is suffering from coronavirus "hysteria."
The governing body in the Orana region of New South Wales declared that several rescued dogs at a shelter were a health hazard, so the council had the animals shot to death.
The Bourke Shire Council "killed the dogs to prevent volunteers at a Cobar-based animal shelter from traveling to pick up the animals last week, according to the council's watchdog," the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
A spokesperson for the Office of Local Government, which holds the local government sector in Australia accountable for its actions, said, "OLG has been informed that 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."
"Councils are also encouraged to continue to work with re-homing organizations and volunteers to care for animals, where that can be undertaken consistent with NSW Health advice," the spokesman said.
A source familiar with the animal shelter said the establishment had safe COVID-19 measures in place to handle the dogs during the pandemic.
Lisa Ryan, the coordinator of regional campaigns for the Animal Liberation human rights organization, demanded an investigation, "We are deeply distressed and completely appalled by this callous dog shooting and we totally reject council's unacceptable justifications that this killing was apparently undertaken as part of a COVID- safe plan."
The Sydney Morning Herald contacted the Bourke Shire Council for comment, but reportedly received no response.
The story from Australia quickly spread on social media, sparking outrage and shock.
- Independent journalist Glenn Greenwald: "Australia is absolutely consumed by deranged COVID insanity. Now they're shooting and killing rescued dogs to prevent shelter volunteers from leaving their homes to go pick them up and care for them. Many Australians seem grateful to be locked down."
- Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York: "Australia seems to have gone completely insane over Covid."
- British broadcaster Piers Morgan: "Sorry, WHAT????!!!"
- The Heritage Foundation social media manager Lyndsey Fifield: "It would be horrific enough if they'd euthanized them by injection but they SHOT DOGS ARE YOU KIDDING ME."
- British journalist Neil Clark: "What a terrible place Australia is at the moment. A police-state 'public health' dictatorship."
- PJ Media writer Stacey Lennox: "This is just deranged. Australia is at peak mass hysteria and their leaders are fully demented at this point."
- British journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy: "The extent to which Australia has turned a COVID advantage into massive, bizarre and tragic mess is astonishing : Rescue dogs shot dead by NSW council due to COVID-19 restrictions."
- We Are Change writer Luke Rudkowski: "Evil knows no bounds when government and police officers get to do whatever they want!"
- Foundation for Economic Education content manager Hannah Cox: "Australia had lost its ever-loving mind."
- Journalist Ian Miles Cheong: "Between shooting rescue dogs dead, slamming peacefully protesting elderly women onto the curb, firing into crowds with rubber bullets and tear gas, and putting out arrest warrants for people with COVID who go outside, Australia has absolutely lost the plot. Dystopian hell state."
There were massive protests against COVID-19 lockdowns in several cities across Australia on Saturday. In Melbourne, the protests became violent at times as anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police. Over 200 were arrested, huge fines were levied, and six police officers were hospitalized during the demonstrations.