The publication shares that the dogs were meant to be rescued by a shelter, but a local council’s, Bourke Shire Council in New South Wales, interpretation of COVID restrictions led to them being shot. Following Australia’s newly imposed guidelines, the council reportedly did not want volunteers to leave their homes.
“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,” a spokesman from the Office of Local Government said.
The agency is now looking to see if companion animal or animal cruelty prevention laws were violated, the report states, as members of the council and Rural Outback Respite/Rescue—the shelter that was supposed to receive the animals—did not respond to the publication. Sources reportedly familiar with the shelter’s protocol told the Herald the COVID measures were already in place to handle the dogs. One of the dogs was reportedly a new mother.
“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,” said Lisa Ryan, Animal Liberation’s regional campaign manager, who called for an investigation.