Rescue dogs

Coronavirus Australia: Helpless rescue dogs shot dead in shocking take on Covid safety rules

Vulnerable rescue dogs have been put down by a regional council in a shocking take on Covid rules despite volunteers offering to look after them.

The Bourke Shire Council killed the dogs last week to prevent volunteers from risking infection by traveling from a shelter in Cobar, in central west New South Wales, to pick them up.

The shootings were criticized by animal activists and prompted the intervention of the council’s watchdog, the NSW Office of Local Government.

Vulnerable rescue dogs have been put down by a New South Wales regional council in a shocking take on Covid rules, despite volunteers offering to look after the animals (stock image)

Bourke Shire Council in north-west New South Wales shot the dogs to prevent volunteers based in Cobar from risking infection by traveling to the regional town to pick them up (pictured, a volunteer at the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home in 2018)

Bourke Shire Council in north-west New South Wales shot the dogs to prevent volunteers based in Cobar from risking infection by traveling to the regional town to pick them up (pictured, a volunteer at the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home in 2018)

The OLG said its investigation will determine whether “pet dog or cruelty prevention laws” have been breached, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

“OLG has been advised that the board has decided to take this action to protect its employees and community, including vulnerable Indigenous populations, from the risk of transmission of Covid-19,” it said.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Bourke Shire Council for comment, and the Rural Outback Respite/Rescue, the shelter where the animals were to be transported and cared for by volunteers.

A source familiar with the deal said volunteers at the rescue shelter were distraught and had organized safe practices to care for the animals, one of which was a new mother.

According to NSW Health, there are no active cases in Cobar, but there are nine in Bourke, four of which are mystery cases.

Local Government Office minister Shelley Hancock (middle) has previously said she would be concerned if cats and dogs were put down for euthanasia.

Local Government Office minister Shelley Hancock (middle) has previously said she would be concerned if cats and dogs were put down for euthanasia.

Particles of Covid-19 were detected Friday in the Cobar sewage system at a plant that serves around 4,000 people.

NSW Health said the detections were “particularly concerning” and asked residents to self-monitor for any symptoms of the virus emerging.

Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock, who has already been peppered with questions in Parliament about the shooting of animals at shelters, had no comment.

She said she was unaware of councils shooting dogs for euthanasia when asked during an Estimates hearing in March.

“If it was a practice, I would worry about it – if it was a cat or a dog,” she said.

However, a subsequent response revealed that councils are not required to tell the government how they kill shelter animals.

NSW Health said there are currently no active cases in the outback town of Cobar (pictured), but there are nine in Bourke, four of which are mystery cases

NSW Health said there are currently no active cases in the outback town of Cobar (pictured), but there are nine in Bourke, four of which are mystery cases

Lisa Ryan, regional campaign manager for Animal Liberation, called for an urgent investigation into the shooting.

“We are deeply distressed and utterly appalled by this ruthless dog shooting and totally reject council’s unacceptable justifications that this murder was apparently undertaken as part of a Covid safety plan,” she said.

Greens animal welfare spokeswoman Abigail Boyd echoed Ms Ryan’s sentiments and said more dogs were dying while the government was “twiddling its thumbs”.

Ms Boyd said nothing had been done to protect the lives of vulnerable animals since the parliamentary hearing in March.

“Council books are paid for by local communities, and it’s clear that shooting lost and unclaimed dogs housed in these state-funded facilities falls far short of community expectations,” she said. declared.

NSW residents can continue to adopt animals from pounds, shelters and rescues during the latest Covid-19 outbreak (pictured, a dog seized by the RSPCA in Queensland)

NSW residents can continue to adopt animals from pounds, shelters and rescues during the latest Covid-19 outbreak (pictured, a dog seized by the RSPCA in Queensland)

The OLG said it had offered guidance to council-run pounds during the latest Covid-19 outbreak, including changes to procedures to ensure dogs could continue to be adopted while ensuring the safety of pets. volunteers.

NSW residents can continue to adopt animals from pounds, shelters and shelters, provided the services adhere to authorized worker restrictions.

The Department of Health recommends residents collect the animal from their LGA or within 5km of their home, unless the animal is not reasonably available locally.

The OLG said councils are encouraged to continue working with rehousing organizations and volunteers to care for animals, as long as practices remain in line with advice from NSW Health.

“As a result, potential new owners should always be encouraged to ‘adopt, not buy’, in line with advice from NSW Health,” he said.