A worldwide effort is being mounted to save Excalibur, the dog who may have been infected with the deadly Ebola virus after its owner was put into quarantine after contracting the illness.
Spanish health authorities are threatening to euthanize Excalibur, the dog belonging to a nurse from Madrid who was infected after treating two missionaries in hospital who have since died from the illness.
Excalibur, who appears to be a mixed breed of some kind and very very cute and loving, should be placed in quarantine instead, some believe.
Javier Limón Romero is in quarantine after his wife Teresa Romero Ramos, the nurse, was infected. Both are in isolation wards at Carlos III Hospital in Madrid.
In a letter to animal rescue organizations distributed on social media, Limón Romero said health officials wanted his approval to put down the couple’s dog Excálibur.
I said no. And they told me that they would ask for a court order to enter my house and put him down,” Romero said in the note.
The dog is currently at home alone, he said, but noted that before going to the hospital he set out several buckets of water, filled the bathtub with water and left out 15kg of feed. The terrace was also left open so that he could do his business.
Limón Romero dismissed the authorities’ worries that the dog may be carrying the Ebola virus, arguing that Excálibur would not infect anyone.
If it bothers them so much then they should find other alternative solutions, such as putting the dog in quarantine and observation, as they have done with me….But of course a dog is easier, it doesn’t matter as much.”
A petition has been started at Change.org urging Spanish health authorities to find another solution rather than put down Excalibur, noting that Eric Leroy, CEO of the International Center for Medical Research in Franceville, Gabon said in an interview that killing the dog is not necessary.
The petition notes that neither the Spanish Ministry of Health and the Community of Madrid have consulted the foremost expert on the role of dogs in the Ebola virus before deciding on the sacrifice of the dog.
Protesters have rallied online and at government offices as well. The hashtag#SalvemosAExcalibur is trending worldwide with dog owners posting pictures of their canines urging Excalibur’s life be saved.
We’ll keep you informed on any updates.