August 24, 2021

Are we still actually shooting dogs in 2021?

Are we still actually shooting dogs in 2021?
Dr. Chris Brown

The needless shooting of 15 dogs (including 10 puppies) over Covid transmission fears has everyone asking, where’s our compassion gone? But it’s also shone a much needed light on a practice that’s completely unfathomable but completely real in 2021.

Are councils actually shooting dogs we don’t ‘need’? Surely there’s a place for these faces…

Today, the global media is in disbelief that 15 dogs were shot in western NSW simply because of concerns that shelter volunteers from nearby Cobar might travel to Bourke to pick up the dogs and potentially contract or transmit Covid to their community. It’s shocking, needless and barbaric. These were former outback camp dogs who (almost uniformly) could and should be rehomed. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with these beautiful, often gentle mixed breed dogs who simply need some love and direction in their lives for them to become genuinely doting furry family members.

Understandably, the Office of Local Government is scrambling to explain their protocol. I mean, surely the dogs could have remained in Bourke in foster care until the time was right to transfer them to the Cobar shelter. But this also highlights a potentially more concerning element here. In 2021, are Australian councils really shooting dogs to ‘put them to sleep’?

It seems likely. In fact, the Office of Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock, has previously faced questions in Parliament over the shooting of animals in council pounds. That’s right, this wasn’t just a Covid fear based issue this last week. It’s been going on prior to this. Just process that. Animals at their most vulnerable and insecure. Euthanased by shooting them. While those dogs that can't be rehomed because they're incurably ill or aggressive deserve a dignified end with a needle. The treatment of animals says a lot about a society after all...

We’re surely at a stage where all shelters should be no-kill. Covid has shown the huge demand and appreciation for dogs as a way of easing loneliness and reminding us of the unconditional love we need in our lives. In fact, so many friends, family and clients at the vet clinic can’t even find a dog to adopt and love right now. Given dogs (and cats) don’t transmit Covid-19, surely in the future we can look at a Covid safe way to transport these homeless dogs to those cities and towns where hearts are waiting to be filled with the love these little faces can provide. Rather than just throwing them on the scrapheap and treating them like an inconvenient commodity.

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