The Bourke Shire Council killed the dogs to prevent volunteers from traveling to pick up the animals, in line with their interpretation of COVID-19 restrictions, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Office of Local Government is investigating the dogs’ executions and said it's evaluating to see whether any animal cruelty laws were broken.
“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 government agency said.
COVID-19 has been relatively dormant in Cobar, the city where the pound resides, according to NSW Health.
“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 animal liberation campaigner Lisa Ryan.
The Office of Local Government previously issued advice to all councils about how to operate pounds safely and effectively during the pandemic.
The Australian population is largely vulnerable to COVID-19 because of its low vaccination rates. Australia benefited from introducing lockdowns early in the pandemic, and state governments have continued to use short ones to contain occasional outbreaks of the virus.
The country registered nearly 4,000 COVID-19 cases in July, however, driven by the more infectious delta variant. In the six months prior, cases only totaled 2,000, according to data from Australia’s Department of Health.
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Original Author: Mike Brest