Australia Shoots 16 Impounded Dogs to Stop Rescuers From Spreading COVID

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A man walks his dog at Bronte Beach on July 10, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Bourke Shire Council ordered the euthanization of 16 rescue dogs at the local pound in order to prevent staff from a shelter from attending the premises to retrieve them amid the country’s increasingly aggressive approach to COVID-19 measures.
A man walks his dog at Bronte Beach on July 10, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Bourke Shire Council ordered the euthanization of 16 rescue dogs at the local pound in order to prevent staff from a shelter from attending the premises to retrieve them amid the country’s increasingly aggressive approach to COVID-19 measures. (Image: Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

Officials of an animal pound in the state of New South Wales shot several impounded dogs scheduled to be adopted by a rescue society on the orders of a rural municipal council. The council claimed the decision was made in order to prevent volunteers from a rescue society from attending the pound to pick up the animals, using preventing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission as a pretext.

In an August 22 article by The Sydney Morning Herald, Bourke Shire Council, a town 750 kilometers northwest of Sydney, ordered a pound in the town of Cobar to slaughter the animals. A statement from the Council’s Office of Local Government given to The Herald said, “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.”

An OLG spokesperson was paraphrased as saying, “The agency issued advice to all councils about operating pounds during the COVID-19 outbreak, including changing procedures to ensure those services continued while keeping staff and volunteers safe.”

The Council’s administration declined several attempts made by The Herald to provide comment. The shelter that was scheduled to receive the animals, Rural Outback Respite/Rescue, also declined to comment. The shelter’s Facebook page is currently locked as private.

According to an anonymous source familiar with the matter, The Herald said, “The shelter volunteers were distressed and had COVID-safe measures in place to handle the dogs, one of which was a new mother.”

Lisa Ryan, a spokesperson for animal rights group Animal Liberation, was incredulous to the violation of humane practices and animal rights in comments she made to The Herald, “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.”

Emma Hurst, a NSW Member of Parliament representing the Animal Justice Party posted on Facebook that according to her contact, 16 animals were killed at the pound in total, including a mother and her puppies. Hurst said, “Last week my team and I worked desperately to stop Bourke Shire Council killing every homeless and lost dog in their care, only to find out they had been killed already.”

“Council staff say the dogs were killed because they could no longer care for them during the COVID-19 outbreak. It seems to me that no genuine attempt was made to get the dogs into foster care or to rescue groups. I’ve heard there were at least two groups who were open to taking the animals in. These lives could have been saved.”

Hurst also said Council had broken the Companion Animals Act, the text of which states the Council has a duty to consider alternatives to euthanasia and adopt alternatives if they are available.

“I’m sharing this to make it clear there is NO health order for pounds to kill all the animals – please share this so it doesn’t happen again,” said Hurst..

Australia’s troubling pattern

At the beginning of the month, Australia deployed 300 members of its armed forces to Sydney, which is located in NSW, in order to enforce Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s continuing COVID-19 lockdown measures, some of the harshest in the world, which require citizens to remain within five kilometers of their homes and does not permit them to leave the house without a reasonable excuse. 

Berejiklian has shown a propensity for emulating draconian policies of lockdowns, censorship, and restriction of freedoms and protest that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) utilized in Wuhan at the start of the pandemic to allegedly keep the total death toll in a country of 1.3 billion people to under 5,000. Berejiklian has implemented a similar approach and narrative to that of Victoria Premier Dan Andrews, who has kept the people of Melbourne under lockdown for 200 days

Andrews and Berejiklian have something in common in addition to both being Australian Premiers: a connection to the CCP. 

For Berejiklian, she was exposed in 2020 of participating in a five-year long relationship that she kept hidden from even her friends and family members with disgraced Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire, who abused his authority to serve “as a fixer for a network of Chinese-born business figures,” according to reporting by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Berejiklian was found in ABC’s reporting to have been made personally aware of her boyfriend’s conflicts of interest with the communist foreign power, but claimed to have “no recollection” and said she “did not have a clue” during an official 2020 inquiry. 

Premier Dan Andrews is a direct signatory to the CCP’s Belt and Road Initiative, a Communist Party sponsored hegemony and debt trap project that often sees the host country foot the bill and supply the materials for Chinese infrastructure projects installed on foreign soil that are constructed and run by the CCP’s state-run enterprises

In early March, Andrews broke both his back and several ribs after allegedly slipping on a wet staircase in the morning while preparing for work. He spent several months in hospital undergoing physiotherapy before returning to his post. While Andrews was out of commission, Australia’s federal government under Prime Minister Scott Morrison cancelled Andrews’s BRI agreement with Beijing, citing foreign policy concerns.

  • Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.