A dog named Excalibur who belonged to an Ebola-infected nurse in Spain was humanely laid to rest today, even as protesters and animal rights activists surrounded the Madrid home of the nurse and her husband.
Excalibur is pictured in this undated image released by an animal rights organization PACMA.
An online petition calling for the dog’s life to be spared had drawn hundreds of thousands of signatures.
The furor came amid questions about whether dogs can get and transmit the disease.
In the United States, a spokesman for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thomas Skinner, said today that studies had shown that dogs can have an immune response to Ebola, meaning that they can become infected. But he said there had been no reports of dogs or cats developing Ebola symptoms or passing the disease to other animals or to people.
The death of Excalibur, a 12-year-old rescue dog, was confirmed to reporters by Javier Rodríguez, an official from Madrid’s regional government, and the body is expected to be cremated.
The nurse’s husband had pleaded publicly with officials in Madrid to change their minds about putting the dog to rest. He told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo that there was no indication that Excalibur had been infected with Ebola. The nurse has been identified as María Teresa Romero Ramos.
The fate of the dog ignited a frenzy online. More than 350,000 people signed the petition to save his life. By comparison, about 150,000 people have signed a petition urging the Food and Drug Administration to fast-track research on a potential vaccine and treatment for Ebola.