Ebola is a type of hemorrhagic fever.  It’s not supposed to cause uninfected politicians to lose their minds and yet dot dot dot

Politics inevitably inserts itself into anything insertable and ebola hysteria is no exception.  Here in SC, one of our own pols is calling for the immediate execution of patients infected with ebola.  Not because science tells us this is indicated, but because – well, I’m not 100% clear on the reasoning there.

Last night, news from Spain emerged that the country’s sole patient infected with ebola – a nurse who is receiving treatment at a hospital and whose husband has been quarantined for observation – owns a dog named Excalibur.  And authorities want to kill Excalibur because he lived with someone who tested positive for the virus.

The NY Times reports:

The husband has also led calls for the Madrid health authorities not to euthanize the couple’s dog, Excalibur, who was left at their home. The authorities said in a statement on Tuesday that they had ordered that the dog be put down as a precautionary measure, but there has been no confirmation that the order was carried out. A social media campaign has sprung up to spare Excalibur until it can be proved he has Ebola. One of the top hashtags on Twitter worldwide on Wednesday morning was #SalvemosaExcalibur.

Excalibur, as pictured on Facebook.

As far as I know, there is no available science on the subject of whether a dog who has lived with a person infected with ebola can cause anyone else to get sick with the virus.  Given that, there appears to be no scientific basis for killing Excalibur “as a precautionary measure”.  In fact the opposite is true:  Quarantining and testing Excalibur’s blood and saliva could help to answer a question where scientists currently have penciled in a question mark – Can dogs spread ebola to humans?

Quarantining dogs is commonplace and relatively easy to do in developed countries such as Spain.  The quarantine would serve as the precautionary measure authorities say they desire.  The subsequent testing would provide vital information for health care professionals and authorities concerned with managing ebola outbreaks.

All of this is in addition to the fact that Excalibur is a sentient being with a right to live.  Full stop.

In addition to the Twitter campaign to save Excalibur, an online petition has garnered 300,000 signatures in 24 hours and dozens of protesters have gathered outside Excalibur’s home, in an effort to protect his right to live.

The message is clear:  Even in the face of ebola hysteria, the so-called irresponsible public, whom shelter directors blame for the systematic killing they do, does not want pets needlessly killed.  The public believes that dogs have a right to live and considers them family.  And they will make their voices heard.  Shelter directors killing pets for convenience and blaming the public for your failure to do your jobs, take heed.  Politicians providing cover for the killing, ditto.  Your power to act in defiance of the will of the people is diminishing every day.

21 thoughts on “#SalvemosaExcalibur

  1. I just read on CNN website “the spokesman for Madrid’s regional health authorities told CNN that “despite the protests, the dog will be put down today.”
    This so sucks!

  2. Social media can be good as much as it can create a mass hysteria. There are actually very little information available about how the ebola virus is effecting animals or how it can spread from a animal to a human. One method is that a human actually has to eat the animal that is carrying the virus. Between humans the ebola virus, like many other viruses, is spreading through body fluids which actually can be prevented pretty easy.
    In theory, humans can contract worms from dogs by eating dog poop from a dog that is infected with worms. How often does it actually happen that humans contract worms from a dog or a cat?
    Unfortunately, the story about Excalibur just is the beginning of the mass hysteria. Let’s hope that people with a clear mind are being heard and followed.

  3. I find it very scary and sad that the government was granted a court order to kill Excalibur. In the photos I have seen, he seems to be a well loved family member. What a comfort he would be to the nurse and her husband as they face an uncertain future with this virus, I am sad for the family and for the dog.

  4. If Spanish authorities execute that beloved pet, it is beyond sad. Everyday I sign petitions imploring misguided public officials not to do something reprehensible or conversely to simply “do the right thing.” It has become very disheartening.

  5. As I recall in the 70s and 80s dogs were looked at as a natural reservoir for both Ebola and Marburg but were ruled out. Panic is driving this more than anything. It’s not like this is the first time a hemorrhagic filovirus has reached the western world. They didn’t just pull the name Marburg out of a hat and Marburg sure as hell ain’t in Africa! We didn’t all die in the 60s and 70s when it showed up in major European cities and we wont all die this time either. Both diseases have about the same morbidity rate and both are burning their way across Africa now. Maybe if we had heeded the warnings virologists have been putting out for the last 50 years and established a plan to deal with these things we wouldn’t have our collective panties in a wad now.

  6. If the dog is killed, we will not know whether dogs can spread the virus. What a stupid decision, but not unexpected.

    1. We also don’t know if this dog interacted with other dogs. No one would tell if their dog was around him because it would be a death sentence for their pet also. It’s sickening how many people are involved in one case! The fact that the measures taken at the hospital regarding procedure is completely overlooked! People are spreading Ebola….not a dog. I pray for that dog and his people.

    1. TY for the update. I’m very sorry for the needless death of this dog and for the grief his owners will suffer. But I am proud of everyone who stood up and tried to protect this dog’s right to live. It gives me hope.

      1. I agree. It’s heartening that there were protests at the nurse’s home, and that Excalibur’s life was important to people around the world. Officials and experts are supposed to be the smartest people in the room, but they couldn’t see what ordinary people could see instantly: that there was no scientific reason to kill the dog, and that it was immoral to do so.

        (For more on the science, see the NYT story below.)

    1. And now pet owners will hesitate to report ebola type symptoms for fear of their family members being taken away and killed by idiots. Great “precaution” they got going there.

      1. Brilliant. Anyone with so much as a cat they love will go into hiding, now, even if they think they’ve got this disease.

        Why couldn’t they quarantine the dog with the husband?


    2. FYI, The Times is accepting comments on their story. (You have to register to comment.) The Times moderates their comment threads — thus I always see a comment thread as an opportunity to bring information to the editorial staff. You never know what can happen . . . on one occasion, I commented online regarding an animal story, and they published my comment in the print edition. Our opinions matter, and we should voice them.

  7. Sad to see in the news this morning that the nurse’s condition has worsened. Pets are family. They provide some gravely ill patients with a reason to live. It’s little wonder that this poor woman’s condition has deteriorated after they needlessly killed her beloved dog.

  8. Ben Williamson, a spokesperson for PETA, said: “PETA is sad to hear that a dearly loved dog was destroyed because of the Ebola scare, even though no one can point to any evidence that dogs can transmit Ebola and efforts could have been made to quarantine him.

    “The last thing that this nurse needs is to learn that a family member has been lost, even if, as we all hope, her own life is saved. We appeal for common sense and mercy to prevail if such a case arises in the future.”


  9. Unfortunately we are all on unknown ground and most of the stuff being spewed from the CDC is at most a best guess estimate – to keep people calm. I am very sorry for the countries where this awful Disease is – however those wishing to have free travel to/from should be forced into mandatory quarantine before entry into any other country.
    Their decision should not force me to have to protect my loved ones-2 footed or 4 from insane lack of judgement from the politics of the situation.
    I will bet the sweet spaniel just taken will be killed quietly.

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