Dogs poisoned in Lebanon because of bogus claims pets can infect humans
Horrific footage of dogs in agony after they were poisoned in a doomed attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus has emerged in Lebanon after a report on Lebanese MTV claimed that cats and dogs could transmit the virus.
In fact, there is no evidence that pets can spread the virus to their owners, but animals have been found abandoned on the streets in the wake of the scare.
Abandoned dogs are already a problem in the country, activists say, with as many as 50,000 of the animals on the streets.
The Saturday night report on MTV has been removed from social media since activists and animal experts dismissed its claims as bogus.
'MTV asked a doctor in Belgium about the cat who caught Covid-19 – not even a vet – who conveyed that pets can carry corona and contaminate people,' said animal rights activist Paola Rebeiz, from Beirut.
'It led to murders and abandonments galore.
'So far it looks just like people are doing this, but we are hearing that municipalities are also rounding up strays to kill them.'
There have been two reports of dogs being infected with coronavirus in Hong Kong, and one cat has been confirmed positive in Belgium.
But health officials say that the pets were infected by humans, and there is no evidence of this happening the other way round.
'We do not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread Covid-19,' says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The government in Lebanon is now trying to calm matters, with health workers driving around an upmarket Beirut neighbourhood with a megaphone declaring that cats and dogs do not spread the virus.
However, it is feared that such measures are not being carried out around the country.