When Madrid’s government announced its decision to euthanize a dog owned by a Spanish nurse infected with Ebola out of public-health concerns, it probably didn’t expect a massive outcry. But that’s exactly what happened, with animal-rights activists keeping watch over the owners’ house and nearly 200,000 signatures on an online petition for the poor dog.
Excalibur, a 12-year-old rescue with soulful brown eyes, was left at home by the nurse’s husband, Javier Limón, as he checked into a quarantine unit. Before leaving, he left the dog water and 33 pounds of food — enough to last it through any observation period — while spreading pleas to help the dog on social media. “The dog is fine. He has the whole house to himself, with the open terrace so he can do his business,” he told Spanish paper El Mundo. “Are they going to put me to sleep, too?”
The pleas were heard. A Change.org petition to spare the dog received more than 190,000 signatures within a day. The text reads:
It’s not fair that on top of [the nurse becoming] infected with Ebola because of a lack means, they must lose their dog on a whim when it is much easier to isolate it or put it in quarantine like they have done to the victim’s husband. If this woman were to die, the dog which has accompanied them for so many years would be an important emotional support for her husband. This is not “just” a dog, for this couple he is one of the family.
Excalibur was fine and at home as of Tuesday night in Madrid. The hashtag #SalvemosaExcalibur is trending locally on Twitter.