MADRID - A 12-year old rescue dog named Excalibur was put down Wednesday because his owner María Teresa Romero Ramos is infected with Ebola.
Ramos, a Spanish nursing assistant, and husband Javier Limon, have been in isolation since she tested positive for Ebola. She had been caring for a missionary priest who died of the disease, the New York Times reported.
An online petition gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures for Excalibur’s life to be spared not because he had Ebola, in fact, he was not even tested for it.
Protesters and animal rights activists surrounded Ramos’ home, but the dog was taken away by Spanish police.
Anger followed with questions about whether dogs can get and transmit the disease.
Spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thomas Skinner, said Wednesday that studies had shown that dogs can have an immune response to Ebola, meaning that they can become infected, the Times reported.
“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.”
Excalibur was confirmed dead to reporters by Javier Rodríguez, an official from Madrid’s regional government. His body is expected to be cremated.
Social media was swamped in pleas in Spanish and in English to save Excalibur’s life but this turned into tweets using #RIPExcalibur from all over Europe.
Excalibur, the world is with you" (le monde est avec toi). #Excalibur ....— Jean Michel DEIGNA (@jimmous24) October 8, 2014