On 28th September, 3 cats in Harbin, China were euthanized after their owner was diagnosed with COVID-19. The incident has sparked huge debate online.
According to the Beijing News, the patient underwent quarantine on 21st September. During that time, the patient left enough food and water to her cats. Community staff also visited her home regularly to take care of the cats. Officials carried out tests at her home 3 times, including sample collection on the 3 cats. The government department did 2 similar tests on the cats previously. Both results were positive.
The local government responded, “Cats are different from humans. We don’t have facilities to treat cats. If the cats are not euthanized, the coronavirus would remain at the home; the patient and her family could never return home then.”
In 2020, Genlin, Founder of the World Dog Alliance (WDA), wrote to the Chinese Government clarifying that there was no evidence of pets spreading Coronavirus to humans. Until now, there is still no such evidence, let alone pets being able to leave Coronavirus in the environment and spread it to humans. Under this circumstance, it was a hasty and indifferent decision to euthanize the 3 cats. It is more worrying that, in the name of quarantine and virus control, stray dogs and cats might get culled by the authorities. Volunteers have called for amendments to the regulations, let’s hope the government would listen to the public opinions and make changes accordingly.