Lebanon's pets are being killed over inaccurate coronavirus claims

Pets in Lebanon are being killed or abandoned over inaccurate claims they can transmit coronavirus
2 min read
02 April, 2020
Lebanon is experiencing an uptick in poisoned dogs and pet abandonment after the propagation of false claims that animals can transmit the coronavirus.
Social media users shared videos of dogs convulsing in pain after eating poisoned meat [Twitter]
Warning: Some viewers may find the following scenes distressing.

Pets in Lebanon have been poisoned and abandoned over worries that animal can transmit the novel coronavirus, claims the World Health Organisation (WHO) says there is no evidence of.

Social media users reported unknown assailants leaving poisoned meat on streets and properties across Lebanon for animals to consume. 

Lebanese media outlet MTV allegedly claimed that pets can carry and transmit coronavirus to people, a statement it later retracted following an online backlash.

The claim was based on reports that a cat Belgium was infected with COVID-19 by its owner.

Heartbreaking videos of dogs foaming at the mouth and convulsing in pain after eating tainted meat soon surfaced online.
Lebanese animal welfare groups also reported an uptick in dogs and cats being abandoned by owners amid the rumours that animals can transmit coronavirus.

The WHO's Lebanon branch shared a video from the Lebanese Red Cross urging animal owners not to abandon their pets, stressing there is no evidence that animals can transmit coronavirus.
In an effort to dispel the baseless beliefs, a Lebanese social media campaign stating animals "only transmit love" was launched last month.
Lebanon has reported 494 confirmed infections and 16 deaths from COVID-19.

Strict confinement guidelines have been issued by the Lebanese government, including a 7 PM to 5 AM curfew that is followed with varying thoroughness depending on the city and neighbourhood.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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