Tran Tan Cong, chairman of Tran Van Thoi District People’s Committee, on Sunday confirmed authorities of Khanh Hung Commune had on Friday received 15 dogs and one cat, owned by a family who traveled from Long An to Ca Mau.
They were all taken to a quarantine zone inside Khanh Hung High School. Cong said the dogs and cat were roaming free inside the facility, which was met with “reactions” from those in isolation.
Several members of the family of 49-year-old Pham Minh Hung later tested positive for the coronavirus during quick screening. While awaiting their results, the dogs and cat broke free of their leashes and once again roamed around the premise. They were later recaptured by their owners, caught inside bags and cages and put outside of the family’s quarantine room.
Cong said people once again reacted to the fact that animals were being kept inside the quarantine facility Friday morning, so authorities told the family the pets would be culled if there’s no measure to “ensure hygiene.” Cong said the family did not respond.
“Those who fight the coronavirus have to worry about several things at once: preparing accommodation, and caring for those returning to their hometowns. All that and the fact the owners of the dogs and cat tested positive, and people outside were worried about Covid-19 infection risks,…” Cong explained, saying all the aforementioned reasons resulted in the decision to cull the animals.
Since earlier this month, many people have been returning to the district, complicating its capacity to receive them properly, Cong said. The fact that so many returned was “unpredictable,” causing difficulties to “organize and screen them,” he added.
“As such, efforts to prevent Covid-19 are placed first and foremost,” he stressed, providing that as the reason behind the culling.
However, Cong admitted authorities might have been “too hasty” and any shortcomings would be corrected in future.
Hung was working as a bricklayer in Long An Province that borders HCMC. Over the last few months, the pandemic has stripped him of his livelihood, making life difficult. On Oct. 8, he drove his wife and the dogs on his motorbike, following his wife’s sister-in-law and her family to their hometown in Khanh Hung Commune.
When his family members were found to be infected with the coronavirus, all 15 dogs and cat they brought with them were culled.
According to the U.S. CDC, the coronavirus can spread from humans to certain animals, including dogs and cats. It adds that the risk of Covid-19 being spread from animals to humans is low, while there has been no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the coronavirus to people.