Excalibur Euthanized: Dog of Ebola Patient Killed in Spain Despite Outcry

German Shepherd in K-9 unit
Fox, a German shepherd dog specialized in explosives detection, is presented to the media in the Constitution Square in front of Romania's Parliament Palace in Bucharest March 21, 2008. |

Excalibur was euthanized Wednesday despite the outcry from protestors and animal rights advocates in Madrid, Spain. Excalibur was the pet of Teresa Romero Ramos and Javier Limon, a couple who was diagnosed with the deadly disease earlier this week.

The order to euthanize Excalibur came Tuesday from regional officials, who aimed to stop the spread of ebola, according to the Associated Press. The light brown mixed breed was not confirmed to have the infectious disease, but the Spanish government took "available scientific information" and decided not to rule out Excalibur as a means of transmission.

Limon, who was quarantined after his wife's diagnosis, was determined to save the dog if possible after the court order Tuesday.

"I'm in the hospital and I'm making a call to all people to help me save my dog Excalibur because they want to kill him just like that, without following any procedure," he tweeted.

The cause went viral, with Limon's hashtag #SalvemosaExclibur — "we'll save Exclibur" — being retweeted over 400,000 times. In just a few hours, over 40 protestors surrounded Ramos' apartment complex to prevent government employees from taking the dog, which was seen pacing on the balcony.

A petition was also started that garnered over $380,000 signatures.

However, the protestors weren't able to stop a government van with blacked out windows from taking Excalibur. They initially forced the van to stop, but police used batons to clear the crowd.

The dog was "sedated beforehand to avoid suffering," a statement from Madrid's regional government read. The body was then "put into a sealed biosecurity device and transferred for incineration at an authorized disposal facility."

When Ramos received the news, she burst into tears, according to ABC News.

There has been no known case of ebola spreading from humans to dogs.

"Clearly we want to look at all possibilities. We have not identified this as a means of transmission," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told AP.

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