In Lebanon dogs are being poisoned over bogus coronavirus reports

In Lebanon dogs are being poisoned over bogus coronavirus reports
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Horrific videos and images of dogs agonizingly foaming in the mouth after being poisoned have circulated on social media. (Social media)
In Lebanon dogs are being poisoned over bogus coronavirus reports
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However, not all poisonings had sad endings as pictures sent exclusively to Arab News showed Bruce, an Asian Shepherd, recovering from a poisoning ordeal. (Supplied)
In Lebanon dogs are being poisoned over bogus coronavirus reports
3 / 4
However, not all poisonings had sad endings as pictures sent exclusively to Arab News showed Bruce, an Asian Shepherd, recovering from a poisoning ordeal. (Supplied)
In Lebanon dogs are being poisoned over bogus coronavirus reports
4 / 4
However, not all poisonings had sad endings as pictures sent exclusively to Arab News showed Bruce, an Asian Shepherd, recovering from a poisoning ordeal. (Supplied)
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Updated 01 April 2020

In Lebanon dogs are being poisoned over bogus coronavirus reports

In Lebanon dogs are being poisoned over bogus coronavirus reports

DUBAI: Horrific videos and images of dogs agonizingly foaming in the mouth after being poisoned have circulated on social media after a Lebanese TV station falsely reported that cats and dogs could transmit the deadly coronavirus.

The report, published on Saturday, has been since taken off social media after animal activists and experts dismissed the claims as bogus. The preceding panic however resulted in owners abandoning their pets or other residents poisoning dogs and cats for fear of contracting the virus.

However, not all poisonings had sad endings as pictures sent exclusively to Arab News showed Bruce, an Asian Shepherd, recovering from the ordeal after being poisoned in Byblos.

The owner took immediate actions when he suspected signs of poisoning, and took his dog to the veterinarian clinic for immediate treatment. With the veterinarian assistance, the valued pet dog is now recovering at home, its owner said.

“Here in Bsalim, due to the ignorance of some people who ignored the recommendations of the World Health Organization, one of them put poisoned meat on a street to kill pet dogs (friends of man). Watch Odin wrestle with death and his condition critical. You are criminals, criminals,” Joe Maalouf, a Lebanese TV presenter and animal rights activist, commented in a video he posted on Twitter showing animal doctors trying to revive Odin, a German Shepherd, that was poisoned with food picked up from the side of the road.

A separate tweet from Maalouf likewise showed images of poisoned meat in the patios and gardens of Bsalim, a village in the Matn district of Mount Lebanon governorate.

 

“More poisoned meat was found today in Bsalim, in patios and gardens in people’s homes to kill pets !! Who is responsible for this crime? The municipality has moved, and tomorrow we will review the competent court to open an investigation and review the cameras as soon as possible,” Maalouf said.

Lebanese biologist Gino Raidy also earlier posted on Twitter images of apparent rat poison baited for dogs, as he called out the TV station who earlier made the claim that cats and dogs transmit the coronavirus.

“After reports on MTV falsely claimed that pets carry the novel coronavirus (not true) which MTV retracted without an apology or clarification (as usual), many evil people are trying to poison our pets. These photos are from Sursock in Beirut today!,” Raidy commented on Twitter.

In the past week there have been two dogs and a cat that have tested positive with COVID-19 – the cat one after its owner had fallen ill with the disease.

Yet despite these cases and a third dog earlier in March in Hong Kong, the number pales in comparison with the number of humans infected, online publication sciencemag.org reported.

And experts at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said and continue to say that dogs and cats pose little risk to people.

“CDC does not have evidence that pets can spread COVID-19, and there’s no reason to think pets might be a source of infection based on the information we have at this time,” Casey Barton Behravesh, director of the agency’s One Health Office in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, was quoted as saying.

Lebanese health officials on Tuesday reported 17 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 463, while the number of deaths has risen to 12.


In Iraq, virus revives traumas of Daesh survivors

Updated 53 min 57 sec ago

In Iraq, virus revives traumas of Daesh survivors

In Iraq, virus revives traumas of Daesh survivors

BAJET KANDALA CAMP, Iraq: For half a decade, Zedan suffered recurring nightmares about militants overrunning his hometown in northern Iraq. The 21-year-old Yazidi was just starting to recover when COVID-19 revived his trauma.
Zedan had lost several relatives when Daesh stormed into Sinjar, the rugged heartland of the Yazidi religious minority in Iraq’s northwest.
The militants killed Yazidi men, took the boys as child soldiers and forced the women into sexual slavery.
Zedan and the surviving members of his family fled, finding refuge in the Bajet Kandala camp near the Syrian border where they still live today.
“We used to be farmers living a good life. Then IS (Daesh) came,” he said, wringing his hands.
In a pre-fabricated building hosting the camp’s mental health clinic, Zedan shared his traumas with Bayda Othman, a psychologist for international NGO Premiere Urgence. Zedan refers to the violence of 2014 vaguely as “the events.”
The UN says they may constitute something much more serious: Genocide.
“I started having nightmares every night. I would see men in black coming to kill us,” Zedan said, telling Othman that he had attempted suicide several times. He has been seeing her for years, learning how to cope with his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through breathing exercises that she taught him.
Earlier this year, his nightly panic attacks stopped. Finally, he could sleep again. But only for a few months.
In March, Iraq declared a nationwide lockdown to try to contain the spread of Covid-19. Zedan broke down.
“I fear that my family could catch the virus or give it to me,” he said. “It obsesses me.”
As lockdown dragged on, Zedan’s brother lost his job at a stationery shop on the edge of the camp.
“There’s no more money coming into the family now. Just thinking about it gives me a panic attack,” he said.
“The nightmares returned, and so did my desire to die.”
Out of Iraq’s 40 million citizens, one in four is mentally vulnerable, the World Health Organization says.
But the country is in dire shortage of mental health specialists, with only three per 1 million people.

HIGHLIGHT

The Daesh extremists killed Yazidi men, took the boys as child soldiers and forced the women into sexual slavery.

Speaking about trauma or psychological problems is widely considered taboo, and patients who spoke to AFP agreed to do so on the condition that only their first names would be used.
In camps across Iraq, which still host some 200,000 people displaced by violence, the pandemic has pushed many people with psychological problems into remission, Othman said.
“We noticed a resurgence of PTSD cases, suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts,” she told AFP.
In October, there were three attempted suicides in Bajet Kandala alone by displaced people, who said their movements outside the camp were restricted by the lockdown, or whose economic situation had deteriorated even further.
A tissue factory who fired people en masse, a potato farm that shut down, a haberdashery in growing debt: Unemployment is a common thread among Othman’s patients.
“It leads to financial problems, but also a loss of self-confidence, which rekindles trauma,” she said.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), about a quarter of Iraqis who were employed prior to lockdown have been permanently laid off.
Youth were particularly hard hit: 36 percent of 18-24 years old who had been employed were dismissed, the ILO said.
A new patient in her forties walked toward the clinic, her hair covered in a sky-blue veil.
Once settled in a faux-leather chair, Jamila revealed that she, too, feels destabilized by the pandemic.
The Yazidi survivor lives in a one-room tent with her son and four daughters. But she doesn’t feel at home.
“I have totally abandoned my children. I feel all alone even though they’re always at home. I hit them during my panic attacks — I didn’t know what else to do,” she said.
Othman tried to soothe Jamila, telling her: “Hatred is the result of untreated sadness. We take it out on relatives, especially when we feel devalued — men prey on women, and women on children.”
But the trauma is not just an issue for the displaced, specialists warn.
“With the isolation and lack of access to care, children who have lived a genocide develop difficulties as they become adults,” said Lina Villa, the head of the mental health unit at a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in northern Iraq.
“We fear suicide rates will go up in the years to come.”