U.S. nurse diagnosed with Ebola has pet dog

Nina Pham cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died in the U.S. after he contracted Ebola in Liberia; unlike Excalibur in Spain, Pham’s dog will be spared euthanasia. (Photo credit: Facebook)

Last week, Excalibur, a dog in Spain, was euthanized by government officials after one of his owners was diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus. In Dallas, Nina Pham, 26, a nurse who treated Thomas Eric Duncan (who died on October 8), became the first person to contract the disease within the United States.

Similar to Teresa Romero in Spain, Pham also has a dog; but in this instance, authorities have no intention of euthanizing her 1-year-old King Charles Spaniel, Bentley.

“This dog is an important part of the family to our health care worker,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says. “We want to make sure the dog is in a safe place.”

In an interview with Ron Corning on WFAA, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins also spoke of protecting the dog. “When I met with her parents, they said, ‘This dog is important to her, judge. Don’t let anything happen to the dog,’” Jenkins says. “If that dog has to be The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, we’re going to take good care of that dog.”

According to USA Today, the dog will be removed from the apartment by CG Environmental HazMat working in conjunction with Dallas animal control and the SPCA.

Although there are no known cases of dogs giving Ebola to humans, a report by the CDC examines the possibility.

The Dallas dog’s fate is sharp contrast to Excalibur, who was put down in the face of an aggressive online campaign to save the canine: Spanish authorities had to wade through protesters in order to get to the dog, who was quarantined in an apartment; on Twitter, pet owners flooded the social network with photographs of their pet dogs and cats with signs exclaiming “#SalvemosaExcalibur;” and a change.org petition to spare the pooch got more than 400,000 signatures.

Sources: USA Today, ABC News, WFAA, Dallas News