KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 — The Los Angeles Public Health Department has been mocked by social media users for offering free Covid-19 testing for animals and pets, despite there being no recorded cases of the disease among animals in the area.
The Veterinary Public Health had received funding from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor evidence of the disease in animals, Daily Mail reported.
“Our goal is to test many different species of animals including wildlife (deer, bats, raccoons), pets (dogs, cats, hamsters, pocket pets), marine mammals (seals), and more,” LA Public Health tweeted.
Your pet may be eligible for free SARS-CoV-2 testing if they were exposed to a human or animal with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19. To learn more about free testing, visit: https://t.co/HELCLWCJ5X pic.twitter.com/eIrBKVkapZAdvertisement— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) August 20, 2022
So far, 177 animals have been tested, including popular domestic pets such as dogs, cats, hamsters and rabbits.
The department has also taken swabs from bats, rats, opossums, sea lions and squirrels.
The publicly-funded body says it is offering the animal testing to “learn more about the significance of Covid-19 in human, animal, and environmental relationships.”
It was not stated if treatments will be offered to animals that tested positive, with the department saying Covid symptoms in animals are identical to those commonly found in human sufferers.
The comment section of LA Public Health’s social media accounts has been turned off but social media users are venting their frustrations by tweeting to Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin.
Twitter user Zaroda questioned how many ways the department was wasting money.
How many ways can they waste money?— Zaroda (@zaroda55) August 21, 2022
Another joked that the next to be tested would be unicorns.
Next up unicorns— All For God’s Glory (@Hesychasm123) August 21, 2022
Meanwhile, @patleav said taxpayers’ money is being frivolously spent.
So easy when it’s taxpayers money being frivolously spent.— Luv My Pups (@patleav) August 21, 2022
The department’s offer comes just days after the CDC relaxed its guidelines for those who are exposed to Covid-19.
In the past, the health agency advised those who were unvaccinated to quarantine for five days post-exposure. Once the symptoms disappeared, the quarantine could end.
Now, unvaccinated individuals are no longer required to quarantine after exposure but are recommended to mask up for 10 days or until they test negative.