A German shepherd named Kaos who was hailed as a hero for finding survivors buried in rubble after an earthquake in Italy two years ago is dead from poisoning, BBC News reported.
The dog’s owner, Fabiano Ettore, wrote about Kaos’ death on Facebook on Saturday, saying, “Do not feel hatred for those who did this.”
Ettore and Kaos were among the first rescuers on the scene in August 2016 after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit Amatrice, Italy. They worked for weeks assisting rescuers in finding survivors. More than 200 people were killed.
Ettore found his dog’s body on Saturday in the garden of their home in Sant’Eusanio Forconese, The Guardian said.
“I have no words,” Ettore told the newspaper. “I can’t understand such a horrible act. He was alive at least until two o’clock in the morning, as I heard him bark.”
Rinaldo Sidoli, a communication manager for the animal welfare group Animalisti Italiani, told The Guardian: “They killed the hero who, together with rescuers, dug with his four paws during those dramatic hours to find survivors of that massacre. Kaos saved humans, and those same humans poisoned him.”
Animal advocates in Italy are calling for tougher cruelty laws, The Guardian said. Lawmaker Michela Brambilla told The Associated Press she proposed a law against animal cruelty earlier this year and hoped Kaos’ death would bolster support for it.
“Kaos’ death has touched the conscience of the Italian people,” Brambilla said.