… and a lot of unhappy cat and dog owners as well.
It was only a few months ago that I wrote my post Dogs and Cats in Australian Quarantine: It’s Good News, and it was very good news indeed. The big announcement was that for some qualifying dogs and cats, their stay in quarantine was to be reduced from 30 days to just 10.
Well, on 3 February 2014, those new rules came into force, which IS great. At the same time, DAFF announced on their website that visiting and exercising would continue as before.
Which was even better!
This meant that owners or their representatives could continue to visit their pets twice a week to say hi and have a smooch, and a further twice a week to walk and exercise their dog in one of the paddocks for 30 minutes.
Regular readers will know that my wife set up her company Dog Walks Pty Ltd six years ago so that she and her staff could offer visits and walks and much more. Her company has also provided special food for dogs and cats, they don’t all like the standard dry food offered by quarantine.
Dog Walks also provided toys for pets to play with, additional bedding where required and photographs of cats and dogs from every visit offering great comfort to anxious pet owners concerned about the welfare of their furry friends.
For some, their pets are like their children, and the feedback that the Dog Walks team were able to give pet owners was, in some cases, invaluable. Mrs Bob has an email folder full of customers who said “We couldn’t have got through it without you.”
So what’s the bad news?
Then, just a couple of weeks later, came a second announcement. Going forward under the new ten-day arrangement, visiting and exercising either by the owners or their chosen representatives would come to an end, taking effect as at today, Monday, 3 March 2014.
Under the new rules there will be no…
- Walks for dogs
- Cuddles for cats
- Visits for either dogs or cats
- No special foods
- No extra bedding
- No toys
- And of course, no photographs
Nothing. You cannot even telephone to ask how your dog or cat is doing.
There are exceptions to the above, of course. If you feel your pet does require a special diet, and remember anything that is wet and comes in a tin is regarded as special by quarantine, then you can complete a “special needs” requirement when applying for your permit.
You will need to get your vet to make a statement outlining the animal’s condition and therefore the reason for the special diet though. Once you’ve done all that, quarantine’s own vet will have to approve your request and if all goes well, who knows, maybe Rover will get his tin of Pedigree Chum after all.
Want your pet to be exercised? Again, you will need to go through the veterinary approval process for that.
For further details on the rules, see this page on the Department of Agriculture’s website.
Mrs Bob did do some research on this, she looked at quarantine stations in the USA, Europe including the UK, South Africa, Singapore and even our close neighbours, New Zealand.
Every single one of those quarantine stations allow visiting during the quarantine period and some of them also allow exercising as well.
But no, not here in Australia.
Welcome to the dark ages.
Mrs Bob has lost her business due to this simple rule change, but she is not the biggest loser here. All the thousands of dogs and cats who come through quarantine in the near future and their owners are the ones that will suffer the most.
AQIS and DAFF, for their Draconian attitude combined with their sheer laziness (Oh, do we really need to get involved with pet owners? Let’s just lock the doors.) can now join the likes of the English FA, wasps, cockroaches and some other critters as an Australian Bad Thing.
Update: April 2014
Thinking of Exporting Your Pet to Australia?
As I have mentioned above, my wife’s Dog Walks team can no longer physically visit pets in Australian quarantine. With no contact allowed at all, this can be quite a traumatic experience, mainly for the pet owners.
In fact, the whole process of exporting your dog is quite daunting, so Karen has now written a book on the subject.
For more information, visit…