The dog and cat compounds of the new Mickleham facility have concluded operational commissioning this week. The commissioning tests the new facility with domestic animals as a final check to ensure it is ready to accept international arrivals.
The Department of Agriculture worked with the Lost Dogs’ Home to have 22 dogs and cats stay at the facility for a period of a week. Some of the staff became so attached to their charges that they have already applied to adopt them.
The cats and dogs enjoyed the highest welfare standards while the department was able to trial and streamline its procedures in both the dog and the cat compounds.
The facility has climate controlled kennels, exercise yards and comfortable accommodation.
Thousands of cats and dogs are imported into Australia each year. Since 1993, an estimated 80 000 cats and dogs have been imported into Australia.
The new post entry quarantine facility will manage the risk of exotic pests and diseases establishing in Australia. Rabies is the most significant disease of concern associated with the import of cats and dogs, primarily due to the often fatal consequences of rabies virus infection in all mammals, including humans.
Post entry quarantine also serves to ensure there are no exotic ticks on cats and dogs as ticks can also carry diseases. The 10 day quarantine period, in addition to testing conducted offshore prior to import, allows biosecurity and veterinary officers sufficient time to assess that the animals are healthy and are not carrying diseases or parasites.
The PEQ facility will start taking online bookings next month and then open progressively, taking cats and dogs from 23 November.