Companion animals from the Air Canada ‘ark in the sky’ charter flight arebeing reunited with their owners today after completing their mandatory 10-daystay at the department’s Post-Entry Quarantine (PEQ) facility in Mickleham.

The 49 dogs and 19 cats arrived into Melbourne on 7 November from Vancouver aspart of the final leg of a mission to bring them home after being separatedfrom their owners because of COVID-19 restrictions.

They were then required to spend 10 days at PEQ to fulfill Australia’sbiosecurity requirements to protect our people, agricultural industries andenvironment.

Acting First Assistant Secretary of the department’s Biosecurity OperationsDivision Lee Cale said today marked the culmination of months of planning andlogistical challenges.

“It’s a very exciting and emotional time for these owners who are seeing theirpets for the first time in many months, and we can report all the animals arein excellent health after their flight and PEQ stay,” Ms Cale said.

“The PEQ is very proud to have played a significant role in helping tocoordinate this successful reunion while also protecting Australia’sfavourable biosecurity status.

“The PEQ coordinated with the Canadian airline, overseas and local pet agentsto prepare for the scheduled arrival to ensure all the necessary importconditions were met.

“Upon arrival at Tullamarine, they were immediately transported under thewatchful eyes of our team to the PEQ facility for 10 days quarantine.

“This is because imported dogs and cats have the potential to carry severaldiseases of biosecurity concern. These diseases include rabies, canineleishmaniasis and canine ehrlichiosis, which are also potentially zoonotic.”

The PEQ has facilitated 3635 companion animals this year to date – 1157 catsand 2478 dogs.

Ms Cale said the department will continue working with importers, animaltransport agents and airlines on a range of options to ensure that pets readyto travel to Australia are able to do so.

“The PEQ Facility has remained open and operational throughout the variousphases of the pandemic response and will continue to accept bookings foranimals from all around the world, with animals arriving almost every day,” MsCale said.

For more details on PEQ’s cats and dogs facilities click here.

Image: Pet owners Rowan and Jan are over the moon to see their well-travelled3 year old Corgis ‘Pinto’ and ‘Miso’ when they arrived at the Post EntryQuarantine facility today.

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