Pet Industry News Newsletter 10th July 2017
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RSPCA’s Pets Place to close by end of August

RSPCA’s Pets Place is financially unviable and will close by the end of next month, the animal welfare organisation announced this week.  

The Sebastopol store’s closure will coincide with the end of the RSPCA’s contract to manage the Ballarat animal shelter.

RSPCA Victoria chief executive Dr Liz Walker said the timing was “unrelated but unfortunate”. 

City of Ballarat voted in April to take over the animal shelter, which it will double in size to take in animals from neighbouring municipalities. 

Dr Walker said Pets Place, which provides veterinary and adoption services as well as selling pet products, was “continually running at a loss”.

The store’s 13 staff were notified on Wednesday morning and given the options of relocation, redundancy or assistance with alternative employment, Dr Walker said. 

“We want to reassure the people of Ballarat that we are committed to continuing our important animal welfare work in the region,” Dr Walker said.

 “RSPCA Victoria will continue to collaborate with Ballarat Council, and the community, by sharing our expertise with regards to shelter and pound operations and the rehabilitation and rehoming of animals.”

Dr Walker said the closure was the result of a review of the organisation’s structure. Pets Place will close its doors on August 30. 

“Despite the tireless efforts of the Pets Place Ballarat team, the centre has not been able to generate income to fund our animal services and, in fact, is continually running at an operating loss,” Dr Walker said.

“We receive a huge amount of support through donations from the community and need to make sure we use every single donation dollar to achieve the best animal welfare outcome. With this in mind, we have made the difficult decision to close Pets Place.”

Source: The Courier (Vic)

Check for hopportunistic hitchhikers

A disoriented foam-nest tree frog from Zambia who mistook a man’s luggage for its foamy-nested home was discovered in June and referred to biosecurity officers in Sydney.
Head of biosecurity operations at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Nico Padovan, said that the adventurous amphibian posed a disease risk to Australia and praised the passenger for his kermitment to biosecurity by promptly reporting the find.
“It must have been alarming to discover a frog in his luggage, but I’m pleased that the passenger raised this discovery with Australian Museum staff, who in turn notified biosecurity officers,” Mr Padovan said.
“The foam-nest tree frog is a highly adaptable species with a range of habitats in Central Africa, and are known to attach their nests to the sides of man-made structures overhanging water, such as bridges.
“Exotic stowaway amphibians could carry diseases not present in Australia and affect the delicate ecosystems that sustains native wildlife populations.
“There was a risk that this frog could have carried an exotic type of highly pathogenic ranavirus. Introduced amphibians could expose a wide range of susceptible hosts like fish and reptiles to exotic diseases.
“As an island nation, Australia is free of many pests and diseases found throughout the world. Our biosecurity systems help to protect our environment, agricultural industries, and the health of people and their pets.
“It is important for members of the public to thoroughly check their luggage, especially moist areas such as in shoes.
“Do not panic if you notice any stowaway plant or animal material. Biosecurity officers can follow through and handle the matter.
“Having snuck in via a passenger’s luggage, the frog’s health status was unknown and had to be put down to manage the biosecurity risk.”
The frog was humanely euthanised in accordance with animal ethics committee protocols, and has been fixed in 80% ethanol by the museum for its herpetology collection—a fitting epilogue for this frog.

World Pet Association Gears up for SuperZoo 2017

SuperZoo will introduce two new lounges at its 2017 show, which will be held July 25 to 27 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The new lounges include one Aquatic and one International. The Aquatic Lounge will feature live demonstrations by renowned aquascaper Oliver Knott. More information can be found here:

After adding more that 85,000 square feet of exhibit space in 2016, SuperZoo encompasses nearly 300,000 square feet of show floor space, showcasing the latest products from nearly 1,100 manufacturers and suppliers in eight easy-to-navigate neighborhoods and special areas. It’s anticipated that more than 820 new products will be launched by exhibitors at the show in the New Product Showcase, testament to the importance and vitality of SuperZoo as a showcase for new products and the latest trends, according to show organizers.

Illegal reptile smuggling ring lands conviction and $2000 fine
Gisborne, Victoria resident Craig James Pender was this week convicted and fined $2000 for importing exotic reptiles into Australia in contravention of the Quarantine Act 1908.
Acting head of compliance at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Dr Robyn Cleland, said Mr Pender also received convictions for illegally exporting Australian lizards and illegally possessing exotic reptiles.
“The department takes intentional breaches of Australian biosecurity very seriously and we actively pursue and prosecute offenders onshore, off shore and at the border,” Dr Cleland said.
“Exotic animals can introduce devastating pests and diseases to Australia— Mr Pender’s irresponsible actions placed our national wildlife, environment and industries at great risk.
“Biosecurity is vital to our national interests. It protects Australia’s human, animal and plant health by reducing the risk of unwanted pests and diseases arriving in the country.”
Dr Cleland said the department undertook a joint investigation with the Department of the Environment and Energy and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, which led to the conviction of Mr Pender.
“A search warrant was executed on Mr Pender’s property, at which three illegally imported hog-nosed snakes were discovered. Investigators linked Mr Pender to the further illegal importation of four green tree pythons in 2009,” Dr Cleland said.
“Our investigation also identified links between Mr Pender and a person of interest in Norway—Bard Alexander Meringen—ultimately leading to the arrest of Mr Meringen for wildlife crimes and seizure of over two hundred live reptiles at his residence in Norway.”
Dr Cleland said the department was always on the lookout for deliberate attempts to undermine and circumvent our biosecurity system.
“While the majority of people using our mail centres and ports try to comply, we pursue those individuals who deliberately do the wrong thing to the full extent of the law,” Dr Cleland said.
“Anyone with information about breaches of Australia’s biosecurity requirements is urged to phone the redline reporting number on 1800 803 006.”

US News

Is your pet too fat, too fat, too fat

It might seem logical that the US states with the highest prevalence of overweight people would have the highest percentages of hefty pets. Surely all those fit Coloradans with their outdoorsy lifestyles have slim dogs, right?

Not according to a new report based on the physiques of more than 2.5 million dogs and 500,000 cats in the United States. In some cases, it found nearly the opposite patterns for people and pets: Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi — which have some of the nation’s highest rates of human obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — all ranked in the bottom five states for overweight or obese pets. Dogs and cats in Colorado were in the top 20.

Topping the list for both chunky dogs and fat cats: Minnesota, where 41 percent of pooches and 46 percent of kitties were rated by veterinarians as overweight or obese. In second place for both species was Nebraska, where the figures were 39 percent for dogs and 43 percent for cats.

The animals were all seen in 2016 at one of the 975 veterinary hospitals run by Banfield, a chain that operates in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Overall, 1 in 3 of those dogs and cats were overweight or obese, according to a five-point body conditioning score the hospitals’ veterinarians assign to animals after a visual and physical examination. They want to be able to see pets’ waistlines and feel their ribs (but not see them, because that would mean a dog or cat is too thin).

The folks at Banfield were surprised to find that pet and people weight problems don’t correlate by state, said Kirk Breuninger, a veterinarian who’s on the Banfield research team. But while regional trends and people-pet relationships are murky, the overall picture when it comes to pet heft is not. Lots of American dogs and cats are far too heavy, and as a group they’re getting heavier all the time. Banfield says it has tracked a 158 percent increase in overweight dogs over the past 10 years. The prevalence of overweight cats has shot up 169 percent.

And it’s worth noting that Banfield’s numbers are actually lower than other commonly cited figures from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). According to that organization, which relied on a far smaller sample size, a stunning 54 percent of dogs and 59 percent of cats were overweight or obese in 2016.

Experts cite multiple reasons our furry friends are swelling in size. More than ever, pets are treated as family members, and Breuninger said owners often “show love” to them with table scraps, treats and extra scoops of kibble. There’s also been what he called a “normalization” of bigger-than-ideal bodies. A 2015 study, for example, found that 1 in 4 dogs that placed in the top five of their class in Britain’s renowned Crufts dog show — where contestants are judged on how close they are to a perfect example of their breed — was too heavy.

“Many pet owners don’t quite understand that their pet is overweight,” Breuninger said.

Other factors might also be in play, including genetics. Last year, researchers identified a variation in a gene in Labrador retrievers, which tend to pack on pounds, that drives overeating; whether it’s present in other breeds is not yet known — and even if it is, Breuninger said, it wouldn’t give owners an excuse not to manage a pet’s weight.

There’s also ample confusion among owners about what to feed their pets: Grain free? Organic? Raw meat? There’s no right answer for every animal, said Breuninger, who advised people check with a vet. (Vets, according to the APOP survey, aren’t generally as hot on low-grain, raw or organic diets as their pet owners are).

All in all, if you’ve got a fat pet and want to fix that, the answer in most cases will sound pretty familiar: diet and exercise. A vet can advise on the quantity and type of food, Breuninger said, but the exercise part will be up to you and your fur baby. That includes indoor cats, who aren’t so easy to take to the dog park. Laser pointers, feather toys and food puzzles — which make cats work for their food — can be helpful weight-loss tools, he said.

“The truth is that very small changes in activity levels for cats can lead to long-term changes in their health and weight,” Breuninger said. “Even playing with them 10 minutes a day … can really have long-term impacts.”

Need more motivation? Do it for your loyal friend’s health — and for your wallet. More than 20 common pet diseases, including diabetes and arthritis, are linked to obesity. Banfield says owners of its overweight dog patients spent 17 percent more on health-care costs and 25 percent more on medications at its practices, while owners of pudgy cats spent 36 percent more on diagnostic tests.

Source: Washington Post

Stamping out anti-biosecurity practices in the ACT

Potentially harmful exotic ants have been seized from a Canberra home, as part of an investigation into their attempted sale on Gumtree.
Head of Biosecurity Operations, Nico Padovan, said an estimated seven exotic ant species—including reproductive colonies—were seized as part of the investigation, with further identification required.
“While they may seem small and harmless, exotic ants can pose a huge risk to our environment and way of life, and represent a significant biosecurity risk to Australia,” Mr Padovan said.
“They are predators and foragers, with single queens possessing vast reproductive capacities—making them difficult to eradicate if established.
“Exotic ants are often aggressive, are resilient and compete with native species, damage crops and invade buildings.
“In the US state of Texas, Red Imported Fire Ant is estimated to cost US $1.2 billion each year in control, damage repair and medical care and the Australian Government has already provided over $150 million to eradicate this insidious pest—prevention is clearly a better option.
“One of the ant species seized has been identified as Tetraponera rufonigra—one of three species known to cause the most number of cases of anaphylaxis in Thailand—which could lead to tragic impacts.
“Several members of the public alerted the department to this online trade and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources worked with the Department of the Environment and Energy to manage the biosecurity risk.
“Following confirmation by a departmental entomologist that these were an exotic species, all ants were seized by the Department of the Environment and Energy under the Environment Protection and Biosecurity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
“The EPBC Act protects Australian and international fauna and flora that may become adversely affected by trade.
“Further identification is currently being progressed to determine all of the species seized.
“The property was also treated under the watchful eye of an ACT Government Parks and Conversation officer to manage any residual biosecurity risk. Ongoing surveillance work will be undertaken if necessary.
“This is another example of potential illegal importation and ecommerce that has been stopped in its tracks, with help from members of the public playing their role in reporting suspicious activity and protecting our biosecurity.
“We also have intelligence officers here monitoring the potential sale of exotic species, and work closely with our colleagues at the Department of the Environment and Energy.
“Anyone who claims to be an insect lover and conceals them in small packages and sends them through the mail does not have the best interests of the insects at heart, and is putting our country at risk.
“When it comes to biosecurity and protecting Australia, we are unashamedly antsy.
“The maximum penalty for wildlife trade offences under the EPBC Act is 10 years imprisonment and $180,000 for individuals ($900,000 for corporations). Penalties of five years imprisonment and $180,000 for an individual ($900,000 for corporations) may apply for the possession of specimens that have been illegally imported.
“Make yourself aware of what is and isn’t permitted. Visit”
You can report a biosecurity concern by completing an online form or calling the See. Secure. Report. line on 1800 798 636.
You can report suspected illegal wildlife trade at
Copyright © 2017 PETNEWS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, All rights reserved.

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