Champion rottweilers 'poisoned' on Spirit
Rottweilers die from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning on the Spirt of Tasmania at the weekend.
A Melbourne dog owner is demanding answers after the deaths of two of her rottweilers from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning on the Spirt of Tasmania at the weekend.
Christine White’s dogs had been sleeping in her four-wheel drive for the Friday night journey across Bass Strait from Melbourne to Devonport, but when she checked on them early on Saturday morning she found two of the three had died.
I think because we were on a higher level all the fumes have gone up to the top.
Dharma, aged 10, and younger brother Trek were dog-show veterans and were reportedly in good health at the time of the trip. Dharma had had a leg amputated earlier this year because of cancer but had continued to perform well in shows.
Another of Ms White’s rottweilers, Phoenix, who was also sleeping in the vehicle, survived the trip. Ms White was taking the three dogs to Hobart for a herding competition.
Ms White told 3AW radio this morning her dogs had previously slept in her car on two trips to Tasmania without incident, but on this occasion staff had requested her car be moved to a higher deck than the one pets are usually kept on.
Ms White said vehicles accommodating pets were usually kept on a lower deck ‘‘in an area that is well-ventilated’’. Ms White said she voiced concerns when asked to move her vehicle to a higher level but was told by staff; ‘‘It doesn’t matter, you will be fine up here’’.
Ms White said three vets had assessed the dead dogs in Tasmania. ‘‘Their opinion at this stage ... is that they’ve died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
‘‘I think because we were on a higher level all the fumes have gone up to the top.’’
Ms White said full autopsies would be conducted on Dharma and Trek today.
The Spirit of Tasmania provides kennels on a lower deck for animals to sleep in, but pet-owners may choose to leave their animals in their cars if they prefer. Ms White said she chose to keep the dogs in her car because they had more room to stretch.
A spokeswoman for the Spirit of Tasmania said that 11 other pets had travelled on the boat to Devonport last Friday, with no other issues reported.
‘‘Two other animals travelled in cars and nine animals travelled in kennels on board Spirit of Tasmania,’’ Soniya Fernandez said. Ms Fernandez said that Ms White had been told when booking her trip that the best option for pets was to book them into the kennels.
Passengers are not permitted, for ‘‘safety reasons’’, to go to the vehicle decks to check on their animals while the Spirit of Tasmania is enroute. Instead, the website states that crew ‘‘perform regular checks on pets during the crossing’’.
The Age is awaiting further response from the Spirit of Tasmania.