5 February 2016 – What should have been a happy occasion for Calvin the Golden Retrevier, and his owner Arjun Sivadasan, after nine months of separation, became a heartbreaking reunion.
Arjun Sivadasan moved to Australia from India nearly a year ago. He always planned on bringing Calvin, his beloved 4-and-a-half year-old Golden Retriever, out to join him. But it was a complicated, costly and lengthy process.
Calvin had to stay in India for seven months, as the country is not approved for the importation of animals into Australia without a special permit. Calvin needed to be boarded in India, transported, quarantined in both Singapore and Australia, get vet health checks, an import permit and a special crate to safely and comfortably travel in. In total, Arjun spent $A24,000 on moving Calvin.
Calvin was approved to be flown in early December from Bangalore to Singapore on Singapore Airlines, where he was quarantined for a month.
Calvin arrived in Melbourne on 20 January. Arjun immediately informed Jetpets Animal Transport, so they could book him a flight from Melbourne to his new home in Brisbane. Jetpets told Arun that Calvin couldn’t be transported in the crate he had flown in into Australia, because it was too big. Arjun claims Jetpets told him he had to pay for the new crate, but he refused as he felt it was their mistake as they had approved the original crate and he had paid them in full. Jetpets agreed to use one their own crates at no further cost.
Arjun said he had asked Jetpets to call him when they collected Calvin from quarantine so he knew how he was doing, and again before he boarded the flight to Brisbane. He was assured this would happen. He cites Jetpets website which states they constantly keep clients informed about their pets and they have a company representative with the pet.
A Melbourne Qantas Freight employee told Pet News Today Calvin’s original crate would have been 8cm too big for a domestic flight, so Jetpets was right to move Calvin into a slightly smaller crate. The Qantas freight employee went on to say that his colleagues are highly trained in recognising if an animal is in distress or anxious, and would definitely not permit the animal to travel if it was in any way injured. So we can assume Calvin was fine before he boarded the flight to Brisbane.
Arjun claims he didn’t receive a call from Jetpets when they picked Calvin up from quarantine; neither did he receive a call from them while Calvin was at Melbourne airport before he was flown to Brisbane.
He says his first call he got from Jetpets was when he was driving to Brisbane airport to pick Calvin up from the flight he had been booked on. He was informed Calvin had been injured and had lost a claw; the person he spoke to wasn’t sure what kind of injury as there was no Jetpets representative with Calvin. Qantas Freight staff had called Jetpets to inform them of Calvin being in distress.
When Arjun got to the airport only Qantas Freight staff were there. They hadn’t opened the crate, as they didn’t want to upset Calvin further. But they had taken photos of Calvin, which show he had been bleeding and was injured. By the time Arjun had arrived Calvin wasn’t distressed.
Pet News Today spoke to a Qantas Freight employee in Brisbane, who said he was surprised that once they had notified Jetpets that Calvin was injured, no one from the company came to check on the dog, as Calvin was their ‘consignment’. He said Jetpets were “very good”, adding only last week he had called Jetpets in to check on a dog that wasn’t one of their clients, to ascertain if it was fit to travel. He said it was strange that a two hour flight, after all the international travel Calvin had done, would make him so distressed.
Arjun said a vet said Calvin had become so distressed during the flight from Melbourne to Brisbane had injured his front paws as he had tried to escape the crate. At least one claw had been ripped out.
“I was looking forward to spending good quality time with him, when he first arrived. I took a week off work so I could take him for walks and have fun with him.” Instead, Arjun is busy nursing Calvin back to health.
Arjun had Calvin seen by a vet who gave him an antibiotic injection, put him on a course of antibiotics, cleaned and dressed his wounds, and treated him for pain. So far the emergency treatment has cost over $A500. He will make a full recovery.