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5 February 2021

Mysterious Animal Deaths Spirit of Tasmania

 


Many years of controversial animal deaths on board the ship Spirit of Tasmania has culminated in the calls for an investigation.

WARNING - Distressing information.


Missing Dog 2021

Last night I was on the spirit of Tasmania coming from Tasmania. I had put my dog in a kennel and checked it twice to make sure that the door was shut. I was woken up at midnight to one of the security guards telling me that she had escaped and that had been trying to get her but had no luck. They would only let me look for an hour and I waited in the bar as they kept looking. They couldn’t find her, they didn’t raise any alarms when they were trying to get people to disembark or check their cars as they seem to think that she might of jumped in the Utes or trailers. I was there up until midday refusing to leave as they said she just vanished they check their limited cameras that they had on the dock/boat they don’t have cameras facing the kennels. I’m hoping someone has found her and that she is in the pound but I won’t know until tomorrow. We were moving from Tasmania to tweed heads and she is my best friend and I just want her back. Not knowing if she’s Dead or alive is killing me. Please help


The woman desperately searching for her pet dog after it escaped from a kennel while travelling to Melbourne on the Spirit of Tasmania says the unknown is destroying her.

"Not knowing if she's dead or alive is killing me. Please help," she said in an emotional Facebook post.
Holly Alexander checked on Ester, her Doberman and Rottweiler cross, twice to make sure the kennel door was shut while travelling on the ship. Ms Alexander was woken by security guards telling her Ester had ran off.
"I was woken up at midnight to one of the security guards telling me that she had escaped and that had been trying to get her but had no luck," her Facebook post reads.They would only let me look for an hour and I waited in the bar as they kept looking. They couldn't find her, they didn't raise any alarms when they were trying to get people to disembark or check their cars as they seemed to think that she might have jumped in the utes or trailers.

Death of Dog 2019

A man who says his dog died during an overnight trip on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry is calling for an overhaul of the conditions animals are held in during the 12-hour crossing of Bass Strait. But he claims the 93-kilogram South African mastiff died during the 12-hour journey.South Australian Marcus Lehmann took his best mate Mook on the Spirit of Tasmania as part of a permanent move to the state.
Pets are required to travel in the ferry's kennels and owners are not allowed to access the kennels during sailing. Mr Lehmann said he was told that staff noted the 14-month-old dog was struggling earlier in the night. Mr Lehmann said he was informed of the dog's death when the ferry docked in Devonport the next morning.
"At 8:30pm it was noted [by crew] he was struggling, and I was not notified and at 11:00pm he was deceased," he said. I think he suffocated, he had skin off his nose, off his head, off his feet, he tried really hard to save himself. It was horrific. They wrapped him in the sheet, threw him in the back [of Mr Lehmann's vehicle], said sorry, and let me go. This is Australia, this is Tasmania with my dead dog."
Mr Lehmann said conditions needed to change for animal welfare during the 12-hour Bass Strait crossing. They need to have been in an air-conditioned area, and they need to have somebody watching them 24/7. I would guess they're not allowed to have staff down there for any length of time because it kills [people], and then they go and put your bloody pets down there.

Death of Ponies 2018

The owner of six polo ponies that allegedly died during a Bass Strait crossing on the TT-Line's Spirit of Tasmania said he had seen the autopsy report and blamed the ferry service for their deaths. Australian agribusiness multi-millionaire Johnny Kahlbetzer owned six of the 13 horses that died in January while, it is alleged, travelling from Devonport to Melbourne. Mr Kahlbetzer said he and the owner of the other dead ponies, former Australian polo team captain Andrew Williams, arranged for autopsies to be done.

The pair, along with Mr Williams' wife Rebecca, are suing TT-Line and logistics company QUBE for negligence over the horses' deaths, alleging the companies failed to provide a safe environment, adequate checks and air flow. Mr Kahlbetzer said he and Mr Williams commissioned the autopsy and said the horses suffocated.

"We delivered the horses to the vets, who did that autopsy, etc — that's how I've seen it," he said. It's all in technical terms, and part of our legal case, but basically they died of lack of oxygen."

The Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries (DPIPWE) has repeatedly refused to release the autopsy report, saying it was part of their ongoing investigation. The ponies, valued at almost $650,000, died in the horse float driven by Mr Williams.
"It's irrelevant if it's a $20 cat from the pound or if it's a bloody million-dollar race horse," Mr Kahlbetzer said. You're not allowed to let animals out of your car or truck or whatever, you can't go and visit them whilst you're on the ferry, so it's totally the responsibility of the ferry to provide a safe environment, and they're not doing it on an everyday basis. These aren't the first animals that have ever died on that ferry, and there's obviously something that occurs at times on that ferry which is causing animals to die on them, so they need to have a really good look at their systems and improve them.

Reoccurring Deaths

Deaths have occurred as far back as 2011 when the Spirit of Tasmania made an attempt to explain away the deaths of two dogs. 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 Saturday morning, she found two of the three had died. 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 this year because of cancer, but had continued to perform well in shows. Another of Ms White's Rottweilers, Phoenix, also sleeping in the vehicle, survived. Ms White told 3AW 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''. She said she voiced concerns 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. Passengers are not permitted, for ''safety reasons'', to go to the vehicle decks to check on their animals en route. Instead, the website states that crew ''perform regular checks on pets during the crossing".


STATEMENT by Spirit of Tasmania

Hi everyone. We do very much appreciate your comments regarding the recent tragic death of the two dogs. The cause of death remains unknown. There have been some reports suggesting the dogs died of Carbon Monoxide poisoning; however there is no evidence to support these reports and we are strongly refuting these claims. The vehicle decks of Spirit of Tasmania are regularly checked by a third party provider against Australian Standards for atmospheric pollutants and we have never failed any of these regular checks. Further, the incident on Friday night occurred on vehicle deck 6. Vehicle deck 6 is a hanging deck contained within vehicle deck 5. While all of Spirit of Tasmania’s vehicle decks remain ventilated while the vessel is at sea, vehicle deck 5 and 6 are not enclosed decks - they are both open to the air. Both decks are designed with an opening at the stern of the vessel. We carry more than 12,000 domestic pets per annum. This number does not include horses and other livestock. The transportation of these animals is on vehicle deck 3, 5 and 6.

Ship of Death
Ship of Death


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