SINGAPORE- An Australian appeal court has ordered that an infected dog from Singapore be either deported or put down by the owner.
The seven-year-old dalmatian, which was born in Queensland in 2007 and then taken to live here for some five years, was following its Singapore-based owner, who decided to move to Adelaide.
But Pepper was found to be infected with a condition called Canine Monocytic Ehrlichiosis (CME), which is caused by a parasitic organism that infects the blood cells of dogs.
On Monday, the federal court dismissed owner Tejinder Singh Sekhon's appeal to have the order for the dog's removal reviewed.
Justice Richard White wrote in his judgment: "Australia is free of CME. If it is introduced, it may have serious consequences. This is because of the ease with which the disease may be spread, the vector being the common brown dog tick, which is endemic in Australia."
As part of the import process, a test for CME was conducted on Pepper in Singapore in June last year, but came back negative. It is understood the negative finding could mean the infection was recent and not detectable immediately.
Pepper was also released from the compulsory 30-day quarantine period at the Byford Quarantine Station, after the six-year-old dog arrived in Perth from Singapore in July last year.
But a blood sample taken three days before the end of the quarantine period and sent to a United States lab uncovered the dog's ailment. By then, Pepper was on the flight to its owner's family home in Adelaide.
Earlier this year, Mr Singh failed to get a magistrate to review the director of quarantine's export order against Pepper.
In his appeal, he argued that the director had no power to order Pepper's expulsion after it had been released last August, following the month-long quarantine in Australia.