Assistance Dog to be welcomed to Christmas Island

Number: A001/2020

Relevant: Christmas Island

Topic: Assistance Dog to be welcomed to Christmas Island

Date: 14 January 2020

The Carr family has been approved to bring an Assistance Dog to Christmas Island (CI) to provide support for their teenage son, Luke, with strong community support for their application.

Local residents, particularly the Islamic community, were overwhelmingly supportive of the Assistance Dog application when asked for feedback on the request in December.

“Shiloh”, the Assistance Dog, who has undergone intensive training in Perth, specifically designed to provide the necessary type of assistance necessary for Luke, will be arriving on the Island in the near future.

It is important to understand that while Assistance Dogs are sometimes mistaken as pets, they are, in fact, specially trained animals that assist a person with a disability, in their public and personal life. Assistance Dogs have unique public access rights and are trained to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for an animal in a public place.

Touching is a distraction and can prevent Assistance Dogs from tending to their human partners. When Shiloh is here, community members are asked to be sensitive to the fact that Assistance Dogs are working and may be in the middle of a command or direction. Please always ask the handler before interacting with the Assistance Dog. Interaction includes talking to or making sounds at the dog as well as touching it. More information is available at https://www.assistancedogs.org.au/

Despite the general restrictions on dogs under unique laws on CI (Importation of Dogs and Cats Ordinance 1973 (CI)) which were designed to address environmental and animal welfare concerns, I have authority to approve the import of an Assistance Dog if it meets all the mandatory requirements defined under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (DDA).

he Shire of CI will have the responsibility for ensuring compliance, including fencing requirements, under the Shire of Christmas Island Dogs Local Law 2018 (Dog Law).

Thanks to everyone in the community who provided feedback on the application. It is wonderful to see members of our CI community supporting each other.

Mrs Natasha Griggs
Administrator of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands