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Red tape keeps disabled man seperated from his companions

ANGRY: John Hunt wants to get his dog Whimpy back.
ANGRY: John Hunt wants to get his dog Whimpy back. Darryn Smith

A GOLDEN Beach man, confined to a wheelchair, is suffering depression and cries every night for his beloved pet fox terrier that has been held alone for months in quarantine in Sydney.

John Hunt moved to the Philippines with his two pet dogs early last year to start work for a gold mine, but he was knocked out of his wheelchair in a hit-and-run, forcing him to return to Australia for medical treatment.

His fox terriers, Rex and Rex's son Wimpy, returned home with him, but were caught up in quarantine by a confusing and bizarre tangle of red tape.

Mr Hunt spent more than five months in a Brisbane hospital recovering from serious infections and blood poisoning, all the while his dogs were in limbo without him.

Eventually Rex had to be put down due to complications from a tick bite, leaving Wimpy alone.

"I feel so sorry. He had his dad with him and they were together, but he's by himself now," Mr Hunt said.

"I cry every day for him."

It is costing Mr Hunt $500 each month for the quarantining, even though he believes Wimpy is perfectly healthy.

"He's already been in quarantine in Australia for four months, but there's nothing wrong with him. He's been checked by a vet."

Mr Hunt has been told recently that, due to a confusing red tape requirement, Wimpy needs to be flown to Singapore - at his expense.

"Now they're saying he's got to go back to Singapore for four days, because of a paper work error," he said.

"I just want him back. It's a load of crap as far as I'm concerned."

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, which is responsible for quarantine, yesterday could provide no answers about Mr Hunt's heartbreaking situation.

A department spokesman would not discuss the case with the Daily.

Topics:  bureaucracy department of agriculture fisheries and forestry quarantine red tape



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