An alarming spike in the number of banned ‘pronged’ dog collars detected at the border has prompted a warning from the Australian Border Force (ABF).
The collars are considered dangerous due to the possibility of the prongs causing injury by puncturing or bruising a dog’s neck during use, even if unintentional, and the potential for misuse, and as such are classified as a prohibited import.
There has been a more than seven-fold increase in pronged dog collar detections over the past 12 months (April 2020 – March 2021) compared to the previous 12 months, up from 56 to 477.
The majority of intercepted consignments are of single collars.
Banned collars have been detected by ABF officers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth during the past 12 months.
ABF Assistant Commissioner for East and Port Operations, Erin Dale, said although the massive increase in detections was pleasing from an operational perspective, the trend was concerning.
“Pronged dog collars can only be imported into Australia if permission has been granted by the Minister for Home Affairs or an authorised person. But this is rarely granted due to the high risk of harm they pose to animals,” Assistant Commissioner Dale said.
“Under the Customs Act 1901, individuals who unlawfully import these collars can be prosecuted, facing penalties of up to $222,000.
“The ABF plays a vital role at the border ensuring prohibited goods are prevented from entering Australia.”
The Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs, Jason Wood, applauded the vigilance of the frontline ABF officers preventing the banned collars from entering the Australian community.
“These pronged dog collars have been prohibited from import for a very good reason – to prevent them being used in the abuse of animals,” Assistant Minister Wood said.
“At the very least, people who import banned items like this are wasting their money, but they also risk prosecution.
“I urge people purchasing items from overseas to first check the ABF webpage which lists what can and can’t be legally brought into the country.”