Advocating for Defence families

Who let the dogs out?

Defence families who have pets in their lives will know that despite the accidents on the carpet (sorry DHA), holes in the lawn (again, sorry), finding someone to care for them when you’re away and the ongoing cost of the pet food, that having a small (or large), fluffy (or scaly) friend in your life can be a positive experience.

Pets can be great company when your partner is away and can also provide a positive experience for children. Pets can be a way you can connect with others when moving to a new location.

Research has shown that pet ownership can have positive mental and physical health benefits for all members of the family. Dogs make you get out and walk. Cats demand to be patted, but patting then can have a calming effect. Australia has one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world and Defence families are no different.

But do you know what support Defence will give to families when it comes time to move and what your responsibilities are as a Defence pet owner?

Most DHA Service Residences allow pets. There are some that don’t which is usually the case because of different body corporate arrangements. If you own pets when completing your Application for Relocation (AFR) on Toll Transitions’ Defence Website it’s important that you include the relevant details such as type of pet, sex, age, breed and whether it is desexed.

If you are not living in a DHA property you will need to check with your real estate agent about having pets in the property. Some newer suburbs (several in Canberra) are now cat containment areas which mean owners are not allowed to have their cats outside in order to protect local wildlife. Certain states such as Queensland don’t allow pet rabbits.

When vacating a DHA property it is important to note that you are responsible for any pet damage caused to the property. It is your responsibility to rectify this prior to vacating the property.

For more information check out page 10 of the DHA tenant handbook.

Toll Transitions are responsible for processing the reimbursement of costs associated with the relocation of pets.  To be eligible to receive reimbursement please ensure that your pets are listed on your AFR.

Reimbursement is available for reasonable costs incurred for the transportation – including to and from uplift/delivery address, crate hire and boarding of pets.   The amount of boarding approved is based on the number of approved nights in temporary accommodation in both the losing and gaining location and approved travel time to the new location.

In order to receive reimbursement  you will need to complete the Reimbursement Claim form available on Toll’s website and submit it with paid itemised receipt/s.  Eligible amounts will be processed and paid to your nominated bank account in line with your allowance payment due date.

There is a set cost for overseas postings.

More information can be found in the Pay and Conditions Manual.

When you move to your new locality, you can choose to take your pets on the road with you or you can choose to have them stay in kennels and then transported to your new location. This does involve some planning, so think about the time of year that you might be moving and get your bookings in early. This is especially important if you are moving around the Christmas period or during school holidays as many pet accommodation services book out months in advance. If you choose to take your pets on the road you will need to make sure the accommodation you stay in is pet friendly.

Once you have arrived makes sure your pet’s microchip details are up to date. It is not uncommon for dogs to go roaming in an unfamiliar location or for gates to be left open during moving in days.

Seek advice from the local vet for additional vaccinations your animals might need if you have posted to the tropics or a tick prone area.

There is an unofficial Facebook group called Australian Defence Pet sitting club that has been established recently to help you connect with other Defence pet families.

Owning a pet can be a great experience for the whole family. It’s good to know what else owning a pet can involve when you move and what your responsibilities are as a Defence family.

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