A GRAFTON man may face prosecution for illegally introducing cattle ticks from Queensland into NSW after a horse at Woolgoolga was found to be infected with the notifiable parasite.
"The man entered a commercial arrangement with the horse's owner to bring the horse back to Woolgoolga from the Gympie area for a fee - which included stopping at the border for a cattle tick treatment," Department of Primary Industries (DPI) regional veterinary officer Paul Freeman said.
"Investigations are ongoing but it is alleged the man did not stop at the border and get the horse treated for cattle ticks which is an offence under the NSW Stock Diseases Act."
Mr Freeman said the illegal movement was picked up by the DPI surveillance cameras at Tweed Heads and the owner of the vehicle was tracked down.
"DPI inspectors found the horse at Woolgoolga to be infected with cattle ticks from Queensland," he said.
"The Woolgoolga property is now in quarantine for cattle ticks - even though the owner, an innocent victim, paid to have her horse treated at the Queensland border."
Mr Freeman said cattle ticks are the most serious external parasite of cattle in Australia.
They can attach to cattle, horses and other livestock and can transmit tick fever, a potentially fatal disease of cattle.
"Cattle ticks are a notifiable disease in NSW, meaning stockowners must report findings and any outbreaks must be eradicated," he said.
"Cattle, horses and other livestock coming from tick-infected Queensland must also be treated for cattle ticks before they enter NSW.
"DPI has identification brochures available and people can call the DPI on 6626 1201 for information about the regulations when moving livestock across the Queensland border."
Mr Freeman said the number of new cattle tick infestations this year was down more than 10% on the same time last year with 30 infected properties quarantined so far this season compared to 34 at the same time last year.
"The important message for stockowners is to check their stock for ticks because when we get on to an outbreak early, we can contain it quickly," he said.
"Stockowners who bring in Queensland cattle or horses are advised to keep them in a holding paddock for a week or two as a biosecurity measure before allowing them access to the entire property.
"That way the animals can be monitored for ticks and if cattle ticks are found then the entire property is not quarantined - just the holding paddock."
Stockowners who suspect there stock have cattle ticks or tick fever should contact the DPI, their private veterinarian, their local LHPA or the emergency animal disease watch hotline on 1800 675 888.
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