‘Pretty rough’: 10,000 get behind search for Ester
More than 10,000 people have signed an online petition in hopes to improve animal safety on the Spirit of Tasmania following the disappearance of Holly Alexander's dog Ester while crossing from Tasmania to Victoria.
On the night of January 25, Ms Alexander was woken by Spirit of Tasmania staff and told her doberman rottweiler cross Ester was missing.
After an hour of searching the lower decks where pets are kept, Ms Alexander was sent back upstairs while crews continued to search.
Despite a numerous and widespread social media appeals for Ester's whereabouts - including from the Spirit of Tasmania's Facebook page - Ester has not been found.
The petition launched on Change.org makes a list of demands to the Spirit of Tasmania's operator TT-Line including installation of electronic locks for all pet cages with swipe cards for owners, a safe way to release all locks in case of fire or emergency CCTV focused on cages, and a thorough method of locating escaped.
In addition, the requests TT-Line fund further search efforts for Ester.
Ms Alexander, who was moving from Tasmania to the far north New South Wales with her "best friend" at the time of the disappearance, now faces the reality of settling to the next chapter of her life alone.
"I spent my first night in the new house - it wasn't great to be honest. I have all (Ester's) stuff in the car and I haven't unpacked any of that stuff - it's pretty rough," she said.
"If you've got Ester, I'm not going to charge you or anything. Just drop her off, I want her home safe."
Between national radio and television interviews, and filtering unsuccessfully through numerous reported sightings, she is now raising money for a reward for Ester's return - who she believes may have been taken from the Spirit.
"I'm hoping once I get a reward out that someone is just waiting for money," she said.
"I would rather think that she's been stolen than think she's died.
"I feel like the Spirit is treating this like I've lost my phone but Ester is my family."
Ms Alexander said she has been contacted by a Victorian-based pet Detective agency who have offered to assist in the search.
A TT-Line spokesman said they were aware of the petition.
"TT-Line CEO Bernard Dwyer has communicated directly with the initiator of the online petition and is now awaiting a copy of that petition," the spokesman said.
Originally published as 'Pretty rough': 10,000 get behind search for Ester