January 2022

Companion Animal Network Australia appoints first CEO in its mission to support the human-animal bond and over 30 million Aussie pets and their families

Leading animal welfare charity Companion Animal Network Australia – Australia CAN (formerly Animal Welfare League Australia) appoints its first Chief Executive Officer, Trish Ennis, in its mission to support the human-animal bond and an estimated 30.4 million* pets and their owners across Australia.
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“When the National Executive role came to my attention, I hadn't really heard of AWLA, and soon found out there were a number of Animal Welfare Leagues around Australia that didn't belong under the AWLA banner.  It was clear there was great confusion out there about who we were and what we do,” she said.

Ms Ennis said she’s honoured to be appointed as CEO as she marks her second anniversary with the charity, celebrating her achievements to date.

“Companion Animal Network Australia launched in October 2020 and today clearly speaks to who we are – it is Australia’s only national peak body representing companion animals and the industry that works with them,” said Ms Ennis. “With a clear strategic plan to work to, we are now on the path of completing our initiatives. We are here to support the human-animal bond and the estimated 30.4 million* pets and their owners.”

Key projects in the works, Pets in Aged Care a priority

In August 2021, Australia CAN successfully launched, which works to decrease the number of pet surrenders due to archaic rental laws, whilst bringing landlords and tenants together.

Australia CAN’s next major projects include Pets in the Aged Care and Pets in Business, which is particularly poignant following COVID lockdowns with the increase of people getting pets and not wanting to return to the office full time, said Ms Ennis.

“Australia CAN is currently actively advocating in support of pets in aged care settings as a major priority for the organisation,” she said.

“Older people are often forced to say goodbye to their companion animals when moving into aged-care accommodation, causing immense grief. Furthermore, the outcomes for their beloved pets vary, including surrender to a shelter. Australia CAN is working with aged care experts to find ways of preserving the bond between people and pets in aged care accommodation.

“Australia CAN needs donor support to continue the work of our members and corporate support to develop our programs. I look forward to building Australia CAN and developing strong partnerships and donor support to allow our members to continue the amazing work they do with the animals and families whilst continuing to develop the programs.”

Australia CAN’s projects include:

Pet friendly homes

  • More rentals welcoming pets
  • More aged care services welcoming pets
  • New building developments that are pet friendly

Pet friendly communities

  • More pet friendly open spaces
  • Increasing transport options
  • Contributing to the role of school-based education

Pet friendly businesses

  • More pet friendly workplaces
  • Increasing pet friendly holiday accommodation options
  • More pet friendly cafes and restaurants
  • Airlines and car transport companies to become pet friendly

Responsible pet ownership

  • Better informed owners
  • Respect the rights of non-pet owners
  • Increasing the levels (coverage) of pet insurance
  • Better bereavement support at the end of a pet’s life
  • Develop accessible standards for responsible pet ownership


For partnership and sponsor enquiries, please email [email protected]

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