Trouble in Paradise as receivers take over pet group

The Age Aug 1 2012 Lucy Battersby and Maris Beck

Labradore puppies at Pets Paradise store in Southland shopping centre.

What’s all the fuss about? This Labrador pup at the Pets Paradise store at Southland Shopping Centre is oblivious to the turmoil that has beset his owners. Photo: Angela Wylie

THE Pets Paradise empire at the centre of a deadly puppy virus outbreak is close to collapse after its bank seized control and appointed corporate undertakers.

The bank’s swoop follows legal action against another part of a retail kingdom controlled by Melbourne man Gary John Diamond, which left a $1.2 million legal bill unpaid.

The Bank of Melbourne, which is owed $11 million, yesterday appointed Deloitte as receivers to Pets Paradise, part of Mr Diamond’s Paradise Retail Holdings group.

The Hallam-based corporate group includes both Pets Paradise and national cafe chain Billy Baxter’s, which is also in financial trouble.

Receivers said company-operated Pets Paradise stores had been struggling for 18 months.

The national chain of 62 pet stores has not been helped by an outbreak of parvovirus, which causes bloody dysentery and vomiting, striking puppies sold from at least two Melbourne stores.

Deloitte spokesman Simon Rushton told The Age there was ”no link between any cases of parvovirus and the appointment of the receivers and administrators”. ”This is all about the underperformance of the group,” he said.

It is not clear what effect the financial strain will have on pet stores operated by franchisees.

”The stores will continue to trade for the time being and animal welfare will be the highest priority,” Mr Rushton said.

Last week the Federal Court in South Australia appointed provisional liquidators to one of the companies in the group, Billy Baxters (Franchising), after it failed to pay a franchisee $1.2 million in court-ordered damages.

Provisional liquidators are appointed to preserve the company’s assets ahead of a hearing to wind up the company.

The franchisee claimed they were misled about how much money they could reap from a Billy Baxter’s cafe on Glenelg Jetty, Adelaide.

Land title records show Mr Diamond’s home, in the eastern Melbourne suburb Harkaway, is subject to a high-interest second mortgage taken out by his lawyers, Macpherson & Kelly. Interest on the $60,000 loan is charged at 20 per cent, with repayments due every month until next May.

Paradise Retail Holdings has not filed financial records since 2006, when it recorded a profit of $16.5 million.

Pets Paradise Southland was open for business yesterday, displaying two Labrador puppies inside its glass pens.

Original here…

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6 Comments

Filed under Pet shops

6 responses to “Trouble in Paradise as receivers take over pet group

  1. Lee

    It would be nice if all Pets Paradise stores closed down and were replaced with stores that sell goods for animals, but not animals, or are adoption centres.

  2. Jan Baker

    It will be good to see Pets Paradise stores closed down completely. They have had parvo virus in a NSW store & they don’t know enough about how to sterilize or clean these animals glass cages. They employ young girls who know nothing about animals & just leave them to clean up the mess. There head office in Melbourne were rude to me when I told them about the parvo in their store at Blacktown. All they want to do is make money out of exploiting these puppy farmed dogs. Well it will be good riddens to all their stores when they go.

  3. sharon chamberlain

    Hopefully other pet stores will discontinue to sell puppies and kittens and this will be the start of the puppy mills closing down as well.

  4. Catty Bates

    Nice. Now, the money is going. Good. Now when are the legal actions going to take place? To be so careless about a deadly virus… there are charges for this kind of behaviour, right? Or am I living in fantasy land?

  5. John

    Be prepared to upgrade your fried eggs to scrambled eggs for an extra $3 when you buy a big breakfast from Billy Baxters. What an effing joke! $16 meal turns to a $19 meal just cos you want your eggs scrambled, wtf!?

  6. John

    Oh and I forgot to mention the extremely poor customer service by the manager at the Ipswich, Qld store. On a good note, the young girl waiting our table was nice, however she is still training, she isn’t getting paid for her shift but was willing to work as she is desperate for work/training. Good on her. And is it not illegal for Billy Baxters not to pay her for her time? She is probably the only one who deserves it. Shame on you Billy Baxters

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