Pooches, Cats, You and Me

Written by admin on July 13, 2006 – 4:13 pm -

It’s been an ongoing battle about how to bring your canine and feline “children” into the EU and not have to have them sit in quarantine because they haven’t been guaranteed 100% rabies free.

The Brits have been the strictest of all, so much so that Liz Taylor and Richard Burton (husband #five and six – out of eight) were forced to charter a yacht so their beloved, much spoiled dogs wouldn’t be separated from their masters, while the tempestuous duo was filming in the Queen’s territory.

The laws have changed over the years. The definitive site for now is: www.Defra.gov.uk, which lists the strictest rules, so there is less chance for oversight on your part, hence, problems.

Be sure to keep checking here frequently, since laws and regulations constantly change and you don’t want to get stuck leaving animal family member(s) behind – - something that recurrently happens  when people are transferred from one country to another.   Defra addresses the regulations regarding all types of animals, as well as produce.

To make it short and sweet, the following is required so your four legged critters can have their own EU marine blue passports complete with the circle of tiny yellow stars!

All animals must have readable micro-chips implanted in the neck area to verify that you’re not trying to bring a stray into the EU with phony papers. These chips are also a good idea in any case your animal should wander. When/ if they are found, the animals can be scanned and vets can access precise identification regarding the owner.

Rabies shots are mandatory; six weeks after they are administered, animals are required to undergo a blood test (just a prick of the paw) affirming the vaccine was potent enough to take. You’d be surprised how many animals flunk this test and have to start again from the get-go. Until the blood test comes back clear and clean, documenting the animal is rabies-free, your animal won’t be permitted to enter the EU.

Make certain you don’t miss any shots. If you do, the previous vet visits and dollars/ Euros (and other currencies) you’ve gone through to get your sweet creature EU ready will be for naught.  Only a few labs have the monopolies to do the blood analysis, so expect the investment to be considerable.

Within ten days of leaving one country for another, the animal must be examined by a local veterinarian and given a clean bill of health. Remember to do this coming and going. If you forget to go through the same routine on the return voyage, you’ll be required to wait until a vet in that country can perform a health examination.  This may take days and cause avoidable frustration.

Some people don’t mind sending animal to kennels – or camp.   I happen to be one who does and, since I plan to be away for more than a month, wouldn’t want to miss my cat’s creature companionship. Our Kitty has just made her maiden transatlantic voyage for which we were charged 90 Euros each way. I’m lobbying she should have her own frequent flyer number but suspect I’m going to lose out on that battle.  I might not have brought her with me to the US had she not been able to ride in the cabin. Kitty (or Voila – as she was named by a dear friend — since her appearance was unexpected and unwelcome) didn’t make a peep.

No one was aware she was onboard. She didn’t even request a drink (but I requested ice chips for her to curb any dehydration), which is more than I can say about some of the passengers who were feeling no pain. – much to the chagrin of the flight staff who were threatening to turn the plane around since two people were drinking booze they had brought on the plane and ultimately had to be restrained.  Drinking liquor that hasn’t been purchased from the flight attendants is highly illegal and these two men (who might have been undergoing alcohol and/or drug detox) were met upon arrival by a dozen police and airline officials.

I suspect they didn’t make it through customs. But, Kitty had zero problems and is now learning there’s a world outside of France. For a while that is ….

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