EU Tightens Pet Passport Rules

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Expat passionate about their pet cats, dogs and ferrets face tougher border checks under new European Union rules.

From December 29, 2014, the current pet passport laws change.

Tighter rules are aimed at curbing pet owners who try to abuse the scheme and making imported pets easier to trace once they enter an EU country from another member state.

The pet travel scheme lets pet owners take cats, dogs and ferrets in and out of EU countries without any requirement for quarantine, as long as the scheme rules are obeyed.

Travel documents

The new rules make qualifying for a pet passport tougher by:

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  • Setting a minimum age of 12 weeks before a vet is allowed to vaccinate a pet against rabies
  • Requiring more information about pets and vets treating pets and certifying vaccinations
  • Ordering all European Union countries to carry out pet passport checks at all border crossings rather than approved routes
  • Setting new deadlines for non-commercial movement of pets by third parties if an owner cannot travel with their pet

From December 29, all pets must have a microchip identifying the animal and vets will issue new travel documents to comply with the rule changes.

Current pet passports are still valid for the pet’s lifetime or until they run out of space for treatment details.

The new rules also ban using the pet travel scheme for transporting animals for sale across EU borders. For owners selling pets, different rules apply.

Rabbits and rodents

Moving pet rodents, rabbits, birds, ornamental fish, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles between the UK and other EU countries is restriction free.

Bringing in pet rabbits and rodents from outside the EU must spend four months in quarantine and the animal must have a rabies import licence.

Contact the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) for more information on travel rules for these pets.

“Essentially, anyone who already has a pet passport for a cat, dog or ferret does not need a new one when the rules change,” said a spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

“The rules will be enforced across the EU and help pet checkers at borders carry out compliance checks. The rules also stop the movement of young pets around the EU.”

The spokesman added that any pet owners failing to comply with the new rules could face having their pet put into quarantine – and if this happens, they are responsible for all fees and charges relating to the care and treatment of the animal.

Read more details about the changes to pet passports

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