The Cry Baby is on sabbatical ....

Monday, January 2, 2012

Outrage: British Rescue Dog Spent 6 Months in Quarantine After Rescue Mission – U.K. Now Eases Quarantine Rules For Pets

You would think that after completing a search and rescue mission following the 2009 Indonesian earthquake, British Border Collie Darcy would have received a hero's welcome. Ticker tape parade. Greetings from the Queen. The truth is that upon arriving home the poor mutt had to spend six very long months in a quarantine cell instead.

Darcy in her quarantine cell Courtesy Essex County Fire and Rescue Service
Darcy's handler John Ball of the U.K. International Search and Rescue team was outraged. He told Time, "No rescue dog should have to go through the trauma of being locked away simply because they've been part of a rescue effort in a foreign country." 

Now, thanks to Ball's efforts and two decades of lobbying by dog lovers in the U.K., Britain is easing its strict rules for pets entering the country. The quarantine has been eliminated as of January 1 and waiting times for pets entering the country have been cut.

The archaic quarantine laws date back to 1897, well before vaccines were invented and rabies was a  concern. There has only been one reported case of rabies in quarantined animals in the U.K. since the 1970s. The law was obviously out of date and overdue for change.

  "The U.K.'s quarantine system was designed to combat the threat of rabies in the 19th century and has now been left far behind scientific advances," environment secretary Caroline Spelman said in a statement. "It's time we changed these outdated rules which have caused hardship to generations of pets and pet owners." 

The new rules ask only for proof of a rabies vaccine within the previous 21 days.

Not all countries are exempt from the quarantine, however. The new legislation only applies to pets arriving from E.U countries, the U.S., Canada and other listed countries. Pets arriving from unlisted countries such as India and Brazil, will require the rabies vaccinations and be required to take a blood test. Quarantine will still be required, but the quarantine time has been reduced to three months.

Perhaps the next time Darcy arrives back from a rescue mission she can expect tea with the Queen.

Read more about the new rules here.

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