ALStrays Pet Transport Newsletter: October 2013

Welcome to our 10th newsletter of 2013.

Word of warning, bit of a long one, and yet more examples of the ongoing pettiness that abounds in the world of animal rescue and transport.

September was a busy month with PETS Scheme and TRACES transports and in total we were able to help 78 pets and rescue animals. This remains our sole priority: the safe and affordable transport of as many pets and rescue animals as we can. For that reason I am always amazed when people assume that we have a problem with other transporters, or indeed see them as competition. The reality is that the market needs more good quality transporters so why transport companies fight and worry about others is beyond me.


Have lost patience with Facebook this month. I have got increasingly frustrated with people adding me to Groups without asking, and I have certainly had enough of the duplicate posting and lack of updates. I have left all but a few Groups that are related to specific project that we are involved with, and automatically leave any that people add me to. If you think I can help with a specific situation, ask, but don’t just stick me in a group.

On a similar vein no point adding me as a friend if you haven’t got a proper profile photo and profile and to be honest given the amount of fake profiles that are being set up to create mischief I am not adding new friends unless I get a PM message at the same time to explain why we should be connected.


We didn’t invent it! From the number of people complaining about the fact that we are insisting that a rescue animal is transported under TRACES, and asking people to specifically confirm that their pet qualifies for the PETS Scheme, you would have thought this is our system!

For the record, I think TRACES is totally over the top for a rescue animal. I was involved with DEFRA years ago during the Foot & Mouth crisis as we had developed a Traceability Application for them, and the TRACES system is designed for situations like that, not the adoption of a rescue animal.

Animal Express should be applauded for sending in a suggested alternative, as indeed we have done. There’s has been rejected by the EU. Ours was more of a suggestion for future discussion. I would suggest that all transporters try and engage with DEFRA to try and achieve a more workable solution.

In the meantime TRACES is the correct way and I am disappointed at how few rescues are even prepared to read the information and understand what it entails, never mind are refusing to register. It really isn’t that hard, and although it adds a layer of administration and more travel, the health certificates are free and it does allow a transporter to carry more animals than under the PETS Scheme so the unit price can be lower.

By way of example I had one exchange this month where I was told that TRACES would make the cost more prohibitive. They were saying the form cost 12.50€ (which I am sure is wrong as they are meant to be free) and they would have to drive 50km for the inspection. On the other had, said I, TRACES enables us to take a small or medium dog to Germany for 90€, whereas a typical price from other transporters is 150€ – so surely TRACES makes it cheaper?

Let me very clear. It is not our position, intent, or desire to get involved in the debate as to what other transporters and rescues do. We have made our decision and are very comfortable with it. If you read the site, fill in the booking form, and say your pet qualifies for the PETS Scheme we will believe you. If you say it is a rescue animal then we will require the TRACES documentation. With us as we deal with only a limited number of rescues we have a pretty good idea of what is a pet and what is a rescue animal, and of course when we have multiple bookings from one rescue it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that TRACERS is required.


We are off to Bosnia again on the 20th October to collect rescue dogs that have been re-homed in France and Switzerland. This will be outs third transport from Bosnia this year, and the plan is to do one very two or three months next year.

We have set up a donations system in the UK with a co-ordinator so we will be taking a van load of donations with us each time as well.


On the subject of donations, if you don’t use us to transport your animals don’t ask us to bring back donations. We have more than enough requests from those that use us so we are not able to even consider bringing them back for people that don’t use us.


The lack of a TRACES registered rescue centre is causing all kinds of problems and resulting in more preventable dog deaths as we simply can’t go to Romania and bring back 15 dogs under the PETS Scheme. At the moment we are working with one organisation in the UK to try and set up a TRACES compliant transport between Romania and the UK on an ongoing basis for next year.


Have been told that as of next year Malaga airport will only allow two animals per person per flight. Am not 100% on this but the person that told me uses Malaga for flights all the time and was contacting me to set up an alternative so it does look like it is true.

On the subject of flights I was made aware this month that a lot of people don’t know that when you are transporting a cat by air they require you to take the cat out of the box at the airport. A cat escaped at Alicante airport when they did this at security. Fortunately it was caught two days later but please be aware that your cat will need to be taken out of the box so stick a harness on it!

Karoline Schmidt

I first came across Karoline when she left a comment (on this post) asking for more information on TRACES

Hi, I have read your new website with a lot of interest. And I would like to use you for future transports. But I am a bit unsure about the TRACES documents.
Could you please explain what for documents this are?
Thank you.


I replied with this comment, inviting her to email me for further information

TRACES is the EU wide system which allows one government vet (from the country the animal is being sent from) to notify the government vet in the country receiving the animal that a re-homed cat or dog is being transported. It ensures the paperwork is correct, that the animal has been inspected and that the transport company conforms to the necessary standards. It isn’t something that a transport company can be registered for so the paperwork must come from the organisation sending the animal. If you need any further information please email us.

What followed was perfectly normal email exchange:

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your reply yesterday, but still I can not see which documents I have to organise.

What the TRACES system is I know, because I read it many times on the internet and there are some good German explanations.

Unfortunately I do not know which documents are required apart from a health certificate.

Look, I do work with a small private rescue centre close to Valencia and in the moment we fly appr. 8 dogs out/month to Germany. But I am not a great fan of this flight thing. So I am looking for an alternative transport via road.

So far as I know I have first to get your travel route, your transport company name, the name of the drivers, your number plate registration and your Lizensnumber to apply for the health certificate. Then the gov vet comes to our little shelter a day before and inspects the animals and issues a health certificate?

What are the other TRACES documents you refer to on your website?

Thank you for your patience with me, but it is all new for me.

And I do not want to book and then loose the money because I failed to provide the correct documents.

Kind regards,


No problem.

There are two aspects to the paperwork.

First as a rescue you have to be registered to use TRACES or you need to use a rescue that is. We can’t really help with this as we aren’t a rescue so do not have an option to register.

Your local Junta will be able to advise you, and I am sure you will know a rescue that is already TRACES registered.

The rest is as you say in your email.

Five days before the transport date you need to send the passports to the official vet along with the information he requires about us (it varies what they actually ask for) but in general that is: Van Certification and Registration, Route, Schedule etc. We have all this so whatever they require we can send through.

Next you have to take the dogs for their inspection a day before and he will then fill in the health certificate. That is all you need to do. They fill in the paperwork. You get a copy to give to us with the dog which we then give to the new owner and the vet registers the dogs on the TRACES system.

It really is easy.

Hope that helps, and we will happily transport your dogs to Germany every month.


Thanks for your quick response.

And I am pleased to hear that their is no other documents for TRACES needed.

And the copy of the health certificate will go with the dog then to the new owner?

Can you tell me by chance with health certificate it is, obviously there is some confusion going on also.



The health certificate is provided by the official vet. You tell them how many dogs you sending and they order the forms.

The new owner gets the forms yes and must keep them for two years.


All pretty normal I think you will agree.

Then on the 22nd September I got this email:

Hi Chris,
I wonder if you have spaces for dogs for November. Going to Karlsruhe and Hannover?



I was driving at the time so replied:

I will look when I get back from this trip

We should have space but we only go to Bruchsal Wallau and Cologne


Her response:

I did not know you are on a trip… silly me. You should have said something and you could have a nice breakfast with your team in my house.
I live just a few km away from Bruchsal. Even if it was 6.00 in the morning 🙂

At this point I did comment to my co.-driver that this was a little weird as having looked at the site to know that we had a transport at the end of the month it was obvious that we had a transport ongoing. The alarm bells as they say rang loud and clear.

My response was:

We will be at Bruchsal about 3pm

Her reply:

Fancy a coffee? I could meet you ot Vichy road… would be lovely.

So a person that works in animal rescue, that is concerned over the welfare of their dogs being transported would think it a good idea that we stopped for coffee and a chat while we had dogs on board requiring delivery! I think not.

Can’t. Too many people waiting for their dogs

Can in October and you can see van etc

And then it gets interesting. The next email I got was in German:

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,
ich moechte Ihnen hiermit einen Hundetransport, der mit Tierschutzhunden aus Spanien kommend beladen ist, und heute nachmittag gegen 15:00 in Bruchsal,+76646+Bruchsal,+Germany&ftid=0x4797a6a50f45447f:0xc0fa521dae65d3ec eintreffen wird.

Mir ist bekannt, dass man den Transporter bereits heutemorgen in den fruehen Morgenstunden erwartet hat, aber dem war unueblicherweise nicht so. Bitte entnehmen Sie untenstehender Originalkonversation, dass er gegen 15:00 dort eintreffen wird.

Es ist davon auszugehen, dass der Transporter (weisser Opel Movano , Lenkrad rechtshaendig, Nummernschild DY62TXR) mit Hunden und Katzen ueberladen ist, da er lediglich 10 Kaefige mit sich fuehrt, dies sind seine eigenen Angaben von seiner Webseite. Nach seinen Angaben befinden sich mehrere Tiere in einem Kaefig, was nach dem geltenenden europaeischen Tierschutzgesetz bezueglich des Transportes verboten ist, sofern die Tiere nicht aus einer Familie stammen.
Der Fahrer und sein Beifahrer sind bereits non-stop seit gestern Mittag unterwegs, und werden die Fahrt noch heute nach Holland und England fortsetzen. Ob die Tiere alle acht Stunden mit Wasser versorgt worden sind und innerhalb der gesetzlichen 24 Stunden mit Futter versorgt worden sind, ist stark zu bezweifeln.

Zudem werden die Tiere offensichtlich nicht mit den korrekten Papieren eingefuehrt werden. Da es Tierschutzhunde- & Katzen sind, sollten diese mit einem EU Intra health certificate, also einem Europaeischen Gesundheitszeugnis, eingefuehrt werden. Der Wahrscheinlichkeit liegt aber nur ein klinische Untersuchung, die im Heimtierausweis unter der Sektion IX festgehalten wird, vor. Aber dazu wird Ihnen das Kreisveterinaeramt mit Sicherheit mehr sagen koennen.

Bitten finden Sie angefuegt ein Photo von dem Innenraum des Fahrzeuges, ausgestattet mit den 10 Kaefigen, in denen mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit mehr als 30 Hunde transportiert werden. Im Uebrigen sitzen die Tiere waehrend der ganzen Fahrt in Dunkelheit und es ist zu bezweifeln, dass die Klimaanlage in der Fahrerkabine genuegend Frischluft in den hinteren Bereich einfuehrt aufgrund der soliden Zwischentrennung.

Mit freundlichen Gruessen

K. Schmidt

Which translated via Google Translate as:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like you herewith a dog transport , loaded with animal protection dogs coming from Spain, and this afternoon around 15:00 in Bruchsal will arrive .

I am aware that you have already this morning the transporter expected in the early hours of the morning , but it was not unueblicherweise way. Please see below original conversation that he will arrive there around 15:00 .

It is assumed that the transporter (white Opel Movano , Steering Wheel Right , number plate DY62TXR ) is overloaded with cats and dogs , as it leads only 10 cages with them , these are his own account of his website. According to his information , there are several animals in a cage , which is prohibited by the applicable end european animal protection laws regarding the transport, provided that the animals do not come from a family.

The driver and his passenger have been non-stop since yesterday afternoon on the way , and will continue the journey today to Holland and England . Whether the animals were supplied with water every eight hours and have been supplied within the statutory 24 hours with food , is highly doubtful .

In addition , the animals were apparently not been executed with the correct papers. Since there are animal shelter dogs & cats, this should be an intra EU health certificate , ie a European health certificate is executed. The probability is only a clinical examination , which is held in the pet passport under Section IX , above . But for that you can say is the more Kreisveterinaeramt with security .

Please find added a photo of the interior of the vehicle , equipped with 10 cages , where more than 30 dogs are transported with high probability. For the rest, the animals sitting in the dark during the whole trip and it is doubtful that the air conditioning in the cab enough fresh air into the back of insertion due to the solid intermediate separation.

Sincerely yours
K. Schmidt

Shortly after I got this email in response to my offer to meet in October

Ah, I see… that’s a shame. But yeah, looking forward to October then.


Followed by:

I understand completly.
However I just sent to my partners here in German an email too, just to say that I can have a look
at your van, what is quite a nice offer. Hope you do not mind.


Oh dear! I guess the first rule of trying to drop someone in it is to not send them the email trying to.

The second I guess is to get your facts right.

Let’s look at what she got right in the translated email.

errr ….. nothing!

OK, now let’s look at what she got wrong!

1. Overloaded with cats and dogs: well every cat and dog being transported under TRACES was signed off by the official vet in Spain so they knew the size of the van and the number of animals this is clearly not the cases as they wouldn’t sign off more animals than they felt it was safe to transport.

2. 10 cages: err the site clearly says that we change the configuration depending on transport so she had absolutely no idea how many cages we had configured, It was more than 10 needless to say.

3. What EU law that says animals can’t be transported in the same cage? Must be one that the official vets don’t know about as they see us load the animals up when we take them for their inspection!

4. We take regular breaks whilst driving and walk the dogs. We were not going to Holland. We had a scheduled rest break at Calais in the secure area once cleared pet passport to sleep before going onto England.

5. The dogs and cats all travel with water bowls in their cages which are topped up as required. We travel with 12 litres of water which we replenish several times on each trip. In addition to walking all the dogs we also feed them.

6. Every rescue cat and dog was traveling with the necessary TRACES paperwork as issued by the government vet.

7. We did not have more than 30 dogs, we didn’t even have 30 dogs.

8. In order to pass the DEFRA certification the van when fitted with a bulk head has to have ventilation for the back, which ours has. (You may recall the Italian police wanted to see this a few trips ago)

Wrong on pretty much every count but that didn’t stop her from sending off an email.

I am sorry if this has bored you but it is just the latest example of the total s*** that people think it is OK to just make up in oder to try and make trouble.

What does this mean for ALStrays Transport? To be honest, nothing. We will continue to do everything exactly the same. We have never posted the schedules for specific transports online as we always felt that was unsafe given the number of people looking to steal dogs for profit across Europe. We recently stopped posting updates online other than on the password protected page for the individual transporters so only those involved with the animals on a transport can access the updates and live tracking. We have never posted photos of the cats and dogs been transported online as again we felt that advertising what we had and where it was was a security risk for the animals. We do post a few photos on the password protected page, and will continue to do so as people often request a photo.

Initially we did this to ensure the security of the animals. We also got totally fed up with the gloating and triumphalism that Facebook had become and decided we wanted to be no part of it. Now we will do it to ensure that those intent of spreading lies and creating problems do not have access to the information.

We are hiding nothing. As EVERY transport we do i.e. to UK or across Europe includes animals being transported under TRACES the details of each transports are registered with the official government vet who knows the number of animals on board, the size of the van, the schedule and locations of every animal.

When we set up the transports three years ago we did so to help transport the re-homed cats to Germany that Sands is involved with. That is and always will be our main priority. We will continue to transport the cats and dogs that have been re-homed by the protector’s that we work for under TRACES. We will take cats and dogs into the UK once a month under the relevant scheme, and we will continue to build up the charter transports (Bosnia, Romania, Belgium, Italy).

We are currently doing as many transports as we can physically do, and there are hundreds more cats and dogs that require transport each month, so why would we ever have a problem with there being more transport companies. I can only hazard a guess that those transport companies that problems with others being around are more concerned about their financial position than in helping the animals.

You will see a lot less of us online in the future. I simply don’t have any interest in the two faced, back biting, petty minded liars and idiots that seem to be dominating the animal rescue world at the moment. It is a genuine shame as there are some amazing people out there helping the animals. It is a privilege to know them, and an even greater privilege when they ask us to help them with their animals. We will just keep our head down, do what we do, do it to the best of our ability, and leave everyone else to do things however they want to.

And Finally

I have mentioned many times that people can’t read. Here is a classic from this month:

My Email: Is XXXXX in the pererra in XXXXX?

We should be there around 7.30pm but I am still in France so will confirm later

The Reply: yes he is.

What time are you going to get here?

Multiply that by 20 and you are living in my world!!

Future Transports


14th: PETS Scheme transport to UK: FULL

26th: TRACES transport to Europe: limited spaces available


9th: PETS Scheme transport to UK : 3 spaces currently valuable

22nd: TRACES transport to Europe: spaces available


14th: TRACES transport to UK & PETS Scheme transport to UK: 8 spaces left to UK, spaces available on TRACES

Useful Links

PETS Transport Scheme

If you are in any doubt as to what the PETS Scheme is, or if you and your pet qualify then please check out the information on this post


If you have re-homed a cat or dog, recently adopted a cat or dog that requires transporting, or the ownership of the cat or dog will change as a result of the transport then you MUST transport the animal via the TRACES Scheme. You can check out the details on this post


You can see our latest schedule and availability on this post


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