This article in The Times caught my eye recently, not that we have any plans to take the gang back to Spain, although the Spanish cats and dogs do have EU passports.
I haven’t really looked at the pet passport scheme post Brexit in detail, but is no surprise that the UK system is more complicated than the EU one!
Top on most people’s list of reasons to envy the French are wine, cheese and sex. To this we may now add dogs.
Or, more specifically, the nonchalant ease with which their dogs scamper over European borders with a fully functioning pet passport system.
The hassle and cost of getting vet certificates to take pets across the Channel means that British owners are increasingly seeking to pass off their animals as continentals. Since Brexit, when the government failed to secure continued access to the pet passport regime, dogs, cats and ferrets have had to jump through extra hoops to get to Europe. However, anyone with a holiday home on the Continent or in Ireland can apply for a local passport, allowing them to avoid many of the new administrative hurdles.
Pet passports issued in Britain have not been valid in EU countries or Northern Ireland since January 1, so visitors taking their pets abroad have needed an animal healthcare certificate instead.
This costs about £180, according to the Royal Veterinary College, and is valid for ten days for travel to Europe, and four months for re-entering Britain. The certificate must be issued by an “official veterinarian”, who will need proof of the pet’s microchipping date and vaccination history.
Dogs also need a microchip, valid rabies jab and tapeworm treatment in order to travel to Finland, Ireland, Norway or Malta. The rules apply to guide dogs as well as pets.
Owners may not bring more than five pets unless they are going to a competition, show or sporting event, and must obtain a new certificate every time they travel.
Benji Lewis, 54, owns a château northeast of Biarritz, in the south of France. The interior designer from Bucklebury, Berkshire, has two labradoodles, Frank and Tom, and Cooper, a French mongrel rescue.
“Cooper’s got a French passport so we’ve never had any problems with him,” said Lewis. “Our labradoodles had to be microchipped and jabbed before we went in June, all signed off with a valid health certificate.”
Lewis, who says he would consider getting French citizenship himself, is thinking of getting French passports for his English dogs, who are both ten years old. “It’s a sensible idea but I need to phone the vet in France and see if they can do anything before we go at Christmas.”
Vets in France can issue pet passports to foreign home owners at their discretion, provided the dog has been microchipped and has received a rabies jab.
A petition to scrap animal health certificates started by Christoper Slade, a dog owner from Worthing, near Brighton, has attracted more than 11,000 signatures. He wants the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to renegotiate the pet passport scheme with EU countries.
The passport describes the animal and gives details of its treatments and its owner. British people living in an EU country with a pet passport issued there can use it to bring the pet to the UK, and again when they return to the EU.