No TRACES requirement for pets travelling in the EU +5 days before or after their owners

flag_yellow_lowA new EU pet travel scheme regulation was due to be introduced on 29 December 2014. It required dogs, cats and ferrets travelling between EU countries more than five days before or after their owners to be recorded on the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES).

This regulation has been withdrawn. Dogs, cats and ferrets just need a valid pet passport, even if they’re travelling more than five days before or after their owners.

However, pets being rehomed from one EU country to another with a change of ownership do need to be recorded on TRACES. See our blog from last month for more information.

In addition, some other changes to the EU pet travel scheme come into effect on 29 December 2014Read our blog to find out more.

Paperwork complexity as we depart Athens

Animalcouriers are leaving Athens with three dogs who are bound for the UK. All three dogs are owned by Athenian residents who have relocated to the UK for work, and are travelling on TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) health certificates. Theoretically, the dogs don’t need these health certificates but there seems to be some confusion in Greece on this matter.

To give some background: there has been correspondence between Animalcouriers and Eurogroup for Animals (the leading voice for animal welfare at European Union level), and between that group and the European Commission on our behalf. Between us we have tried to clear a path with the Greek authorities.

In terms of what we are talking about, there are essentially two categories of pet travel. The European Commission clarifies those two categories as follows:

“If the dog follows the owner in its way back from Greece to the UK, Greece cannot ask more than the requirements laid down in Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 and they should even not require to see the dogs.

If the dogs (not yet owned, or owned but the owner is not moving with his dog) are moving by a transport company from Greece to the UK, the animals have to comply with the requirements of Directive 92/65/EEC (come from registered holdings/businesses, TRACES certificate and notification to the MS [member state] of destination).”

Therefore, all depends on the kind of movement we are talking about. All the dogs travelling with us today fall into the first category, so all we should need for each dog is:

  • A pet passport
  • A declaration from the owner giving Animalcouriers permission to transport their dog for them to their new address in the UK

Instead, in addition to the above, the general requirements for TRACES have had to be met, and more additional paperwork provided for each dog:

  • Evidence that it has been neutered
  • Proof of ownership, an adoption paper from the Greek municipality they lived in
  • Proof that the owners are who they are who they say they are, and of where they are living in the UK

This is making it very difficult for people who want to relocate from Greece to take their pets with them. We hope that over time it will become easier for people to travel with their pets.

What we are experiencing seems to be contrary to the founding principles of free movement of people and goods across Europe — almost a matter of human rights.

These draconian measures layered into obtaining permission to take owned pets that are following their families have prevented four dogs from travelling with us this month as their owner’s vets did not know where to start in providing advice. Thee three dogs travelling with us today come from Athens, where we were able to find an official vet who could help and process the unnecessary paperwork!

The situation is causing considerable worry as we correspond with clients who are relocating with their pets from Greece to the UK and are wondering how they will do it.

Lisa, one of the dogs travelling with us from Athens today

Lisa, one of the dogs travelling with us from Athens today

A late Christmas reunion down under for Bella, Beau and Tinkerbelle

Alex and Tom were finally reunited with their dog and cats just a few days into the new year. It was a tearful goodbye in October when Alex and Tom headed off, leaving their beloved pets to stay at Burntwood Kennels until they became eligible to enter Australia.

Animalcouriers arranged for this intrepid trio to fly out to Sydney, where they spent their quarantine period at Eastern Creek Animal Quarantine Facility. Animalcouriers then organised for Jet Pets Australia to collect them and fly them to Melbourne for their joyous reunion with Alex and Tom.

Alex tells us:

“They’re here! They’re all well! They remembered us!! They seem happy! I’m soooooo happy!!!! Thank you so much for all your help. We are so pleased with your service we will recommend you to everyone. We have found some great walks for Bella and the cats have got some new toys! Thank you again for making this so easy for me. You are a godsend.”

Alex unable to contain her excitement

Alex unable to contain her excitement

Alex with Bella

Alex with Bella

Bella enjoying the Aussie sunshine

Bella enjoying the Aussie sunshine

Bella cuddled up with Tom and the two cats

Bella cuddled up with Tom and the two cats

Helping Arfar to cool down

After half an hour on the road we could hear Arfar breathing very loudly. Concerned that it sounded rather strained, we stopped to check on him.

Poor Arfar was stretched out in his bedroom, seemingly unable to move. Luckily there was a water trough nearby, so we carried him over to it and turned on the cold tap to cool him down under the running water.

Within a very short time he was back to normal, standing up and looking at us as if to say, “That’s better! Time to get back on the road now.” He then walked in and out of the water a few times, then shook himself all over us as we escorted him back to the van.

Arfar enjoys the cold water running over him

Arfar enjoys the cold water running over him

Arfar douses us in doggy drops

Arfar douses us in doggy drops

Arfar recovered, supervises as courier M remakes his bed

Arfar recovered, supervises as courier M remakes his bed

Last night in Guadalajara (the one in Spain)

Animalcouriers spent last night in Guadalajara, our last stop in Spain before crossing the border into France today.

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We had a call from Eliza asking if we could collect her cat Margot from Madrid. As you can see, she’s a very pretty tabby.

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Handsome Siamese cat Evon is also on board. He’s been chatting away to us this morning, telling us how much he’s looking forward to catching up with Sara.

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Nikita with the sun behind her, but not as beautiful as she is!

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Nikita is very sociable and loves playing games when we’re out for a walk. She has a great doggy sense of humour!

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Her favourite game consists of leaping up into the air, twisting around, then landing gently on all four paws.

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Jake tends to maintain a very sober expression on his face, but if you check at the back end, his tail’s always wagging

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Jake strikes us a quite a conservative sort of chap, so we were rather surprised to notice he’s sporting pink nail varnish! He clammed up when we asked him if there was anything he wanted to tell us. We suspect the answer lies in the fact that there are teenage girls in his family!

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Jake is determined not to give anything away

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Lexi and Leo leaping up as they catch sight of each other — this is what most of our walks with them are like!

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Caught in a rare moment of stillness. They’re a gorgeous pair of Labs.

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Leo putting on a cute look as he sits

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Can’t hold it for too long though!

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Lexi wonders if the ‘training’ is going to be hard work

Jenny’s family of 39 are heading to the UK

Jenny has been living in France with seven cats and 32 small dogs. For family reasons, she’s relocating to Lancashire in the UK, and was faced with the problem of how to move all her cats and dogs.

Jenny contacted Animalcouriers and together we worked out a plan to get them all to the UK. There are plenty of characters among the group who’re keeping couriers S and L very amused.

One of the seven cats

One of the seven cats

How to make one's presence felt!

How to make one’s presence felt!

Quite a cutie

Quite a cutie

These two look like they could make some mischief!

These two look like they could make some mischief!

Just love this face

Just love this face

A ball of fluff

What a smile!

Keeping an eye on what's going on

Keeping an eye on what’s going on

Two balls of fluff

Two balls of fluff

 

Ginger cat Garlic has a new home in Romania

Animalcouriers recently arranged for ginger cat Garlic to fly to Bucharest in Romania, where his owner J has relocated. We think Garlic is a very interesting name for a cat, but then J is a chef!

J dropped us a line to let us know how Garlic is settling in:

Thank you for everything you did in the smooth process of flying Garlic from London to Bucharest. You made what I found to be very stressful the complete opposite. Garlic has settled in well and he is basking in the sunshine. Once again, thank you so much to the whole team.

So handsome!

So handsome!

So relaxed!

So relaxed!

 

Purdey and Cookie are back with Lynn and Bob

Purdey and Cookie are two of the dogs from North Cyprus who accompanied us on our first abortive attempt to enter Turkey.

Because of timing issues, they couldn’t join our second successful attempt. Instead they flew back to the UK and have been home boarding with Animalcouriers’ Lynn while their new home was being prepared.

When Lynn and Bob arrived to collect their dogs, they were full of stories about all the hassles that so often go with moving house: no water, no phone signal and so on. Even so, they’re glad to be back in the UK and of course, Purdey and Cookie went potty when they saw them.

Cookie with Lynn, Purdey with Bob

Cookie with Lynn, Purdey with Bob

And it all seemed to be going so well…

After we left the veterinary department at Mersin port, Diana, Rory, Paige, Jayne and Janet went to check in for their return ferry to North Cyprus. As they reached the window, the very grumpy clerk said: “Closed. Closed at 5.00pm.”

Meanwhile, courier M was at customs getting Animalcouriers permission to leave the port in their van. But the entry of our van’s numberplate onto the computer had a letter O in place of a zero. So they couldn’t process the paperwork.

We then discovered that Diana and her car were being refused permission to leave the port because, according the clerks, it was too late for her to check in.

We must have been looking rather stunned, because a kind bilingual port worker approached to ask if she could help. We explained the situation, and she offered to phone a customs official friend of hers. After a string of phone calls it turned out that the check-in clerks shouldn’t have closed at 5.00pm — they were supposed to stay open until 6.00pm. Their line manager wasn’t too happy with them. We asked if one of the clerks could be asked to come back to the port to help. We were told that one might come back, but that three were needed to check a vehicle out of the port…

Following a quick discussion among ourselves, it was decided that Jayne, Rory, Paige and Janet should take their foot-passenger tickets and get on the ferry, knowing that someone would be able to collect them at Famagusta.

Then suddenly we heard that Diana could go, so she quickly jumped in her car and drove off. Moments later she was back, skidding to a halt and saying, “They wouldn’t let me on, I haven’t got a ticket!”

So the port police found some keys to open an office, then unlock a drawer, then someone wrote Diana a ticket by hand, then they shut and locked the drawer, then they shut and locked the office. “Go, Diana, go!” we cried as she ran off and jumped in her car. Must have made it on board by the skin of her teeth, and we’ve just seen the ferry pull away.

Meanwhile, we’ve been assured that the numberplate mistake can be corrected tomorrow morning on the computer and that we will then be on our way.

Janet waving from the ferry

Janet waving from the ferry

Finally someone comes to talk to Diana

Finally someone comes to talk to Diana

As the dogs' owners leave for North Cyprus, we are left at the dock, hoping we'll be allowed to go on our way tomorrow

As the dogs’ owners leave for North Cyprus, we are left at the dock, hoping we’ll be allowed to go on our way tomorrow

Last night’s crossing, and arrival in Mersin this morning

We waved goodbye to Nathan as he drove off in his grandmother Janet’s car and boarded the ferry.

Various members of the crew came to see us and there were several discussions about the dogs. We wanted the dogs to stay in the van, but were told we had to take them up onto the deck with us. “Upstairs OK,” they said.

So we started the process of decamping onto the back open deck — dog beds and blankets, food and water bowls, and all our own stuff. It took several trips, then we settled down and courier M opened a bottle of wine.

But it got a bit chilly so we went on a recce and found some reclining seats in a lounge area, and moved inside with the dogs. We were all very comfortable until the ship’s purser told us the dogs had to go back outside. We stood our ground and said, either inside or in the van. In the end, he agreed to them going back to the van. (Grins all round!)

The vehicle deck was pretty full and it was quite a job squeezing between the lorries. Roxy was very nervous so, after Diana had settled her other two dogs into the van, she stayed put and called Roxy, who left courier M and and went to her.

Once we were confident the dogs were all comfortable for what was left of the night, we went back to the lounge area. By now it was about midnight. Courier M and Janet played cards, Jayne watched a movie, and everyone else read, until we all eventually fell asleep. We woke this morning to find the ferry pulling into Mersin – only two hours late!

It took us about an hour to clear customs and then Eren and his father arrived from Petical Vets. They checked the dogs’ microchips and agreed we had the right dogs.

We were about to head for the veterinary department but it had closed for lunch, so we had to wait until 2.00 pm for the doors to reopen. Now we’re going through paperwork…

We admired the bright red tug boat that pulled our ferry into the port. They're tough little boats and the crew have to be really skilled.

We admired the bright red tug boat that pulled our ferry into the port. They’re tough little boats and the crew have to be really skilled.

The Turkish port of Mersin is really quite large, along the lines of Piraeus port in Athens. There's an Animal Border Inspection Post and they seem to have an organised structure for managing daily comings and goings. We are hopeful our arrival will be seamless!

The Turkish port of Mersin is really quite large, along the lines of Piraeus port in Athens. There’s an Animal Border Inspection Post and they seem to have an organised structure for managing daily comings and goings. We are hopeful our arrival will be seamless!

On spotting Brandy, one of the port workers proudly told us: "I have a dog like this."

On spotting Brandy, one of the port workers proudly told us: “I have a dog like this.”

Diana coming back from walking Tink, Roxy and Jasper

Diana coming back from walking Tink, Roxy and Jasper

Tink wants more tummy rubs and lap time!

Tink wants more tummy rubs and lap time!

Our knights in shining armour — Petical Vets — in conversation with local police officers

Our knights in shining armour — Petical Vets — in conversation with local police officers

Dr Ozbaba (Eren's father) reaches into his car for a microchip reader

Dr Ozbaba (Eren’s father) reaches into his car for a microchip reader

Waiting outside the veterinary department in the shade — here are Jayne and Reo

Waiting outside the veterinary department in the shade — here are Jayne and Reo

The veterinary department at Mersin port, staffed by kind and helpful people

The veterinary department at Mersin port, staffed by kind and helpful people

Eren from Petical Vets, on the right, celebrates his 27th birthday by checking our pile of paperwork with a representative from the veterinary department

Eren from Petical Vets, on the right, celebrates his 27th birthday by checking our pile of paperwork with a representative from the veterinary department