UK rabies warning from Chief Vet after illegal Ukrainian pet movement

UK rabies warning image: creative commons

Quarantine measures are in place for a shipment of animals with falsified rabies documentation from the Ukraine as the British public are urged to contact authorities to help prevent any disease spread.

Follow-up border checks by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) showed a shipment of 19 animals imported by a rescue charity travelled on falsified rabies documentation, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said in a statement issued on Saturday, March 26.

Animal rehoming charities have been urged to ensure any rescued animals enter the country with the necessary vaccination paperwork after an illegal movement of Ukrainian dogs was discovered, risking the UK’s rabies-free status.

The dogs had been rehomed and fostered by families across Great Britain, but local authorities and APHA are now tracing the animals to protect public health and ensure the UK remain rabies free.

The animals are being placed in quarantine while a further decision is made on their disease risk level.

UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: “Checks have confirmed that these animals did not receive the necessary blood tests to enter the UK.

“We are taking quick action to limit the risk of disease spreading by quarantining all animals involved in this case until further notice.

“We are grateful for the cooperation of the households involved and would encourage the public to contact us with any information they may have.”

Animals without the correct vaccinations pose a real disease threat both owners´ beloved animals and to people whilst also impacting the rabies-free status the UK has held for many years.

Earlier this month, the Government confirmed new emergency support for those fleeing Ukraine with their pets. Using an emergency licence, people fleeing the country can bring their pets to the UK with any quarantine costs fully covered.

There is a limited amount of quarantine facilities in the UK and the government is prioritising measures for those fleeing Ukraine who wish to bring their pets with them, rather than animals being brought over on a commercial basis, including rescue imports.

If you believe you have taken in a Ukrainian pet with falsified documentation from a charity, please contact the APHA helpline on 03000 200 301 to help ensure they can be quarantined as soon as possible.

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Written by

Fergal MacErlean

Originally from Dublin, Fergal is based on the eastern Costa del Sol and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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