From Kim Betts…
Over the last couple of months KAR (Kyrenia Animal Rescue) Pet Travel had been asked to help with the relocation of a cat (M) and dog (L) to the UK. Nothing unusual in that you may think as it is something we are doing day in and day out.
Sadly, however, this relocation did not go to plan.
The pets had originated from Russia and had several vet books and vet records. Some were in English, some in Russian and one in yet another language. Some vaccinations had been done in Russia, some in another Eastern bloc Country and others in TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus). So it was quite difficult to trace back and check that everything was in order and recorded correctly – as the records were not all in the same format and many were not in English. The all important Rabies Serology Test Certificate was issued by a laboratory in Russia.
The owner had had some help (from an agency we understand) in Russia to prepare her pets for entry to TRNC, a couple of years ago. Since being in the TRNC she had kept up to date with their rabies vaccinations.
As a matter of course, I had checked that the Russian Lab was one of the EU approved labs acceptable for pet travel into EU and it was. We worked through the books linking the dates from the information given and it seemed that everything was in order.
Their travel dates were set and M was travelling on a Tuesday, with L following on the Wednesday, (as we cannot send cats and dogs together). Their owner had already left for the UK and would be collecting them from Heathrow.
M arrived at Heathrow on the Wednesday and began her UK clearing process. Late in the afternoon, I received a phone call to say that there was a problem with M’s paperwork and there was a concern that the same issue would apply to L – could we stop L from flying. However, it was too late – she was almost at Istanbul on her journey to UK.
We were not told what the issue was at that stage, just that is was a very serious issue! As you can imagine we were horrified – what had happened? Had we not checked something correctly? Had we missed some information out of the paperwork? Had we not counted the days correctly? What ? We scrutinized the copies over and over and could not see anything amiss.
Then came the explanation call —- it was NOT an error on our part ….but it was SERIOUS and M was being denied UK entry. The Rabies Serology Test was a fraudulent one and had not been issued by the Russian Lab at all. The test certificate was ILLEGAL.
Many phone calls and emails went on late into the night between us, London, UK agents and the distraught owner.
There was no other way for M to remain in the UK, but to remain in quarantine for a period up to 4 months – she would need to begin the whole process again, overseen by the UK authorities (who would also be carrying out further investigations into the fraud).
Sadly, L would also have to go into quarantine on arrival in the UK, as she too had a similar certificate and, once checked with the lab in Russia, it too was deemed ILLEGAL.
It is so upsetting for us to have a relocation end in such a way – it is very stressful for everyone (and more so for the pets) concerned. It has turned out to be a VERY expensive relocation for the owner and she will be apart from her pets (although she can visit them) for up to 4 months. She has tried to establish how it happened and we are led to believe that it was connected in some way to the agency that initially helped her in Russia – but we do not know that for a fact.
We have spoken at length to the UK authorities to see if there was some way in which we could have known – but the certificates were so well forged that we would not have known. What they have explained is that there are certain Countries, and certain types of animal relocations, that receive extended scrutiny as they have been linked with previous issues of trying to avoid the rules and regulations that apply to pet travel. The consequence of trying to beat the system is very, very, serious.
It was not a Happy day for KAR Pet Travel but it does serve to remind us that despite all of the checks that we put in place – sometimes it can still go horribly wrong.
Kyrenia Animal Rescue rely solely on donations for funding, please help us to help the animals of Northern Cyprus.
Adopt, Volunteer, Feed, Sponsor, Donate, Love – our animals want all of these but would be happy with just one of them
Tel 009 0533 8694098
Bank Details: HSBC UK: 40-21-02
Account Number 11364812
IBAN No:GB94HBUK 402102 11364812
BIC No: HBUKGB4131B