Emergency support put in place for people fleeing Ukraine and entering the UK with their pets
The Government has put in place new emergency support for those fleeing Ukraine with their pets. Using an emergency licence, people fleeing Ukraine can bring their pets to the UK with any quarantine costs met by the Government.
The Animal and Plant Health Agency is providing quick licence approvals and quarantine arrangements to avoid creating additional burdens or delays. The Government will also be covering their vaccination, microchipping and quarantine costs, recognising that many individuals from Ukraine will not have been able to complete the full health preparations required for their pet on arrival.
The maximum stay in quarantine for a pet which has received no rabies vaccination is four months. Pets will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with a shortened quarantine period for those that are vaccinated.
The Government is also introducing a new rabies blood test that will be able to detect existing rabies vaccinations. This will help in instances where refugees have travelled without vaccination paperwork.
Results can be turned around in a minimum of two days with some animals then moving to isolation if they are found to have rabies antibodies. This will help maintain our strict biosecurity measures and allow people to be reunited more quickly with their pets when possible.
We are working with vets and quarantine facilities to make sure that the arrival of Ukrainians in the UK is not delayed by the process to make arrangements for their pets.
Animal Welfare Minister Lord Goldsmith said:
People having to flee Ukraine are in an appalling situation. I’m pleased that Ukrainian refugees will be able to bring their pets to the UK with any quarantine costs paid for by the Government.
As part of our new streamlined process, any animals which have already received some treatment may also have their stay in quarantine facilities reduced and be returned back to their owner as soon as possible.
Before arrival, people leaving the Ukraine or their carrier should contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency at email@example.com or call +44 3000 200 301 option 2. They will then be able to confirm their approval for their emergency licence and organise any necessary stay in quarantine which is required to complete the rabies risk management process.
There is a limited amount of quarantine facilities in the UK and we will prioritise those fleeing Ukraine who wish to bring their pets with them.
The Chief Veterinary Officer recently urged rehoming charities to check online guidance and ensure rescue animals have the necessary vaccination paperwork after recent follow-up border checks by the APHA showed a shipment of 19 animals imported by a rescue charity travelled illegally on falsified rabies documentation.
We have serious ongoing concerns around the commercial movement of animals between or from Ukraine and neighbouring countries and the health risk that presents. The UK has been rabies free for 100 years. The movement of large numbers of rescue animals who are entering Great Britain from high-risk rabies countries, without the correct health preparations, presents serious risks to biosecurity and public health. There has also been a number of serious instances of non-compliant imports, including those under falsified paperwork.
To ensure we continue to prioritise those fleeing Ukraine with their own pets, all commercial imports of dogs, cats and ferrets from Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and Romania have been temporarily suspended for a further eight weeks.