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Old 23-07-2009, 07:56   #16
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Thanks to all for the comments on clearing animals into the Caribbean.

As Hud 3 comments, rabies is serious and the authorities do all they can to make certain those islands without it, stay that way.

In the BVI we had no problems at all with the exception on one over zealous immigration officer at the west end. The Chief Vet Officer is very accomodating, even getting the above referenced on the phone (my cell no less) to let him know that my two dogs were cleared. It does take some effort but not extraordinary. The titre test for rabies and current health certificates were the big ones. We had our dogs seen by a vet in the USVI just prior to submitting our request for import clearance. That helped as well as our previous health certificate was from Florida which caused the BVI Chief Vet some reserve.

There are numerous vaccines recommended for other islands. I would recommend that you have a "Lymne diease" certificate as well.

As we have gone further "down island" the authorities are much more serious about the dogs. We were asked literally every time the dogs were off the boat if we had the proper paperwork, we did so there was not a problem. St Lucia is very strict with their enforcement of the import requirements. I witnessed one case where the owners were told to get their dog out of the country or it would be put down. This dog NEVER left the boat but did not have the approvals or the titre test to even apply for the approvals.

The biggest problem I have run into is getting the proper forms to even apply for the import. It has been a real challenge and expense to search for the forms, file them via fax and wait for the responses. I filed the forms for Trinidad 5 months ago and still have not received a response.

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Old 25-07-2009, 00:33   #17
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Thanks for the answer, I had forgotten I'd posted!

Starstream, what you wrote about the BVI's: this will apply to Antigua then, yes? I have one cat so it's hard for you to relate because you have dogs that go ashore BUT she NEVER gets off our boat (we are extremely careful with her as she's 15, in renal failure, and is declawed in front, of course spayed).

We reentered the EU in February but we don't have official reentry stamp until March because where we came back in the officials didn't feel like doing paperwork so they just waved us away, "No problem!". In some respects this was great but not for the whole pet thing. We plan on crossing the Atlantic in November or December but from what I am reading that meant the cat needed to have her first titer drawn in June...and it's July. We won't be able to have any titers drawn until August (and that's IF I can find a place in Sicily Italy that will do it!).

I have no issues with complying with the law, I just want to know HOW. All the Defra page talks about is "Importing". I'm not moving to Antigua, I'm just visiting. It's very hard to understand.

Thanks!
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Old 25-07-2009, 05:09   #18
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Bill and Diane,

If your pet is a cat that never goes ashore, you don't have to worry about any red tape at all in the eastern Caribbean.

No need for shots, papers, RF chips or anything. We cruised to all of the eastern Caribbean islands from Vieques to Grenada, except for three (Barbados, Montserrat and Anquilla), and always "declared" our cat when the entry form asked if we had animals on board. The customs/immigration officials never showed the least bit of interest after we wrote, "1 pet cat, always remains on board". That includes Antigua.

When we moved to Nevis, it was a different story, because we were "importing" our cat. Do do that, she had the normal rabies and feline leukemia shots, a registered RFID chip inserted in her shoulder, two sequential rabies titer tests from the University of Kansas, a vet's certificate detailing shot records and health exam, and an endorsement from the US Department of Agriculture, all according to strict timing requirements. Then we were met at the airport by the Nevis government vet, who examined the cat and scanned the RFID chip to verify her identity. Finally, we had to keep her quarantined inside our house for six weeks, with weekly visits from the government vet. Whew! It was much harder to import the cat than it was for us and all our worldly possessions!
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Old 25-07-2009, 09:34   #19
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Portuguese Water Dogs are known for their tremendous swimming ability!
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:23   #20
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the Portuguese Waterdog

A Portuguese Water Dog is a pretty energetic animal. No way to keep him locked on board all the time.[/QUOTE]

Scuba, our Portuguese Water Dog is now 2 years old and lives on board with us, for the last 6 months. She is a fantastic companion and she behaves very well on board. While sailing, she is very quiet, never sick and does not bother with 35 knots wind or thunderstorms...As we sail in the Med, the longest distance without stop over has been 200 NM. When she needs to... she advices you! Obviously when we reach land she <explodes> and will run a lot.
By the way to have a dog on board is like having a public relation officer on board, it increases you contacts with the locals... and since Mr. Obama has got a dog of that breed, Scuba is often the center of the attentions.
Bernie, a friend we met in Majorca, who sails since years with his Portuguese waterdog is fanatic about the breed and if you need any counsel I am sure he will be pleased to help you ( berniekreten@yahoo.com).
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:13   #21
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Antigua

Hi Hud3 and thanks for the info!

I contacted Antigua because it is a Brit colony/independent. They informed me that a visiting pet even if never off the boat still counts as an IMPORTATION. Now, maybe the health officials think that and maybe the port police/immigration people just donīt care. Weīve run into that a lot!!

However, it was not difficult to get all of Macīs papers together, she only needed one titre and Iīve bought her PETS now. Sheīs had the chip for a while, and all her meds are updated plus I am carrying one dose supply on board so if weīre at sea for more than 20 days, I can administer the meds myself. Also in case I canīt find a Vet in the Cape Verde Islands, which is our last planned stop before crossing to Antigua.

So if someone DOES decide to take our visit all the way at least Iīm in compliance and have saved the emails. The dept. was extremely nice in sending me all the details and answering my emails promptly.

They also informed me that no animal under the age of 3 months and without at least the first Rabies shot would be allowed in under any circumstances.

Frequently, like everything else we cruisers seem subject to, it seems itīs just the whim of the guy you get thatīs behind the desk that day and whether or not heīs having a bad day....
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:31   #22
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You will probably find the former British Islands use the old British legislation which is very strict. It wasn't until the UK became part of the EU some of the more primitive laws were relaxed. Dogs now have to carry a pet passport which contains their current vacination status and microchip data. See information on the PETS (Pet travel scheme) at Defra, UK - Animal health and welfare - Pet Travel Scheme - Dogs, cats and ferrets this will show you the territories and caribbean islands that operate this scheme.

It's a nightmare getting pets back in to the UK, you can only arrive on certain transport (ferries, aeroplanes), at specified ports, and vacinations must have been carried out in the last 48 hours prior to arrival. As an example if I want to sail back to the UK with the dog, I have to drop off the wife and dog at a French ferry port, get a vet to vacinate the dog and stamp its passport, they then have to get on a ferry and I have to single hand cross the channel to meet them at the other end, once cleared they can then get back on our boat. If all of this isn't met the dog is put into quarantine for 6 months.
A royal pain in the backside.
From the Defra website- "You may not bring a pet into the UK from a private boat or plane."
Very unfortunate. I'll have to skip all British territories on my cruise, it seems.
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:44   #23
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DId you have any problems returning to the U.S. from the Bahamas? I've heard that it's more problematic coming back to the U.S. that it is getting into most other countries. I plan to keep Lola on the boat at all times. I would never risk her escaping.

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The issue with returning with a bird is the need to prove you LEFT with the same bird. The US has a real tight control on import of endangered species; many of these birds are on the list. This is to prevent the traffic in contraband wild capture birds. maybe birds can be chipped as well?
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Old 12-06-2010, 14:06   #24
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The issue with returning with a bird is the need to prove you LEFT with the same bird. The US has a real tight control on import of endangered species; many of these birds are on the list. This is to prevent the traffic in contraband wild capture birds. maybe birds can be chipped as well?
I had my bird micro-chipped and also applied for her CITES certificate from the US Fish & Wildlife Service (which I haven't received yet). I will, of course, jump through all the necesary hoops. I'm just curious what other people's experiences are with birds.
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Old 12-06-2010, 14:21   #25
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... My bird (Lola) loves being on the boat.
... I plan to keep Lola on the boat at all times. I would never risk her escaping.
Sounds akin to the paradoxical psychological phenomenon popularly known as Stockholm Syndrome.
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Old 12-06-2010, 17:54   #26
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We had a little trouble in Bermuda this Spring - the first time in 6 years. We declared our Maltese as always but this time they required a vet certificate less than 10 days old which we didn't have. They instructed us to go to a vet in Hamilton - no car and animals can't ride buses or Taxis(?). Later they told us at customs that as long as the dog doesn't go ashore we were fine.
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Old 12-06-2010, 20:46   #27
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I haven't cruised for a few years (is it 8 years already?) , but we cruised the Eastern Carribean with a cat and a dog and were never even questioned about it. I probably had proof of rabies vaccination for each of them, but customs everywhere except of course Bequia could have cared less. Didn't seem to be a problem then. Maybe things have changed...
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Old 13-06-2010, 19:13   #28
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pets

I am a veterinary tech and traveled with two dogs ( one who was a black lab who passed in grenada at age 15) and two cats. Every place is different for sure and I think everyone's experience clearing in pets is different as well. Us for example had all our animals up to date on vaccines but were asked about them only twice. in St Martin and the BVI's. St Martin was the only one who actually looked at the paper work. But I know people with pets who have been checked at every port and even threatened not to take their pet to shore. The best thing to do is to make sure that every year your pet is vaccinated with rabies and distemper/parvo vaccines and you get an international health certificate each time. ALSO, TAKE LOTS OF HEART WORM PREVENTIVE WITH YOU!!!!

I can certainly understand and I respect the means to which we eradicate disease such as rabies but I find it sad that all these places do not stay "up with the times" in veterinary medicine. It's downright frightening if you ask me. I have heard some awful vet stories while traveling. Studies have shown that animals keep sufficient antibodies against rabies and distemper and parvo for three years. Most veterinary hospitals in the States administer once every three years now. If they don't, they are just milking money from clients. Makes life better for animals who have vaccine reactions and clients wallets but not so easy for those who travel. What if you travel with a pet who has vaccine reactions?

I would be respectful to all customs and be armed with as much paperwork from the veterinarian as possible. That looks impressive to customs and usually once they see the papers, they never look at the dates anyway. But you have to show proof just in case you get an official who is doing their job or may be in a very foul mood.
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Old 13-06-2010, 19:14   #29
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PS: I am very sorry about your lab passing
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