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Old 01-11-2011, 11:46   #1
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Pets in the Windward and Leeward Islands

We are considering a cruise from the US East Coast to the Windward and Leeward Islands, leaving our boat in Trinidad for the summer, and returning to the US the next winter. We have a cat aboard. In looking into the Pet Import/Quarantine regulations for these islands, it appears prohibitively difficult to cruise with pets in this area. One question - if we restrict the cat to being on board only, does that bypass all the import restrictions and regulations? We would appreciate inputs both from those who have successfully cruised with pets in this area regarding how it is best done, and from those who concluded it was impossible.
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:08   #2
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Re: Pets in the Windward and Leeward Islands

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One question - if we restrict the cat to being on board only, does that bypass all the import restrictions and regulations?
In a word, "Yes."

When you clear in the Customs form will ask if you have animals aboard. Write, "One cat; always stays on board". We were never questioned about our cat and we went to all the islands in the Lesser Antilles but Barbados, Anquilla and Montserrat.

I can't speak to the Bahamas' requirements.
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:14   #3
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Re: Pets in the Windward and Leeward Islands

to re enter usa with your pet you willneed paperwork from your vet. your vet should know what exactly is needed and send you off with these important papers so your cat doesnt have to face long time in quarantine by usa.
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:23   #4
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Re: Pets in the Windward and Leeward Islands

In our cruise last winter we went to a dozen different islands and never once did a customs official ever get on our boat or even approach it. In fact, until we got to the Bahamas on the way home not one of them even looked to see that there WAS a boat as my papers claimed.
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:25   #5
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Re: Pets in the Windward and Leeward Islands

Are you sure, Zee?

We never had any questions asked when re-entering the U.S. I just checked the CDC website to see if anything had changed. This is what they say...

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A general certificate of health is not required by CDC for entry of pet cats into the United States, although some airlines or states may require them. However, pet cats are subject to inspection at ports of entry and may be denied entry into the United States if they have evidence of an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans. If a cat appears to be ill, further examination by a licensed veterinarian at the owner's expense might be required at the port of entry.
Cats are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination for importation into the United States. However, some states require vaccination of cats for rabies, so it is a good idea to check with state and local health authorities at your final destination.
The USDA defers to the CDC on these issues.
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:28   #6
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Re: Pets in the Windward and Leeward Islands

I had officials on the boat in the DR (very courteous) and observed boats being asked to move by a large speedy RIB in the French Ils. Other than that, no contact.
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Old 01-11-2011, 19:18   #7
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Re: Pets in the Windward and Leeward Islands

I had two cats on board in the Caribbean with no problems except once in the Bahamas, when I did not get their $10 permit ahead of time. But that was only once out of a dozen trips through the Bahamas.
- - The D.R. only wanted to know so they could also get $10 per pet.
- - All the other islands could have cared less for a cat(s) that stay onboard. I always filled in the form where it asked about animals with "Felines - never leave boat."
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Old 01-11-2011, 19:38   #8
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Re: Pets in the Windward and Leeward Islands

hud--ty--my vet in sd was convinced i was gonna have to go thru all kinds of hell for bubba-- good to know isnt that way.
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:41   #9
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Re: Pets in the Windward and Leeward Islands

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Cool Hand.
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Old 02-11-2011, 17:43   #10
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Re: Pets in the Windward and Leeward Islands

Thank you all for your thoughtful and considered replies. We have been trying to understand the letter of the law of the various islands are are very deterred with what we find. In the BVI, it seems that with all shots, tests and certificates in order, the cat goes to quarantine upon arrival. The same holds for Trinidad. This poses the most severe problem, in that we intend to have the boat put on the hard, and, hopefully with our cat, fly back to the USA from there. We've also had input from Antigua that entering territorial waters is entering the country, and that keeping the cat on board does not negate the entry rules. I'd be interested in any specific experiences relative to the quarantine issue, and particularly in Trinidad. For instance -- if we leave Trinidad within a week of arrival, can we get the cat out or is there a 30 day minimum quarantine required?
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Old 02-11-2011, 18:49   #11
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Re: Pets in the Windward and Leeward Islands

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Originally Posted by Cool Hand View Post
. . . In the BVI, it seems that with all shots, tests and certificates in order, the cat goes to quarantine upon arrival.

The same holds for Trinidad. This poses the most severe problem, in that we intend to have the boat put on the hard, and, hopefully with our cat, fly back to the USA from there.

We've also had input from Antigua that entering territorial waters is entering the country, and that keeping the cat on board does not negate the entry rules.

I'd be interested in any specific experiences relative to the quarantine issue, and particularly in Trinidad. For instance -- if we leave Trinidad within a week of arrival, can we get the cat out or is there a 30 day minimum quarantine required?
- - I separated your post into the relevant questions. After almost 10 years in the eastern Caribbean here is my experience and also the experiences of everybody I met along the way that had cats on board.

- - Most of all the island animal regulations are targeted at people who move to the island and live on land and bring their animals with them.

- - The British Virgins could care less -about cats that stay on board. Like I posted and another member has posted all we do is put on the check-in form - "feline - never leaves the boat." No official has ever commented or asked about the animal. Same thing with Antigua (both Jolly Harbor and Nelson's Dockyard).

- - However, your desire to leave the boat in Trinidad and fly home with your cat - is going to be a major problem/hassle. Trinidad does not care if you have animals on board the boat entering or exiting with the boat. But they have a very expensive and time consuming regimen if you intend to take the animal out of the country by airline and even worse if you intend to return to Trinidad by airline with the animal. You can get specific information from the cruiser's best friend in Trinidad, Jesse James at: 'Members Only' Maxi Taxi Service - Home

- - I am talking hundreds of dollars and weeks of time getting the proper forms and couriers to exit/return by airline flights with an animal. It is such a problem that it is recommended that you do not put the boat in storage in Trinidad if you have an animal onboard - but do it in Grenada instead. Grenada is very relaxed and has no hassles or forms or procedures to exit/return by airline with an animal.
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Old 02-11-2011, 23:06   #12
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Re: Pets in the Windward and Leeward Islands

ty ossiris.
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Old 11-11-2011, 02:20   #13
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Re: Pets in the Windward and Leeward Islands

Welcome to the forum Cool Hand.
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