Channel-hopping West Sussex dog owner’s bid for pet passports to be reinstated

A West Sussex dog owner has set up an online petition calling on the government to reinstate the former pet passport scheme.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 9:57 am
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 9:58 am

British pet owners now have to obtain an Animal Health Certificate from a vet at a cost of about £125 every time they travel to the EU.

It must be translated into the language of the country of arrival and has to be obtained no more than ten days before travel.

The former pet passport scheme, which was free, allowed them on unlimited trips to the EU — but the scheme was scrapped when the Brexit transition period came to end on December 31.

Chris Slade, of Worthing, with his dog, Rudy

Chris Slade, of Westbrooke, Worthing, travels to France six times a year with his wife, Micki, and their dog, Rudy, and the new rules mean it will now cost them £750 a year.

And when they tried to leave the country last Tuesday (July 6), at Portsmouth International Port, they were turned away at check-in with Brittany Ferries because the vet had made four errors on the Animal Health Certificate.

“I was astounded – we were forced to come back from the docks, having gone nowhere at all,” said Chris, 73.

“Thank heaven we only live a 45-minute drive from the ferry terminal. And it wasn’t just us!

Chris Slade, of Worthing, has set up an online petition calling on the government to reinstate pet passports

“Another family who lived two and a half hours away were treated to a similar fate because their vet had omitted to provide scanned copies of their dog’s previous – and now defunct – pet passport.”

Chris and Micki, who have two sons, bought a house in Brittany in 1999.

This led them to get involved in the housing business and they became brokers, working with agencies in Brittany and Normandy.

But the new rules have caused major disruption to their travel plans and to the smooth running of their business, said Chris.

Chris Slade, of Worthing, with his dog, Rudy

He added: “We are dismayed at the replacement of a pet passport system that worked perfectly well with something which is clearly not fit for purpose.”