Importing rescue dogs into the UK: reasons, methods and welfare considerations

Norman, Charlotte, Stavisky, Jenny and Westgarth, Carri ORCID: 0000-0003-0471-2761
(2020) Importing rescue dogs into the UK: reasons, methods and welfare considerations. VETERINARY RECORD, 186 (8). 248-.

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BACKGROUND:Rescuing dogs from overseas is increasing in popularity but has associated risks. This study is the first to investigate the reasons why people bring rescue dogs into the UK from overseas, the importation process, and potential welfare problems associated with this practice. METHODS:An online questionnaire was advertised on social media in 2017 and received 3080 responses. RESULTS:Participants primarily chose to adopt from abroad based on a desire for a particular dog they had seen advertised and on concern for its situation. However, some were motivated by previously having been refused dogs from UK rescues. Adopters reported that the EU Pet Travel Scheme was used to import 89 per cent of dogs, with only 1.2 per cent reportedly under the more stringent (and correct) Balai Directive. 14.8 per cent (79/533) of dogs reportedly tested for Leishmania infantum had positive results. Although sometimes severe, the prevalence of behavioural problems appeared comparable to that of other rescue dogs. CONCLUSION:It is important that vets consider testing for exotic diseases, and the provision of behavioural support, when seeing imported patients. Our findings emphasise the importance of clear guidelines on travel laws, and stricter checks on animals imported as rescues, to ensure protection against the importation of diseases that pose a risk to animal and human health in the UK.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Animals, Dogs, Humans, Animal Welfare, Travel, Female, Male, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2020 11:31
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2023 06:19
DOI: 10.1136/vr.105380
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