We hear it more and more – South African citizens leaving the country to look for greener pastures elsewhere. The sad part is that so many people leave their beloved furry friends behind, thinking that it is impossible to take them along, or even worse, they just couldn’t be bothered to go through the hassle. It has become such a phenomenon that animal rescue centres even include a question about potential emigration on their application forms now.
In this series of articles – of which this one is the first – we want to show you that, if you plan far enough in advance, it is possible to emigrate with your pets. And if you don’t know where to start, there are agencies that can assist you every step of the way.
Hazel Imrie, owner and founder of PETport; Estelle Fourie, owner of Animal Travel Services; and Lucille Smuts, chief executive officer of Keringa-Petwings share some valuable information with us…
Where to start
Hazel says that the first step is to contact a registered animal transport company, which is critically important. “With so much ‘fake news’ floating around on the internet, it is vital that you get the correct and accurate information from a specialist on how your beloved pet needs to be prepared. Incorrect information can delay your travel plans and have a significant cost implication in the long run,” she says.
Lucille adds that pet owners should ensure that the pet travel company they’re planning on using is a full member in good standing with the International Pet and Animal Association (IPATA), as not all pet transport companies comply with their high standards. “Check for how long the companies have been in business, if they invite inspection of their premises and which ones encourage pet parents to come and meet their staff/pet travel agents. And make sure that they have been inspected and approved by the South African Department of Agriculture as an export facility and that they’re in possession of their annual certificate,” she advises.
Method of identification
Regardless of whether the country of destination requires a microchip or not, it makes so much sense to have your pet microchipped in case of an emergency. Nobody wants to think about it, but it is a reality in everyday life that pets do get out and can run away. It makes it so much easier if your cat or dog is microchipped and wears a collar with clear contact information.
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