SSPCA issue Pet Passport reminder for overseas animal trips

US actor Johnny Depp and his wife Amber Heard arrive at a court in the Gold Coast. Picture: Getty Images
US actor Johnny Depp and his wife Amber Heard arrive at a court in the Gold Coast. Picture: Getty Images
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A leading animal welfare charity has urged people taking their pets abroad to make sure they have the right documents before they go.

The Scottish SPCA is reminding animal owners to check their paperwork is in order before they even start booking flights or ferries.

Frodo Baggins the pug with his pet passport. Picture: PA

Frodo Baggins the pug with his pet passport. Picture: PA

It comes after Hollywood actor Johnny Depp and his wife Amber Heard were forced to make a very public apology after being caught smuggling their dogs into Australia.

Amber flew Yorkshire Terriers Pistol and Boo to Queensland in a private jet to visit her husband who was filming Pirate of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. The animals should have been declared on an immigration form before spending 10 days in quarantine.

But the celebrity pair were told they had to make a public apology rather than being sent to jail for 10 years for flouting Australia’s tough animal quarantine laws.

However, if the paperwork is in order, there is no reason why much-loved animals cannot be taken to many countries across the world.

The Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “It is vital that anyone who is travelling with their pet has the relevant documentation under the Pet Passport scheme, this includes anyone bringing their pet into or back to the UK.

“Failure to have the correct documentation can result in the pet being seized and forced to undergo a period of quarantine, and owners can also be prosecuted.”

One example of a family who took their beloved pet, a Bernese mountain dog, for a foreign adventure is the Wright family.

Wanting to inject some sunshine into their lives, Mr Wright, who owns one of Scotand’s leading moving companies, Removal Services Scotland (RSS), his wife, Diane, and their two boys, decided to relocate from their home in North Berwick, East Lothian, to a house in Majorca for six months. And leaving their giant-sized canine Bernie behind was never an option.

“He was such an important part of the family – he had to come,” said Mrs Wright. As well as packing up the family home, Diane had to organise a Pet Passport through her local vet – to ensure he ticked all the right boxes, including an all-important rabies injection.

Then she had to make travel arrangements to have Bernie flown to Majorca in a crate.

When they collected him the other end – he was overjoyed to see them.

“We flew out there on one plane with Bernie on a later plane. When we went to collect him from the cargo area he was being lifted down on a fork-lift truck and was so excited he jumped around to the point the cage almost toppled over,” she said. “And once he arrived in Majorca, he made the house feel like a home.”