Puppy stranded as passport fails: Spaniel barred from re-entering the country

PUBLISHED: 17:15 22 July 2009 | UPDATED: 21:49 31 May 2010

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A HOLIDAY ended in disaster when a couple s much-loved puppy was left stranded in France after the pet s passport failed at customs. Sgt Lindsay Beckman from Saffron Walden Police Station and her husband Nigel returned from the Dordogne last Monday, but

A HOLIDAY ended in disaster when a couple's much-loved puppy was left stranded in France after the pet's 'passport' failed at customs.

Sgt Lindsay Beckman from Saffron Walden Police Station and her husband Nigel returned from the Dordogne last Monday, but their 11-month-old cocker spaniel Ollie was barred from re-entering the country.

"We're absolutely devastated," said Sgt Beckman. "It could mean that Ollie will have to spend the next six months in quarantine. He is only a puppy and still going through his training so we could miss the best part of him growing up."

Sgt Beckman has now warned other pet owners to "think twice" before taking their animals on holiday.

The couple's cocker spaniel was refused entry back into the country when the UK Border Agency was unable to read the microchip which had been implanted under Ollie's skin.

The microchip acts as the only way of identifying the animal and matching it to the pet's vaccination record and passport.

"The government are really pushing this pet passport scheme, but there are several cases where the microchip has failed to work," said Sgt Beckman. "At the moment they say a microchip is the only acceptable form of identification. There needs to be a back up if this fails."

Ollie's microchip, which was checked and in working order when he left the country, will be removed and sent back to the manufacturer to retrieve the information. If this fails then the conditions of the pet passport will have to start over along with the lengthy quarantine.

Rules set by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) state that pets may not enter or re-enter the UK until six months after a successful blood test.

Ollie is being looked after by friends of the couple until the microchip has been examined.

For more information about pet passports visit Defra's website at www.defra.gov.uk


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