New conditions for movement of pet animals
On 29 December 2014 the new regulation on movement of pet animals (dogs, cats, ferrets) within the European Union and imports from the third countries entered into force (Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 of the European Council and of the Parliament of 12 June 2013 on the non-commercial movement of pet animals and repealing Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 577/2013 of 28 June 2013 on the model identification documents for the non-commercial movement of dogs, cats and ferrets, and the establishment of lists of territories and third countries and the format, layout and language requirements of the declarations attesting compliance with certain conditions provided for in Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council).
Compliance with requirements on the non-commercial imports of pet animals on the external border is controlled by customs officials. Customs officials provide for identity and document controls in respect of each animal.
The new requirements do not foresee significant changes in controls conducted by customs officials; however, they envisage more detailed requirements, new types of documents and additional accompanying documents.
Most important changes:
Non-commercial movement – number of pet animals (dogs, cats, ferrets) during a single movement does not exceed five, they accompany their owner or an authorised person during movement and who remain for the duration of such movement under the responsibility of the owner or the authorised person, as well as the aim of movement is neither the sale of or the transfer of ownership of a pet animal. Movement of a pet animal may take place up to five days earlier or later than the movement of the owner.
Obligation of the owner/authorised person – upon entry from a third country/territory, at the point of entry to contact the competent authority (in Latvia – customs), present the required identification document (EU pet passport or Veterinary Certificate) with accompanying documents and shall allow examination of the animal.
Authorisation – pet animals may be imported from a third country/territory by both, the owner of the animal and a person authorised by the owner, however, the owner’s authorisation shall be issued in writing to carry out on behalf of the owner the non-commercial movement of the pet animal. Such authorisation shall be deemed a document subject to mandatory presentation for customs controls along with other accompanying documents certifying the animal’s identity and health condition.
- Documents of new type
European Union pet passport – is issued to a European Union-registered dog, cat or ferret. The passport contains additional security features and supplemented layout of boxes. If a dog, cat or ferret already has a European Union pet passport, issued before 29 December 2014, the owner is not obliged to obtain the new model passport. The passport shall be valid till the end of the animal’s life or till there is no place for entries on vaccinations received and other veterinary treatment.
Veterinary certificate – a third country/territory animal identification document for a dog, cat or ferret. It shall be drawn up in the language of the country of destination and in English. During the transition period till 29 April 2015 pet animals may be imported under the former veterinary certificate model upon condition that the certificate has been issued before 29 December 2014.
- Additional documents
Declaration for the non-commercial movement – shall be issued in writing. Required when the owner/authorised person moves to a European Union member state from a territory or a third country a dog, car or ferret and confirms that this is a non-commercial movement of a pet animal to the European Union. Not required in case of return of a European Union animal with a European Union pet passport from a third country.
Declaration for the movement in transit – shall be issued in writing. Required when the owner/authorised person moves a dog, cat or ferret in transit via a territory or a third country not included in the list of recognised countries, and upon providing it confirms that during such transit the pet animal had no contact with animals of species susceptible to rabies and remained secured within a means of transport or within the perimeter of an international airport.
Declarations are presented along with a pet animal veterinary certificate of a third country/territory. This is a document subject to mandatory presentation for customs controls along with other documents certifying the animal’s identity and health condition.
- Limitation in number and exception defined
Up to five animals – may be imported per one non-commercial movement. Controls will be conducted by customs officials of the border crossing point.
More than five animals – may be imported if particular conditions are fulfilled – if the non-commercial movement is for the purpose of participating in competitions, exhibitions or sporting events and the owner or the authorised person submits written evidence that the pet animals are registered either to attend competitions, exhibitions, sporting events, or with an association organising such events, as well as that the pet animals are more than six months old. Also in such case customs controls will be conducted by customs officials of the border crossing point. However, if the number of pet animals imported per one movement and the particular conditions are not fulfilled, a veterinary border control procedure shall apply at a duly recognised control point of the Food and Veterinary Service, performed by a veterinarian. In Latvia this can be done only at control points Terehova and Pāternieki of the Food and Veterinary Service.
- Movement of animals that are younger than 3 months
Right of a member state – member states of the European Union may provide for a derogation to allow/prohibit non-commercial movement from another member state or a third country/territory of dogs, cats and ferrets that are younger than 12 weeks and who have not been vaccinated against rabies, or are 12-16 months old and vaccinated against rabies, however, do not yet comply with the set validity requirements.
Each member state of the European Union applies this derogation to allow/prohibit non-commercial movements of dogs, cats and ferrets younger than three months differently, therefore, when planning a travel with a dog, cat or ferret, it shall be clarified if the particular European Union member state applies this derogation. Information on requirements of the European Union member states for non-commercial movement is available on the official European Commission website.
Since 29 December 2014 in Latvia it is not allowed to import dogs, cats and ferrets who are younger than 12 weeks and have not been vaccinated against rabies, or are 12-16 weeks old and are vaccinated against rabies, however, without compliance with the set validity requirements.