AS A MUCH-NEEDED antidote to the current trend amongst airlines to restrict or ban the carriage if dogs on their flights, some good news from America whereby a major airline has listened to the polite arguments of dog enthusiasts and has lifted a ban imposed on ten carriage of dogs two years ago.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has learned that as of February 15, 2003, United Airlines eliminated the restrictions against shipment of dogs that were imposed in June 2000, and again allow them to be shipped as either excess baggage, cargo or carry-on.
"The many letters written to United by dedicated fanciers played a significant role in prompting United's decision," said Noreen Baxter, AKC's Vice President of Public Education and Legislation. "We are extremely pleased with this turnaround. The ability to travel with their dogs is crucial for both pet owners and fanciers."
"The AKC Canine Legislation department staff has worked tirelessly to reverse the embargo since it was imposed three years ago," added Patti Strand, member of the AKC Board of Directors. "The work of our contacts in Washington and strong opposition against these restrictions from the fancy has brought about a very positive action by United Airlines."
The lifting of the ban will spell good news for American exhibitors at Crufts 2004, who will be able to transport their dogs to the UK for the show. Under the new regulations, animals travelling in this way need only enter quarantine for a nominal two to three day period and when given a clean bill of health by a local veterinary officer they can be released to their owners.
Although North America is now included in the Pet passport scheme, only Britannia Airlines is participating in the scheme and only then if animals are carried as part of a package holiday deal booked by their owners.
British Airways who recently imposed a ban on three breeds of flat faced dog on all its flights has not yet implemented any provisions for animals being carried form the USA under the PETS scheme.