DUBAI // The number of abandoned animals would be significantly reduced if pet owners knew that relocation fees could be affordable, animal lovers and volunteers have said.
Exporting pets from the UAE depends on the rules and regulations of the country to which it is heading.
However, basic requirements include and export permit, a valid rabies vaccination between one year and 30 days, proof that the animal is microchipped, and a travel box that meets International Air Transport Association Guidelines.
Mary Pachol, who worked in logistics in the US military, said that she created an online document to help guide residents wishing to transport their pets abroad.
“It’s really not as difficult as people think it is,” she said. “The cost of transporting an animal really depends on the airline and destination, whether or not it is transported on board, cargo, or as excess baggage.
“Transporting a pet on board would be cheaper than cargo.”
Mrs Pachol said that there is a flat rate of Dh400 for an export document and Dh158 for a health certificate.;
Depending on the airline, she said, transporting a cat from the UAE to the UK would cost approximately Dh4,000 plus customs costs.
“This applies to people who have their pet passport and their pets microchipped and vaccinated, something which most pet owners keep up to date,” she said. “To the US, a cat can ship for under Dh2,000.”
Farah Faisal, 26, a Syrian, who recently relocated from Dubai to Beirut for work, said that taking her cat with her was a “no-brainer”.
“I have had my cat since he was two months old. He is used to me and I understand him. I don’t think he will be happy or secure without me,” she said. “I am very much attached to him, he is a part of my family, and I would not leave him behind.”
Ms Faisal, who lived in Dubai for 13 years, said it cost her approximately Dh1,460 to relocate her pet.
“First, I had to [fill out] online Dubai Municipality’s paperwork and make sure that all his vaccinations were done and [up to date],” she said. “After informing the airline of his weight and carrier’s size, I booked the flight.
“I also had to go for a vet check at the municipality to get the certificate that he is allowed to fly out of the UAE. Lastly, I paid for his exit fees at the airport.”
Ms Faisal said that it was a relatively smooth process, but there was some confusion with airport staff at some point that would be cleared up by the municipality.
“I [was flying] with Middle East Airlines, which allowed me to take him on board with me, and he was very patient and quite though out the flight,” she said. “I didn’t use an relocation company and I did the paper world by myself.”
Debbie Lawson, an animal welfare volunteer, said it was important for those who buy or adopt pets to understand that it is a long-term commitment.
“I know sometimes there may be special circumstances but there are very little excuses for leaving a pet behind,” she said. “If money is not an issue, there are lots of relocation services that will do all the work for you.”
Ms Lawson said that any person wishing to relocate with their pets should consult with their vet and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.
“Every country has a list of requirements and the vet is a place to start,” she said. “Most veterinary clinics will be able to guide you through the process.”