Holiday season is upon us and many of us will be taking our dogs on holiday.

Indeed, 250,000 British cats and dogs are taken to the EU on holiday by their owners each year according to European Commission analysis.

However, if the Brexit negotiations between the UK and EU end in failure, a quarter of a million British cats and dogs face being locked up and quarantined in Europe.

On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom triggered Article 50, the legal process to take Britain out of the EU. This was the start of an intense two-year period of divorce talks.

If the EU and the UK are unable to finalise a withdrawal agreement or transitional deal before March 2019, Britain runs the risk of crashing out of the bloc.

This “hardest of Brexits” could, according to the European Commission’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier, lead to the reintroduction of customs controls, long queues at Dover, supply shortages and air traffic disruption.  But it could also lead to the UK being unceremoniously dumped from the EU’s pet passport scheme, which allows for the free movement of dogs, cats and ferrets across borders.

Depending on the EU member state, animals who do not have pet passports or microchipped can be quarantined or simply sent back home.

On 22 March, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator warned of serious repercussions for both Britain and the EU if the divorce talks fail without a deal being agreed.

However, the Dogs Trust, a founding member of the EU Dog & Cat Alliance, said that the EU’s PETS travel scheme had boosted illegal puppy smuggling from Central and Eastern Europe into Britain.

“Britain’s decision to exit the EU presents a crucial opportunity to amend the legislation governing pet travel and disease control, whilst helping to prevent the illegal importation of puppies in the UK,” said Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust.

“Our recommendations are very much in line with the rules that applied before the changes to PETS were introduced, meaning that dog and cat owners can still enjoy traveling abroad with their pets, and all pet owners currently compliant with the rules won’t be impacted by the enforcement recommendations.”

We Can Help

For all initial enquiries relating to Canine Law please contact Emma McGrath on or by telephone on 01775 662662.

All initial appointments are charged at £75 +VAT. If you instruct us to take on your case, the initial £75 +VAT will be off-set against our future costs.

Contact one of our offices in Boston, Spalding, Sleaford, Lincoln, Grantham and Newark to speak to a member of the team.

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