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Entry of Pet Dogs and Cats into Ireland - Changes to Requirements from 1 January 2012

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, is pleased to announce that from 1 January 2012 the entry requirements for pet cats and dogs entering Ireland are being simplified and harmonised with the requirements throughout the European Union.

All pets entering any EU Member State must be identified and have a pet passport (or equivalent) certifying identification and rabies vaccination. Currently certain Member States that traditionally operated rabies quarantine systems, including Ireland, impose additional requirements (blood tests, waiting periods and, in some cases, quarantine) on all pets. However the dramatic fall in the level of rabies in Western Europe - to the point of eradication in domestic animals within the EU - together with significant advances in effective vaccination and animal identification methods, allows Member States to move to adopt the general EU system.

From 1 January next pet dogs and cats entering Ireland from the EU and from qualifying 'low risk' countries outside the EU must be identified by microchip and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before entry. However pets entering from non-qualifying countries outside the EU must be identified, vaccinated and, in addition, subsequently successfully blood tested at least 3 months before entry.  Information on all pets must be certified in an accompanying EU Pet Passport or Veterinary Certificate.

EU proposals requiring treatment against the echinococcus multilocularis tapeworm before entry into Ireland are currently being discussed but have not yet been finalised. Details when available will be posted on the Department's website together with advice for travellers to have pets treated for ticks. These treatments protect pets and humans from specific diseases not present in Ireland.

The Minister today stated "I am pleased that developments in this area allow Ireland to adopt a regime that will be easier to manage for pet owners whilst retaining full and proper control against rabies. The EU control system has successfully operated now for a number of years and has offered effective disease protection. Responsible pet owners will welcome a system that gives priority to human health and simplifies travel with pets."

Further information, including the list of qualifying non-EU countries, is available on the Department's website at www.agriculture.gov.ie/pets/

Date Released: 30 June 2011