Can I Rescue a Street Dog or Cat and Bring It Home?

Rescue Dog
Photo Credit: change.org

It happens so often. You are traveling on vacation in a foreign country, walking down the street or sitting at a cafe and you spy the beautiful face of a dog or cat looking scared and hungry. It can be an abandoned kitten or a dog that somehow manages to stay alive while living on the street. You cannot help wanting to rescue it, change its life, take it home and love and care for it. But think to yourself, is it really wise to rescue a street dog or cat while on vacation and bring it home?

No one can blame you for how you feel, but one important thing to know is how easy it will be to bring this soul who has stolen your heart home safely and within current laws on pet import to avoid quarantine or refusal at customs.

Health and import regulations for importing a live animal

All countries worldwide base their pet import regulations based on diseases that can be contagious to other animals or humans, particularly rabies. Rabies is a brutal disease that kills nearly 60,000 people a year from bites from dogs, cats, raccoons, foxes, ferrets and other warm-blooded mammals that can carry the rabies virus.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before rescuing a dog or cat in a foreign country.

What country are you visiting?

Let’s first consider the country that you are visiting. Many of the most beautiful vacation destinations in the world are classified by the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) as high-rabies countries as they don’t have structured programs in place to control rabies. Some examples of high-rabies countries are Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Indonesia and China.  Depending on your home country, it could take 4 months or more and multiple veterinary visits before bringing your rescued dog or cat home. Click here for countries considered to be high-rabies.

Oftentimes, regulations are less stringent when importing a dog or cat from a rabies-free or rabies-controlled country.

Where is your home?

If you don’t own a pet already, you may not be aware of the requirements that will be imposed on your rescue pet when entering your country.

Here are some examples of pet import regulations when importing a dog or cat from a high-rabies country:

Home Country: European Union Member State

Pet Import Regulations from high-rabies country: microchip, proof of rabies vaccination, 30 day wait after vaccination, rabies titer test (FAVN), 3 calendar month wait before travel, EU health certificate

Pet Import Regulations from other countries: microchip, rabies vaccination, 21 day wait, health certificate or EU Pet Passport

Home Country: United States

Pet Import Regulations (all countries): proof of rabies vaccination administered no sooner than 30 days before travel, health certificate, screwworm inspection (when entering from some countries)

Home Country: Canada

Pet Import Regulations (all countries): proof of current rabies vaccination (no wait after vaccination), health certificate. If imported unaccompanied, microchip, health certificate and import permit

Home Country: South Africa

Pet Import Regulations (all countries): microchip, proof of rabies vaccination (minimum 30 days in advance), blood tests (dogs), import permit, 14 days of quarantine (dogs)

Home Country: Australia

Pet Regulations (all countries): microchip, rabies vaccination, rabies titer test (FAVN) 180 days before import, import permit, blood tests, parasite treatments, health certificate. Pets can be imported directly from approved countries otherwise pets must be moved to an approved country about 6 weeks before import.

No matter what country you are bringing your rescue home to, we would urge you to research current and detailed pet import regulations by clicking here.

You must be able to allot the time involved to meet your home country requirements for pet import. If you cannot do that, then you need to make arrangements for their care and veterinary visits until either you can come back to get them or fly them as unaccompanied air cargo to you. This will take coordination with veterinarians and someone to check your dog or cat in at your airline’s cargo facility.

Is your airline pet friendly?

Another consideration are the airline pet policies you are using to return home. Many airlines do not accept pets for transport such as Ryan Air, Jet Airways and AirAsia. Many other airlines will only transport pets as air cargo through the services of an agent like British Airways and SAS. If your ticket is booked on an airline that does not accept pets, then your pet will need to fly as unaccompanied air cargo which is more expensive than it  would be if you fly with your rescue.

It all sounds daunting, right? Well, actually, it can be. Sometimes, as heat breaking as it is, it is better to try and find an abandoned animal care and adoption organization in the country you are visiting instead of bringing it home. There are rescue organizations in so many countries that may be able to help. Oftentimes pet stores, veterinarians, government agencies responsible for animal control or animal hospitals are aware of rescue organizations in the country you are visiting.

If you rescue a street dog or cat, can you provide for their needs when you get home?

Consider that older dogs that have lived on the street may have issues with confinement, anxiety, shyness and socialization. You should be prepared to deal with these issues. There will also be a huge cultural adaptation for a rescue pet. New environments can bring insecurity issues that will require close monitoring.

Rescuing a puppy or kitten may be easier in that they are still in the learning stage. They have not had as much time to bond with their environment and experience life challenges as an adult dog has. Changing their environment will not be as traumatic for them.

Before falling in love with an abandoned puppy or kitten, consider how difficult (or easy) it would be to rescue a street dog or cat and take it home with you. We would all agree that saving a life is worth every minute and every dollar spent. Dogs and cats (as well as all animals that can be domesticated) deserve a chance to live in a safe and loving environment, and there are a lot of volunteers and organizations who strive towards that goal. You are simply taking part in that effort.


Comments

Can I Rescue a Street Dog or Cat and Bring It Home? — 8 Comments

  1. Karolina – you will need to get your dog vaccinated for rabies and wait for 30 days before entering the US. It will also need a screwworm inspection and a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian in Peru. Here are the regulations: https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/unitedstates.cfm.

    An export permit will be required for dogs and cats departing Peru. You can apply at the airport or at the SENSA office. There is a small fee for this permit.
    Susan

  2. Hi, I and my partner found a street dog while traveling through Peru, but our “holiday” ending by the end of this month. We are very stressed because we would like to take her with us to USA. Can we do something to be able to take her home with us in 20days?

    Thank you.
    Karolina

  3. MLV – try searching here. There are several other agents who serve Sri Lanka: https://www.ipata.org/ipata-pet-shippers-air-and-ground. Know that your pup will need to be chipped, vaccinated for rabies, wait for 30 days, then have a rabies titer test, then wait for 3 months before traveling to Denmark. It must also fly as air cargo which is more expensive than checked baggage. It may pay for you fly with your dog if possible. (don’t know whether you are in Denmark now or still in Sri Lanka) If you need further assistance, send us an email at info@pettravel.com.
    Susan

  4. Hi.

    We really want to adopt a street dog from Sri Lanka to Denmark. Do you know of any companies we can contact, that will do that kind of service? We already contacted petexpress and even though we hate for it to be about the money, they just charge more than we can afford 🙁

    Kind regards

  5. William – there are several reasons that would explain the difference between your quotes. Pet transporters provide a variety of services including vet visits, doc prep, endorsement, routing and booking, crate provision, pick-up, check-in and arrangements for an agent at the destination airport. As all live animals must arrive in the UK as air cargo, that portion of the quote should have been about the same unless the transporter quoted charges from a different airline. Most transporters will provide a breakdown of their charges, so, for those reading this post, do not hesitate to ask if you feel you are being overcharged.
    Susan

  6. Hi. We were quoted £7,000 by Pet Express Sri Lanka. However we got in touch with a charity who got our dog to Edinburgh for £1,820 in total for everything from vaccinations to transport.

  7. Rescue & Adopt a Street Dog from Sri Lanka

    If you find a street dog / cat in Sri Lanka and you wish to adopt; we at Pet Express can assist you. We can certainly handle the complete process and relocate the rescued dog / puppy safely to your country.

    We will immediately provide required veterinary attention, microchip the puppy / cat and give the required vaccines. Furthermore, if any blood tests are required we will get these done as well. The rescue dogs / cats could be boarded in our facility until they are ready to travel.

    Our team is persistent in our efforts of adoption and re-homing, sterilization, vaccination, saving the injured, education and awareness programmes and arranging overseas adoption for homeless stray dogs and cats in Sri Lanka.

    petexpress.lk/

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