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Pocklington and Market Weighton Pet Lovers Warned Of Rabies Risk


8:54am 9th May 2013

Pet lovers in Pocklington and Market Weighton are being warned of the dangers of buying illegally imported animals which may have been smuggled into the UK.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s animal health team is warning that dogs and cats are the main risk of importing rabies into the UK, and could land the unsuspecting buyer with a huge bill possibly running into thousands of pounds.

Although the UK is rabies-free, the disease is still an endemic problem in Europe, Asia and Africa. 

The main risk to human health is from a dog bite, say the animal health team, when the saliva from an infected animal enters the body. They add that rabies is a very serious viral infection that targets the brain and the nervous system. It is almost always fatal unless treated very early.

In recent years there have been an increasing number of incidents where owners only find out that their pet is illegally imported when they visit the vet for a health check or vaccination, say the animal health team.

They add that the animal is placed in quarantine, until it is considered eligible for release. All the associated costs are the responsibility of the owner.

If the owner is unable or unwilling to take these steps, say the animal health team, it will result in the animal being seized, quarantined and potentially euthanized, with the costs recovered from the owners.

The animal health team is advising people considering buying a puppy :to choose the breeder carefully, always see the puppy at the owner’s address and ask to see the animal’s mother if possible.

Councillor Jackie Cracknell, the council’s portfolio holder for community involvement and performance, said: “Anyone who is considering buying a cat or dog needs to be aware of what the requirements are for imported animals before they view.

“Always ask to see any papers, certificates or passports and inspect them carefully before agreeing to buy or handing over any money, and never be tempted to buy a puppy from the back of a car or a pub car park. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Anyone who suspects animals have been illegally imported into the UK should report it to the council’s animal health team.

For further information on importing an animal visit the AHVLA website www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad, or contact the council’s duty animal health officer (01482) 396107 or email animal.health@eastriding.gov.uk.

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