Road Rules

Want to take your cat with you on vacation? Keep your trip fun and safe with proper planning.

By Andee Joyce | Posted: Thu Mar 15 00:00:00 PST 2001

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Congress signed the Safe Air Travel for Animals Act in March 2000, making the cargo bin a safer place for animal travel. By increasing the damages due ($2,500) to an owner, it makes airlines more accountable if an animal has been injured or died while in their care. In addition, the law imposes tougher standards for maintaining oxygen flow and temperature control in cargo areas where pets are present and provides better public access to information about animals that have been mishandled by the airlines.

"This bill will hold airlines to a higher standard of conduct in the way they treat cats and dogs and other pets that belong to caring families," says Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) who co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Robert Menendez (D-N.J). "This should put an end to the horror stories of animals being treated like baggage."

HSUS Senior Vice President Wayne Pacelle hails the legislation as long-overdue protection for pets and other animals. "We owe a debt of gratitude to Sen. Lautenberg and Rep. Menendez and [Peter] DeFazio (D-Ore.) for their tireless work on behalf of this legislation and animal safety," he says. DeFazio helped work out a compromise between the House and Senate that allowed the bill to pass. While a good first step, Pacelle cautions that the legislation must be strengthened in the future. "It is essential cargo holds be made safer so animals can be transported with the same guarantees of safety and security enjoyed by their owners and other passengers."

Join the Jet Set
Foreign travel poses greater challenges to those who wish to travel with their pets, but it is feasible with some forethought. First, check with the destination country's embassy to make sure the country allows pets to enter and, if so, under what conditions and requirements. Some countries require that animals be quarantined for at least six months before they may enter.

Avoid lengthy layovers as you would for a domestic flight, and visit your veterinarian before you go. Most countries require a health certificate as proof that all vaccinations especially rabies are up-to-date and that your cat is in excellent health.

In February 2000, Britain changed its laws to allow people to import companion animals from the European Union, Norway and Switzerland, provided the animal has a valid pet passport, which can be obtained from a qualifying veterinarian in Britain or from one of the 22 other eligible nations. The procedure includes implanting a rice-grain-sized identification microchip in the animal, vaccinating it for rabies, performing blood tests and ensuring it is free of parasites. Pet passports are not available to visitors from the United States or Canada, but this may change in the near future.

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hguihl5yh    urhy8475y6q34, MA

6/16/2008 6:26:11 AM

This is really helpful, because i am planning a vacation with my cats

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