Animalcouriers are leaving Athens with three dogs who are bound for the UK. All three dogs are owned by Athenian residents who have relocated to the UK for work, and are travelling on TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) health certificates. Theoretically, the dogs don’t need these health certificates but there seems to be some confusion in Greece on this matter.

To give some background: there has been correspondence between Animalcouriers and Eurogroup for Animals (the leading voice for animal welfare at European Union level), and between that group and the European Commission on our behalf. Between us we have tried to clear a path with the Greek authorities.

In terms of what we are talking about, there are essentially two categories of pet travel. The European Commission clarifies those two categories as follows:

“If the dog follows the owner in its way back from Greece to the UK, Greece cannot ask more than the requirements laid down in Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 and they should even not require to see the dogs.

If the dogs (not yet owned, or owned but the owner is not moving with his dog) are moving by a transport company from Greece to the UK, the animals have to comply with the requirements of Directive 92/65/EEC (come from registered holdings/businesses, TRACES certificate and notification to the MS

[member state] of destination).”

Therefore, all depends on the kind of movement we are talking about. All the dogs travelling with us today fall into the first category, so all we should need for each dog is:

  • A pet passport
  • A declaration from the owner giving Animalcouriers permission to transport their dog for them to their new address in the UK

Instead, in addition to the above, the general requirements for TRACES have had to be met, and more additional paperwork provided for each dog:

  • Evidence that it has been neutered
  • Proof of ownership, an adoption paper from the Greek municipality they lived in
  • Proof that the owners are who they are who they say they are, and of where they are living in the UK

This is making it very difficult for people who want to relocate from Greece to take their pets with them. We hope that over time it will become easier for people to travel with their pets.

What we are experiencing seems to be contrary to the founding principles of free movement of people and goods across Europe — almost a matter of human rights.

These draconian measures layered into obtaining permission to take owned pets that are following their families have prevented four dogs from travelling with us this month as their owner’s vets did not know where to start in providing advice. Thee three dogs travelling with us today come from Athens, where we were able to find an official vet who could help and process the unnecessary paperwork!

The situation is causing considerable worry as we correspond with clients who are relocating with their pets from Greece to the UK and are wondering how they will do it.

Lisa, one of the dogs travelling with us from Athens today

Lisa, one of the dogs travelling with us from Athens today