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Legislation on travelling with pets (dogs, cats and ferrets) from South Africa into Germany

12.01.2018 - Press release

Regulations on travelling with pets to Germany.

The rules of Regulation (EU) no. 576/2013 have applied to the entry with dogs, cats and ferrets from non-EU countries (so-called third countries) since December 29, 2014. These regulations aim to provide protection against the introduction and spread of rabies.

Travelling with pets to Germany
Travelling with pets to Germany© dpa

The requirements regarding the animal health status are, in principle, based on the rabies situation both in the third country of origin and in the Member State of destination within the EU. A maximum of 5 of these pets may be carried per person. The animals must not be intended to be given to a new owner.

By way of derogation, the maximum number of 5 pets may be exceeded if the animals are being moved for the purpose of participating in competitions, shows and sporting events or of training for such events (not for trading purposes). These animals must be at least 6 months old and evidence in writing must be provided that they have been registered for one of the above-mentioned events.

In all other cases the rules for trade in animals apply. For more detailed information, please refer to the Ordinance on Intra-Community Movement, Import and Transit of Live Animals and Products (Ordinance on Disease Control).

In Germany, the federal states (supreme veterinary authorities of Provinces) are in charge of implementing and monitoring this EU Regulation.

Regulations / Steps to follow:

  • Prior to entry, the animals must be subjected to a blood test for antibodies against rabies. This test must have been performed at least 30 days after vaccination and at least three months before entry.
  • The blood sample must be taken by a veterinarian who is authorized for this purpose in the respective third country. The blood test itself must be performed in a laboratory approved by the European Commission (see links below).
  • It is recommended to get in touch with the laboratory concerned beforehand in order to agree on the conditions for the dispatch of the blood sample. If the vaccination intervals as set down by the vaccine manufacturers have been observed after the blood test, it is not necessary to repeat the blood test.
  • The three-month period prior to entry does not apply to the re-entry of pets from a non-listed third country into the EU if the accompanying EU pet passport shows that the blood sample was taken before this animal left the Community territory and that sufficient antibodies to rabies were detected in the blood analysis.

The above-mentioned conditions governing entry must be documented in an animal health certificate that is issued by an officially authorized South African veterinarian. In addition, the traveler must carry supporting documents such as a vaccination certificate or a document furnishing proof of the results of the blood test.

Entry is conditional on the animals being accompanied by a person responsible for the animals. The accompanying person must provide a declaration in writing stating that the movement of the animal is not intended for sale or a change of ownership.

Please note that all pets (dogs, cats, ferrets) always have their documents and identity checked when entering/re-entering the EU from a non-EU country. The accompanying person must register the animal with the customs authority for this purpose. Pets from third countries must enter the country via an airport or port that appears in the "List of points of entry to the Federal Republic of Germany".

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