Transporting pets adopted in Spain to the UK – (part two)


Transporting pets adopted in Spain to the UK – (part two)

In the first part of this article we explained how expats find themselves the owners of stray Spanish dogs, and we outlined what companies like ALStrays Transport can do to help expats take these pets home with them if they repatriate.

In Part two we provide further testimonials and explain what arranging the transport of a former stray entails.

Peter Egan, actor and animal rights campaigner, has a lot of sympathy for the expats returning from Spain: “For many an expat in Spain adopting an abandoned and often abused dog was the final piece in the jigsaw of their new life, a sign that they had settled and were looking forward to a long and enjoyable life in the sun. Far too many have seen that dream fade as a result of the ongoing financial crisis that is effecting the country and as they return home to the UK a huge concern is that their beloved rescue dog will once again be abandoned. I have known Chris and the work he and his wife Sandra do with their ALStrays Transport project for some time, and it is great that they are able to at least provide some peace of mind for those returning to the UK with respect to their adopted cats and dogs.”

Peter isn’t alone in having empathy for the expats. Jon Gaunt, broadcaster and columnist, has a close affinity with Spain and British expats and has seen firsthand the effect the recession has had on families: “I am a huge fan of Spain and over the years have broadcast to many a British expat and written for a number of Spanish newspapers. For all my love of Spain and the Spanish however, their general attitude towards animals is distressing. I have seen firsthand the effect that British expats have had in establishing rescue centres and adopting rescue dogs, and as a dog owner myself I am more than aware of the unconditional love and satisfaction a dog can give you.’

DEFRA Guidelines

If you intend to transport a pet you will need to meet with DEFRA passport guidelines. In short you will need to be able to answer the following questions with a YES.

Is the animal micro chipped?

Is the animal currently vaccinated against rabies?

Was the animal vaccinated after it was micro chipped and was the rabies vaccination administered as per the vaccine manufacturer’s data sheet?

Have you got an EU Pet Passport or Official Veterinary Health Certificate from your vet certifying the microchip and vaccination?

Have at least 21 days passed since the animal was vaccinated?

Has a vet treated your animal for tapeworm 1-5 days before its arrival in the UK and recorded the treatment (with exact times) in the passport or Official Health Certificate?

Remember to check that the date AND time are entered into the passport! This applies to expiration of rabies treatment AND tapeworm!

All procedures, including administration of tapeworm treatment, must be carried out by a registered vet and recorded in the pet passport or third country health certificate.

What to Consider when Choosing your Transport Company

Our advice is to select a transport company that is DEFRA certified. This means that the van has a DEFRA Certificate of Approval for Welfare of Animals during Transport and the driver has a UK Animal Transporter Authorisation license from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.

The certificates mean the vans used by the transport company have met the stringent requirements of DEFRA, such as having air conditioning, a grill separating the drivers from the animals, the means of monitoring and adjusting the temperature in the rear of the van, independent lighting in the rear in the van, a washable floor in the van, approved cages and transport boxes for the cats and dogs, and the means to secure the cages and transport boxes throughout the journey.

It also means the driver has a contingency plan and the necessary experience in the handling of the animals.

About ALStrays

Almerimar Life Strays (ALStrays) is a private project run by Sandra and Chris Marshall to re-home owned, abandoned and stray cats.

We are not ourselves a charity but we work in partnership with registered charities in Spain and Germany. The re-homing project is non profit making. Any money from adoption fees in Germany is used to help cover the costs of vet bills, fostering and transport.

In addition AlStrays runs a commercial transportation service ( for cats and dogs through Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium and the UK.

Contact or email

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