Volunteer puppy raisers for Guide Dogs in terrible position due to Brexit deal

The Brexit deal has led to suspension of of puppy placements in Northern Ireland, writes ROSEMARY BARTON

Puppies can’t get rabies vaccinations until 12 weeks old and can’t travel to Northern Ireland until 15 weeks old. Yet they are normally placed in homes from eight weeks old
Puppies can’t get rabies vaccinations until 12 weeks old and can’t travel to Northern Ireland until 15 weeks old. Yet they are normally placed in homes from eight weeks old

It would be morally reprehensible for Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the UK government not to safeguard an exemption for assistance dogs from the restrictions imposed by the agreements between the UK government and the EU.

I have written to the agriculture minister, Edwin Poots MLA, and George Eustice MP, the secretary of state for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, asking them to intervene to alleviate the terrible position that volunteer puppy raisers for Guide Dogs in Northern Ireland now find themselves in.

They have already received pleas for help from the volunteers involved.

Letter to the editor

The placement of puppies in Northern Ireland has now been suspended because of the agreements reached between the UK government and the EU.

Under the new arrangements agreed between the UK government and the EU, dogs are included on the list of animals that will require a rabies injection before being allowed into Northern Ireland.

Given that puppies cannot get these vaccinations until they are 12 weeks old and then can’t travel until 21 days after that, it means they can’t be transferred to Northern Ireland until they are at least 15 weeks old.

This puts the volunteer puppy raisers for Guide Dogs in an impossible position because these puppies are normally placed in homes from eight weeks old.

As a matter of urgency Minister Poots and Minister Eustice should work together to put an exemption in place for assistance dogs.

It would be morally reprehensible not to do so.

Rosemary Barton MLA, Ulster Unionist agriculture spokesperson

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