Chief vet delivers rabies warning to charities rehoming animals from Ukraine

Animal welfare charities have been warned to be on the guard against rehoming animals from Ukrainian that have arrived in the UK with false documents and risk compromising the country’s rabies-free status.

The warning has been issued by chief vet Christine Middlemiss after a shipment of 19 animals imported into the UK by a rescue charity were found to have travelled with false rabies paperwork.

The animals have already been rehomed but are now being traced and put in quarantine to “protect public health and ensure we remain rabies free”, said the chief vet.

She urged charities to ensure any animals entering the UK have the necessary vaccination paperwork.

“Checks have confirmed that these animals did not receive the necessary blood tests to enter the UK,” she said.

“We are taking quick action to limit the risk of disease spreading by quarantining all animals involved in this case until further notice. We are grateful for the cooperation of the households involved and would encourage the public to contact us with any information they may have.

“Animals without the correct vaccinations pose a real disease threat to both our own beloved animals and to people whilst also impacting the rabies-free status we have held for many years.”

She added: “The UK’s strict animal control strategies are central to our animal health standards which are second to none.

“We have long been rabies-free and wish to remain so and to protect the public from diseases and pathogens which can be brought to the UK by animals which have not received the correct health preparations to travel.”

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