The mother of a successful young dog handler is concerned that the new rules on pet travel between NI and GB, to be introduced later this year, will have an impact on the wellbeing of their dogs.

As a result of the NI Protocol, pet travellers moving from Great Britain (GB) to NI will be required to adhere to the pet travel rules for third countries [a country that is not a member of the European Union].

This includes the requirements for additional documentation, rabies vaccination and a tapeworm treatment.

Pet travel rules

These new pet travel rules were to be initially introduced on January 1, 2021 but this was subsequently delayed until July 1.

On June 1, 2021, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Minister Edwin Poots announced a further delay to the introduction of pet travel checks at NI points of entry until at least October 1, 2021.

The announcement of the delay followed shortly after a meeting of the House of Lords where Baroness Kate Hoey raised the concerns of Tracy Corbett, whose son Christopher, a 13-year-old dog handler from Clabby, Co. Fermanagh competes at dog trials in GB.

During the meeting, Baroness Hoey said: “The protocol is causing immense harm to peace and stability in Northern Ireland as well as to business and consumers but now people all over the UK are angry at the ridiculous EU rules on pets travelling backwards from NI to GB and GB to NI. What message would the Noble Lord give to Christopher, a 13-year-old boy in Co. Fermanagh who helps train dogs for search and rescue, is a champion at dog trials and now because of the cost and the bureaucracy of travelling back taking his dog he will not be able to attend dog trials anymore?”


Relieved that this delay of the new rules means that Christopher and his dog will now not be affected as they travel to represent Ireland at the CLA Game Fair at Ragley Hall in July, Tracy is still concerned about the impact they will have when the rules do eventually come into effect.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter, she said: “The last case of rabies in Britain was 1922. They want us to give our dogs all a rabies jab then spend money on a passport which is a journey I would do three or four times a year.

“Then I have to tapeworm them. They are wormed every three months anyway,” Tracy said, adding: “They are asking for unnecessary injections and tablets and it’s just got out of hand.

“It’s detrimental to the dog’s health,” she said, explaining that by giving a dog a rabies shot, “you take the risk of a bad reaction”.

“If it does [take a bad reaction], then the dog can’t compete,” said Tracy, who is also concerned that if they didn’t give their dogs a rabies jab, they could be put in quarantine for three weeks.

Knock-on effect

She believes that this could have a knock-on effect for working dog competitions hosted in Northern Ireland.

“There are so many championships that Northern Ireland has been awarded, and I don’t mean for my dogs.

“There’s two Lurcher Championships and Belfast Labrador Championships, they’ve got two of the big championships in the world and when [the new rules] come in in October nobody will come, they are not willing to take the risk of their dogs being impounded.

“That’s the issue. They won’t over vaccinate their dogs and they won’t take the risk of their dogs being put in quarantine for three weeks.”

Highlighting how this won’t just affect working dogs but also farm animals and pets, Tracy said: “We know as a working [dog] community we have to do all these things, every one of my dogs is vaccinated, insured, chipped, up to date to the law but some person coming over on holiday, they won’t get their dog back for three weeks.”