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Non-commercial movements of pet animals

This Regulation lays down the animal health requirements and controls applicable to cross-border movements of pet animals not intended for sale. This Regulation also strengthens the standards applicable to animals from third countries and thus prevents the spread of diseases such as rabies.

ACT

Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 on the animal health requirements applicable to the non-commercial movement of pet animals and amending Council Directive 92/65/EEC [See amending act(s)].

SUMMARY

This Regulation harmonises the health requirements applicable to pet animals which are moved within the European Union (EU) for non-commercial reasons. It also reinforces the standards applicable to animals coming in from third countries.

This Regulation aims to guarantee a high level of protection for human and animal health while facilitating movements of pet animals * accompanied by their owners.

Animals concerned

This Regulation deals with:

  • dogs,
  • cats,
  • ferrets,
  • invertebrates (except bees and crustaceans),
  • ornamental tropical fish,
  • amphibians,
  • reptiles,
  • birds (except poultry which are covered by Directives 2009/158/EC and 92/65/EEC),
  • rodents, and
  • domestic rabbits.

However, the health requirements applicable to these animals are not harmonised. The national rules prevail.

This Regulation applies without prejudice to the provisions on species of wild fauna and flora.

Identification of animals

Cats, dogs and ferrets must be identified by means of an electronic chip (transponder) or a clearly readable tattoo. As from 3 July 2011, transponders will be the only accepted means of identification.

The transponder is already recognised as the only valid means of identification in Ireland, Malta and United Kingdom.

Movements of pet animals between Member States

Animals travelling, accompanied by their owner, within the European Union must be accompanied by a passport * issued by a veterinarian authorised by the competent authority in their Member State of origin.

The passport of the animals (cats, dogs and ferrets) must certify that the animal complies with the health requirements detailed below and, in the case of Finland, Ireland, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom, with the additional national rules required by these countries.

Entry of pet animals (cats, dogs and ferrets) into the territory of a Member State is subject to compliance with the following three conditions:

  • the animal must have a system of identification (transponder or tattoo);
  • the animal must be validly vaccinated against rabies;
  • the animal must comply, if necessary, with certain preventive health measures concerning diseases other than rabies.

For a transitory period up until 31 December 2011, entry of pet animals (dogs or cats) into the territory of Ireland, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom is subject to compliance with the following additional conditions:

  • the animal must have undergone a neutralising antibody titration (a test aimed at checking the efficacy of the vaccine) in a laboratory approved by the European Commission and following the protocol in force in these Member States;
  • the animal must be treated against ticks (except for Sweden) and tapeworm echinococciosis (this treatment is also required for Sweden) following the protocol in force in these Member States.

In addition, Member States may authorise entry to young animals under three months old and unvaccinated under certain conditions.

Movements of pet animals from third countries

The health rules applicable to intra-Community movements of pet animals also apply to the following countries: Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican. They also apply to the third countries listed in Annex II, Part C.

Stricter health rules apply to animals (cats, dogs and ferrets) coming from a third country not listed in Part C of Annex II. If they enter Member States other than Ireland, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom, these animals must be vaccinated and have undergone a neutralising antibody titration (for Finland treatment against tapeworm echinococcosis is also required until 31 December 2011). The titration must be carried out in a laboratory approved by the European Commission on a blood sample taken at least one month after the vaccination and three months before the movement of the animal.

If they enter Ireland, Malta, Sweden or the United Kingdom, placing in quarantine is foreseen in accordance with the protocol in force in those Member States.

Animals coming from third countries must be accompanied by a certificate issued by an official veterinarian or a passport in the case of reintroduction, certifying that the health rules of this Regulation have been complied with.

Penalties

Where checks, particularly those performed at EU entry points, reveal that an animal does not satisfy the requirements of this Regulation, the authority responsible may decide to return the animal to its country of origin, to isolate it under official supervision for the time necessary to bring it into line with health requirements or, as a last resort, to put the animal down where its return or isolation in quarantine cannot be envisaged.

Key terms of the Act
  • Pet animals: animals of the species listed in Annex I which are accompanying their owners or a natural person responsible for such animals on behalf of the owner during their movement and are not intended to be sold or transferred to another owner.
  • Passport: any document enabling the pet animal to be clearly identified and including the points that enable its status with regard to this Regulation to be checked.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EC) No 998/2003

3.7.2003

-

JO L 146, 13.6.2003

DEROGATION FROM THE ACT

Decision 2004/557/EC [Official Journal L 249, 23.7.2004].
This derogation applies to the transit of pet dogs and cats between the island of Bornholm and other parts of the territory of Denmark via Swedish territory.

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Decision 2004/650/EC

21.9.2004

-

JO L 298, 23.9.2004

Regulation (EC) No 454/2008

24.6.2008

-

OJ L 145 of 4.6.2008

Regulation (EC) No 219/2009

20.4.2009

-

OJ L 87 of 31.3.2009

Regulation (EU) No 438/2010

18.6.2010

-

OJ L 132 of 29.5.2010

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is for information only.

RELATED ACTS

Council Regulation (EU) No 388/2010 of 6 May 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the maximum number of pet animals of certain species that may be the subject of non-commercial movement [Official Journal L 114 of 7.5.2010].

Commission Decision 2007/25/EC of 22 December 2006 as regards certain protection measures in relation to highly pathogenic avian influenza and movements of pet birds accompanying their owners into the Community [Official Journal L 8, 13.1.2007].
See consolidated version

Commission Decision 2005/91/EC of 2 February 2005 establishing the period after which the anti-rabies vaccination is considered as valid [Official Journal L 31, 4.2.2005].

Commission Decision 2004/839/EC of 3 December 2004 establishing conditions for non-commercial movements of young dogs and cats from third countries into the Community [Official Journal L 361, 8.12.2004].

Commission Decision 2004/824/EC of 1 December 2004 establishing a model health certificate for non-commercial movements of dogs, cats and ferrets from third countries into the Community [Official Journal L 358, 3.12.2004].

Commission Decision 2003/803/EC of 26 November 2003 establishing a model passport for the intra-Community movements of dogs, cats and ferrets [Official Journal L 312 of 27.11.2003].

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council in connection with Article 23 of Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the animal health requirements applicable to the non-commercial movement of pet animals [COM(2007) 578 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This report concerns the measures to be taken at the end of the transitional period during which Ireland, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom have maintained anti-rabies measures as a specific condition of entry. With a view to achieving full harmonisation of the rules in force in the EU, the Commission is assessing the options available for revising the current arrangements. This assessment is based on the scientific opinion of the European Food Safety Authority. The options available include continuing on a permanent basis, extending, lifting or adjusting the conditions of entry for the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta, Finland and Sweden. However, since the discussions on amending the Regulation will last for longer than the time provided for by the Regulation, the Commission will initially opt for an extension of the period of application of those rules.

Last updated: 10.09.2010
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