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Hundreds sign petition protesting pet import changes

More than 500 people have registered their concerns about proposals to ban importing puppies and kittens from the UK.

Protesters say they're now waiting for Environment Minister Marc Bean to set a date for their meeting, at which they hope to find out more details on the block, which Government veterinary officer Jonathan Nisbett has said could be enforced from January 1, 2012. At 10pm last night, 538 people had signed up to a Facebook page dedicated to airing worries about the proposal, likely to be introduced because Britain is relaxing its rabies regulations

Campaigners say opponents to the rule change include Bermuda Veterinarian Association, the SPCA, dog trainers and behaviourists and many pet owners.

People commenting on the Facebook page include former Progressive Labour Party candidate Jane Correia, who said losing the UK as a source for puppies and kittens would be “devastating”.

Mrs Correia wrote: “In the United States you have to wait until they reach the age of four months or more which is too long in a young animal's life, especially if they are in a puppy mill or an abusive situation as you end up with an aggressive dog, which I have personally experienced.

“It is far more expensive for the consumer to bring a dog in from the United Kingdom but you do know the pet you are getting has been cared for properly I am dead against the new law being passed to ban the importation altogether. I would support the age limit of 16 weeks being imposed, however.”

Sally Ann Topley wrote: “This is just not on!!! I got my boxer from England right on the day when he turned 12 weeks old.

“What an amazing thing to be able to raise him from such an early age. The flight is such a long one, would be cruel to insist on even a longer flight. Leave this alone!!!”

More than 350 dogs and cats are brought from the UK every year as pets or to take part in shows.

Protesters fear a ban on importation would lead to more puppy mill breeding in Bermuda, problems with inbreeding and further inflated costs from opportunistic breeders taking advantage of the ban.

From January 1, Britain will allow dogs to enter the UK from the EU, and listed non-EU countries which include the US and Canada, after just one rabies vaccination and a 21-day wait period.

The British Government believes this change in import regulations does not introduce a significant risk to animals or people and will bring the UK's Pet Travel Scheme into line with the most recent science.

Bermuda Government has not responded to requests for comment on its plans.

Hundreds of people have signed a petition to protest over changes to the importation of kittens and puppies.

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Published November 24, 2011 at 8:00 am (Updated November 24, 2011 at 8:49 am)

Hundreds sign petition protesting pet import changes

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