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New Eurotunnel animal restriction will ‘cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of rescue dogs’ warns charity

Rescue groups have hit out at Eurotunnel’s decision to limit the number of animals that can be transported by one person at a time to five.

They say the move will dramatically increase the costs of sending abandoned dogs and cats for re-homing which will ultimately “cost the lives of rescue dogs around the world”.

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The limit applies to a range of animals including ferrets, horses, ponies, donkeys, rodents, rabbits and birds (except poultry) moving between France and England.

Helping Dogs in Romania said it will likely “see an end to Brits being able to rescue the street dogs from Europe’s poorest countries” because rules requires the same person to move a dog over each border they go through before they reach Calais.

Rescuers typically move around 20 dogs in adapted transporters. It’s claimed they were given no advance warning about the change which came into effective from Thursday for new bookings. The Eurotunnel has said it will honour pre-booked vehicles for this week.

There is an exemption for animals taking part in a competition, show or sporting event, for which proof of participation is required, according to an update on Eurotunnel’s website.

Devastated adopters around the UK are desperate to know if their dogs will ever reach them.

Lizzi Armstrong who volunteers for Helping Dogs in Romania as an adoptions co-ordinator, said: “It’s an enormous shock, I was just given the all clear by the Romanian vet for our dogs to travel to their new homes next week: one is blind, and the other saved from being euthanised with horse tranquiliser at a kill shelter. They have new homes waiting for them, how can such a sudden change ruin these animals future after all they have survived?”

‘It’s a miracle Maddie survived on the streets without her sight’

Kate Goud said she is anxious waiting for the arrival of Maddie from Romania, a street dog who is completely blind (Photos: Kate Goud)

Kate Goud is adopting Maddie, who is completely blind and around two years old. She and two other dogs were living in an abandoned truck in Constanta, Romania. A rescuer had been feeding them but needed Helping Dogs in Romania’s help to get them safe.

Kate, from Derby, who adopted an older dog through the organisation, said: “Maddie was meant to be coming this week and we’re really anxious to find out there’s a set back.

“Animal welfare isn’t good in Romania and they’re overrun with dogs. I’m told they’re run over in cars and treated cruelly. It’s a miracle that Maddie survived on the streets without her sight.

“She was found cowering in a corner and is very frightened and timid, and I’m hoping she gets here so we can help her. My rescue dog, Sue, has come on leaps and bounds with us.”

Graham Beddard says the delay in getting Bonnie, the dog he is adopting from Romania, across to the UK means other dogs who could have took her space in kennels will not be rescued (Photos: Graham Beddard)

Graham Beddard, from Plymouth, was expecting to take in a mongrel called Bonnie from Romania next weekend, but the adoption is now up in the air.

Now three, she was found as a pup on the streets and has been waiting three years in kennels for her forever home.

Graham, 38, says he’s got attached to Bonnie since he first spotted her photo two months ago. “I’m very upset,” he said. “Her brother Treacle was adopted earlier in the year to someone in my home town, and I’ve been excited that she’d get to see her brother again. 

“Hopefully I’ll get Bonnie eventually, but while she is taking up space in kennels for longer that’s who knows how many dogs on the streets or in kill shelters that can’t be taken in and rehomed.” 00

Petition calling for decision reversal

How can animals being brought here to die be unaffected while they stop dogs coming here for a chance at life?

Lizzi Armstrong

It is estimated that 30,000 rescue dogs are brought into the UK from the EU each year, a third of them from Romania.

Another rescue group, Dog4rescue, has launched a petition called for the decision to be reversed which has been signed so far by nearly 26,000.

It states: “This decision is devastating for the future of international dog rescue and will end up costing hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. Limiting the number of dogs to five changes the economics of transport for rescuers making it prohibitive.”

It’s not clear if the limit decision is permanent and related to Brexit or Covid to reduce the movement of people.

Eurotunnel confirmed the limits and process affecting animals coming to the UK for slaughter will not change.

Ms Armstrong added: “How can animals being brought here to die be unaffected while they stop dogs coming here for a chance at life? The fact that exclusions are being made for competitions suggests that while show dogs are still welcome in the UK, the dogs who face death in their own country are not.”

DEFRA said the decision to limit the number of animals that can be carried in one vehicle is a commercial decision made by Eurotunnel, and that it’s not party to business decisions made by Eurotunnel.

Eurotunnel has been approached for comment.

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