BRIDGETOWN: Barbados has announced that it will allow the importation of dogs and cats from any country worldwide. The new policy, announced by Senior Veterinary Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Mark Trotman, came into effect on January 1.
Previously, such animals could only come into Barbados from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and a few Caribbean islands.
“In order for an animal to be allowed into the island, pet owners must first obtain an import permit, along with a health certificate issued by the animal’s country of origin. The import countries are broken down into two categories.
“Category one countries include Canada, the United States of America, the European Union, St. Vincent, Antigua and St. Lucia. Category two countries are Venezuela, Guyana, South Africa, most South American countries, countries from South East Asia, and some Central American countries, among others,” said Dr. Trotman.
He said that apart from the import permit and health certificate, regulations for importation depended on which category an animal fell into.
“For animals entering from category one countries, a microchip must be implanted first, then a rabies vaccination administered, and there is a minimum of a 35 day wait. The animal must also be treated for ticks and tape worms within seven days of arrival.
“For animals from the category two countries, there is the microchip, the rabies vaccination and 30 days after the rabies vaccination, a blood titer test must be taken. Ninety days after that test, once they have the correct titer, the animal will be allowed to enter Barbados,” said Trotman.
He said that the new regulations were essential, as his office received queries daily about the importation of animals.
“This is a big deal for Barbados,” said Trotman. “We receive queries almost every day from people who want to travel with their pets. There are people who are returning to live in Barbados and have a family, which includes their pets. We have lost investments because people could not move to Barbados with their pets.”
Trotman said there was also a demand from persons who wanted to bring their service animals with them into the island, as well as from those who visited the island seasonally and wished to bring their animals. He added that there was now a possibility for veterinary tourism, where countries could utilize the services of veterinarians in Barbados.