One of the perennial problems for long-term tourists and returning Caymanians alike is importing your loved pets.
A raft of forms and paperwork can be daunting for some, according to Ayala Bar of Animal Airways, whose raison d’etre is to simplify the process for their clients worldwide with reference to their database of different countries’ import rules and the various requirements of local airline carriers. The company has recently begun operations in the Caribbean.
“Animal Airways was established by veterinarians who understood the process involved in importing or exporting pets. People think that to import pets you just need a good travel agency, which is partly true, but what you really need is a professional who understands the specific country rules and regulations, which in some areas have become very strict in terms of quarantine, blood test, exotic or dangerous species.
“There are a lot of rules and regulations within airlines where they won’t fly puppies, for example or pets without health certificates. People fly constantly and they want to take their pets with them, but it can become very difficult,” said Ms Bar, who added that the focus is on safety and the health of the animal.
Animal Airways acts as a broker to untangle the paperwork as they have knowledge of how all the airlines operate through their London headquarters plus offices in Moscow, Jordan and India, she explained. Local offices include Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela and Cuba.
Cats to Cayman
So far, locally the company has assisted two families this year, both bringing cats across to Cayman. One originated in London, the other in New York City. Both were arranged through a travel agent and Cayman Airways, said Etyan Kreiner, head veterinarian.
“In order to import a pet [to Cayman] one must be prepared with Import Permit issued by the Department of Agriculture, a local microchip to agriculture department standards, vaccinations against rabies and a blood test which must indicate a serum antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml. A regular pet import to the Cayman islands begins six month prior to the flight due to the formalities required by law,” Ms Bar explained, saying that climate considerations and medical consultation with their vets are crucial.
“People once only flew their pets as relocation if they had a new job overseas, but now people take their dogs on vacation with them - they travel as one. Everywhere the family goes, the pets go.”