Passports for Pets has been a mixed bag for pet owners. It seems ideal to be able to bring your animal on holiday, but the scheme is not cheap. Dave Willcock found that the idyllic holiday with his dog was not as easy or money saving as he thought it may have been. Dave is “appalled” with the cost of transporting his dog to and from England. His pet passport for four year old Tod, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, was finalised a few months ago, costing him around £300. He then had to buy a Ministry of Agriculture and RSPCA-approved kennel to transport the dog. There is only one British airline from the UK (Heathrow) to Palma which has a route approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Wilcock said that he was told that a return flight to Palma would cost him £250 but that a single flight for Tod the dog would be £213. He has now inquired about the price of a return ticket and has been informed that he has to pay 77 thousand pesetas (almost £350) to get Tod back to Heathrow. In accordance with the passport scheme, Tod will have to “check-in” three hours before take off. Linda Howard, who has run the Kifaru Kennels in Majorca for the last twenty years, is well versed in the trials and tribulations of animal shipping. She told the Bulletin “We shipped a dog yesterday, quite a large animal, and the flight alone was 108'000 pesetas (over £400). Other than driving the animal all the way back to England, there is nothing you can do except pay the money.” Palma was the second city to get an approved route for animal shipping, the first being Amsterdam. Barcelona has just received a trial six month route to Gatwick and Madrid has a permanent route to Heathrow. Linda added yesterday “The airline usually like the animals in the cargo area three hours before the flight but I try to squeeze it down a little. I always leave water inside the kennel and a bottle of water outside so that anyone passing can fill it up. The airlines are usually very strict about the animals' welfare. Only last year Heathrow fined Palma half a million pesetas for shipping a dog in a box that was a little bit too small.” However the price of shipment is standard throughout different airports. Dave said yesterday “Over £500 is a big chunk out of spending money when you're on holiday. I have been over here for four weeks and wanted the dog with me, but next time I shall leave him with friends.”

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