Those attempting to evacuate with pets are experiencing difficulties with lack of paperwork, vaccination details, and vets to sign off travel.
Whilst there are no official guidelines yet for evacuation of pets from the BVI, Below are some snippets from various citizens who have tried to gather information and instructions. These are all taken from posts in the Facebook group Hurricane Irma Animals – BVI. Please follow the group for updates and more information.
“I have spoken this morning with a Supervisor of the PR Customs team who has spoken with his chief. They are now confirming with the CDC that because BVI is rabies free they will let dogs and cats in without paperwork as long as you plan to leave PR again the next few days. I have to call back in 30mins. [UPDATE: THIS IS NOW CONFIRMED WITH THE CDC – NO PAPERWORK REQUIRED FOR ENTRY FOR CATS OR DOGS TO PR]”
“FYI – I just got off the phone with Cape Air to cancel Shawn’s flight tomorrow but I asked him if they were relaxing their policy with regards to animals travelling to SJU. SJU seems to be letting animals in without paperwork. He said nothing is official but they are an animal friendly airline and he is going to pass on my comments. I told him there are many desperate pet owners trying to get off the island with their pets. He said their concern is space.”
“Morning, some information for people who are traveling to Puerto Rico with pets and need to stay at a hotel. The Sheraton Convention Centre in San Juan allows pets and there are lots of others too but may depend on weight and number of animals. You can check on pethotels.com for information.”
“Pet evacuation experience – 2 cats – hope this helps.
1. BVI Airport – seems most pilots – helicopter/plane are OK with animals. As more go with pets it is getting easier.
2. Customs – cats declared and asked for health certificate but they said OK without one. Didn’t even look at the cats.
3. Hotel – there are a few pet friendly hotels and the others, so far, will not make an exception. As more people get out these hotels will book up. Shawn is at the Vanderbilt Condado – nice. There is also Verdanza but they didn’t answer when I called last night. Best to call directly to get a room.
4. SJU – there are places to buy pet food and supplies. Shawn has gone out so not sure how near/far.”
“No, they dont need a passport to avoid quarantine. pets coming to UK without a passport or from countries without a passport system (i.e. BVI) should meet the requirements of the Annex paperwork – these conditions are all avaialble online. BVI is considered rabies-free by UK, so just need rabies and core vaccines to be up to date, to be microchipped and dogs to have a tapeworm treatment given 5d-24h pretravel.
Obviously as we are unable to microchip or worm anything right now my advice would be to get your rabies vaccination proof and go to Puerto rico then get a PR vet to do the rest.”
“Here in St. Croix where the restrictions are tighter, there is a plan in place and people working tirelessly to accommodate the influx of pets with and without the proper paperwork. There is an organization in St Croix that will be providing free rabies vaccinations and health certificates for pets leaving with their owners from the BVI. They also have crates, pet supplies, transportation and short term fostering, ready for those that need. We are HOPING that Customs and Border Patrol will allow a vet to expedite the process at the dock upon arrival and then clear customs. Stay tuned.”