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Rescues Unite, a group of UK Rescues comprising registered Charities and not for profit animal rescues have formed to fight the current suspension of dogs from Romania entering the UK under commercial transport by applying for a Judicial review against the Government ruling.

“The suspension is disproportionate based on official figures released by the affected countries” says Jason Yorke, Trustee of A Better Life Dog Rescue. “DEFRA have performed a knee jerk reaction to a situation that was totally controllable if they had listened to the rescuers that have vast experience in rescue from those countries. The only way forward is a Judicial Review to look into the actions of the suspension and its fairness” he continues.

The first suspension was announced on 7th April 22 with a start date of 8th April until 14th May, a further suspension was then enforced on all rescues on 13th May till July 9th. Again on 8th July a further ban was instigated until September 3rd.

Hayley Ashford Founder of Final Stop Rescue explained that “Rescues Unite believe that the ruling is unjust and the length of the suspension is not proportionate to the risk mentioned in the suspension.

The way the extensions have been announced have in our opinion been very underhand with all extensions been given after 5pm the day before the day the ban was due to be lifted, when DEFRA are closed and with less than 24 hours’ notice, meaning no approach can be made to DEFRA” she explained.

DEFRA claim that the suspension is necessary to protect the UK borders from rabies through Ukrainian dogs entering via Romania.

Evidence obtained and presented to DEFRA proved no rescue dogs have entered Romania from Ukraine since 25th March and only owned dogs with vaccinations and passports had entered with their owners and were subject to quarantine periods in Romania the same as the UK rules for Ukrainian pets.

Bagdat Ozarslan Trustee of REAN stated that “Records held by officials on the Romanian border proves that less than 400 dogs entered Romania from Ukraine, all will be taken by EU rescue and NONE of these dogs are destined for the UK, which proves in our opinion the ruling is disproportionate to the risk” she added

There have been no documented cases of rabies in Romanian dogs.

Bagdat Ozarslan Trustee of REAN explained “that official figures received from the Ukrainian government shows that of the 1800 cases of rabies reported only 189 of those were in dogs”

DEFRA claim that there were incidents of non compliance with Ukrainian dogs on fake paperwork.

Whilst Rescues Unite are aware the dogs were seized; 1 consignment was released without further action when it was proved the dogs were not Ukrainian and that their Belarus paperwork was genuine. The rescue responsible for the non compliance has had no action taken against them by DEFRA.

DEFRA claim there is a lack of quarantine kennels in UK as they are prioritising Ukrainian pets.

Rescues Unite have documented proof that DEFRA have licensed numerous private kennels for soft quarantine for Ukrainian pets and many of these kennels are being paid for by UK taxes despite them sitting empty. Romanian dogs imported by reputable rescues do not take up quarantine kennels in UK.

“UK adopters waiting for their dogs to arrive are being denied the right to bring their dogs home whilst unscrupulous rescuers are bringing dogs in under the pet passport scheme which is illegal and means DEFRA have no control over these dogs entering even though these are the same dogs that would have entered with full disclosure and traceability had commercial transport been used”, Roz Dilly Trustee of Bid to Save a Stray explained.

Rescues Unite are seeking a Judicial review as it is felt the ruling by DEFRA is disproportionate to the risk and is unjust in suspending ALL rescues.

All dogs entering the UK from Romania by any member of our group are subject to vet checks, vaccinations, neutering, tests for diseases such as Brucella Canis , distemper and parvo, flea & wormers and all dogs are chipped and legally passported.

All Rescues Unite members follow all Balai directive rules for importing and DEFRA have full knowledge on all dogs entering through IPAFFS, import notifications, VAT schedules, movement of goods notices and are available for full checks by APHA/DEFRA at any point during transport and arrival.

DEFRA make very few checks on the dogs on arrival at UK borders.

Rescues Unite are asking for rescues to be subject to more stringent rules.

Roz Dilly Trustee of Bid to Save a Stray explained “Letters were written to DEFRA & the Ministers responsible for the policies following the first ban in April, in which they were asked for tighter regulations for those importing dogs. An association for members who perform best practice under a voluntary code of practice & importer licences for more transparency were suggested” she explained “that Ministers were invited to discuss Rescue Unites suggestions to find a solution to the issues and for action to be taken against rescues and transports who break the rules. But DEFRA and responsible Ministers have declined to acknowledge any requests to find a solution so far”

UK Charities are being forced to act against their constitutions.

The current suspension is causing many UK Charities to act against their governing documents because they cannot fulfil their constitutions in terms of their public benefit obligations.

Thousands of Romanian dogs will face an uncertain future because of the suspension.

Many rescues in Romania are full and therefore cannot take dogs out the notorious public shelters, these dogs are at risk of being culled in an inhumane way as the public shelters fill up and Romanian rescuers have no space for them.

Rescues Unite explained dogs waiting to travel to their families in UK are being held in shelters and are missing out on vital socialisation and training, for pups the critical time is being spent in a European shelter instead of a loving home in the UK where they would be learning.

The UK Funded Romanian shelters are becoming over crowded and UK rescues are struggling to keep them fully funded which will lead to more welfare concerns not only for the dogs but for the people involved.

The suspension takes no account of animal welfare or the impact on human mental health.

Hayley Ashford Founder of Final Stop rescue explained “all reputable rescues offer Rescue Back Up for their dogs from the moment they leave Romania for the whole of their lives, no foreign dog from a reputable rescue who is a member of Rescue Unite will ever be a burden on the UK rescue system”

“Rescues Unite are calling for an immediate review and lifting of the current suspension for reputable rescues and for DEFRA to ensure our borders are safe with more stringent checks and better control and harsher punishment for non compliant rescues and transporters” explained Jason Yorke Trustee of A Better Life Dog Rescue

A Judicial review is a process under which legislative and administrative actions are subject to review by the judiciary. A court with authority for judicial review, may invalidate laws, acts and governmental actions that are incompatible with a higher authority: an executive decision may be invalidated for being unlawful or a statute may be invalidated for violating the terms of a constitution.

For more information please contact:

Members of Rescues Unite at

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