Monday, January 31, 2005

A doggy goes a flying

The last few days I’ve just underwent a crash course in the transportation of pets across the South China Sea. One of my pups was adopted by my housemate Kelvin and he plans to send Ellie Marmalade back to Penang this Chinese New Year. What he wanted to know was how this can be done. A good question, one which I contemplated as one day I will wish to send Lady back to Peninsular after I’ve graduated my masters. I knew there would be some paper work done and a need to contact the airlines cargo department on the transportation of live animals, but the extent of the hardship that separates East Malaysia and West Malaysia was huge.

The first thing I was told when I contacted MAS was that they did not know what the requirements was, I was given a number of their Cargo department. There I was told that they do handle live animal transport yet does not know the actual procedure to send pets overseas, another number was given to me, that of the Sabah Veterinary Services. Here I was bounced from one department to another until I was settled and referred to the Licensing Department. Luckily they said they do handle these matters, yet……

Yet the Peninsular Veterinary Department and the Sabah Veterinary department are not connected and that paperwork needed must be done at the Kl office at Wisma Chase Perdana near Bukit Damansara. It turns out that the importation/exportation of pets (they make it sound like I’m dealing with some endangered species!) are regulated between East and West. Firstly an import permit would be needed to acknowledge that Peninsular would accept your animal, this would need either a person to sign and pay for the fees in Kl or a mailed copy of the form with payment to Kl. Next, after obtaining the permit (which is valid for 30 days), you’ll need to apply for an export permit from Sabah Veterinary Department so that you can get permission to bring out your animal, this would entail a visit to the office, payment of the fees, send your pet for a medical examination from a vet of their appointment (cert valid for 7 days), pay the vet fees and you get your permit! Oh before I forget, your pet must be vaccinated by a vet with documentation stating so. Okay with all these you are set, oh yes there’s the arrangements needed to be made with the airline cargo department, airport clearance, freight handling for live cargo, another airport clearance before poor doggy can safely set foot on solid ground again. Oh and also read up on the restricted breeds list where German Shepard, Rotweillers, bull dogs etc are required to obtain special exemptions from the Director of the Veterinary Department before being allowed to be sent. The logistics alone to ensure that all your licences are valid in the timeframe you obtain them as well as arrangements such as air travel can be staggering!

All that just to get a dog from point A to point B. It feels like I’m trying to send my pet into another country! This reminds me so much that no matter how long we have been a nation state, the divide of East and West Malaysia still exists such as the non-uniformity of its government departments, rules and regulations. It’s lucky that pets from within Malaysia do not require quarantine facilities which costs about RM70 a week, blessings for small favours. Anecdote; your permit states the final destination for your pet, thus if its stated Penang, if you transit from Kk to KLIA before heading to Penang, you can check out but your pet cannot leave the airport as it does not have clearance to be in Kl thus it has to remain in cargo before being flown to Penang, never leaving the airport grounds. Of course your pet can travel unaccompanied, just have the required papers, send your dog/cat onto the plane and ensure that someone is at the other end to pick them up and present even more paper work. Thankfully the staffs at the Department were quite kind in answering my questions and queries both by phone and through e-mail. Now if only dogs grew wings, it’d be less of a hassle.

Department of Veterinary Services Malaysia FAQ answers a lot of questions one would have to sort through the tangled regulations.

Flowchart Posted by Hello

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