Thursday, 2 February 2012

Oscar's Countdown..... part one

We are in the process of exporting Oscar out of Singapore and importing him to Australia, Oscar being our Tenterfield Terrier that is nearly 14 years of age.

On 5th March 2007 I blogged about Pokey and Oscar's iminent arrival into Singapore HERE, then two days later I blogged about their arrival into Singapore HERE .... it all seems to long ago now. Well I guess it is in a dogs life, 5 years is a long time!

Though we no longer have Pokey with us (he died on 7 July 2011) and the blog is HERE, we still have to get Oscar back home. To import the dogs into Singapore was just so easy, we felt no stress at all. Their injections needed to be up to date (and they were), one vet check and then a 7.5 hour flight to us here in Singapore without any quarantine at all.

But to import Oscar back into Australia is incredibly stressful.

If we knew what we know now (and yes, we all suffer hindsight!) I doubt we would have brought them to Singapore in the first place. But sometimes it is easy to say these things (in hindsight!) but I doubt we would have been able to leave them behind either ... so what does one do in this situation?

If you are considering exporting your animal out of Australia, think VERY carefully about them returning at some point and the stress you are putting not only them under, but yourself. When your cat or dog is exported from Australia they immediately relinquish their Australian health status. While overseas your cat or dog may be exposed to exotic diseases and depending on which country they have resided in, they may not meet Australian import requirements upon return.

                 Australian Quarantine website on bringing pets back to Australia.

Arriving into Singapore is a breeze if you are coming in from Australia ..... but returning is a different matter all together. It started on 15 Nov 2011, yes, over three months ahead of the expected date of departure.

We contacted K9 Kennels/Mitchville Kennels to enquire how to proceed.:

The reply was straight forward with a few questions:

To enable us to quote for your pet's relocation, would appreciate if you could advise us the following:
1. Does the pet/s have the following:

a) valid AVA dog license? If not, please indicate if the dog has been sterilised.
 b) ISO microchip?
 c) valid Annual vaccination? If yes, please advise date given.
 d) airline approved travelling cage?

If yes, please provide the length, width and height of cage. Is the cage made of plastic or wood? Does it have metal door?
If no, please advise the following measurements of each pet in standing position (on its four paws):
i) Length of pet - from tip of nose to bottom of tail (bum)
ii) Width of pet - from shoulder to shoulder
iii) Height of pet - from head to ground.
2. For door to door quote, please provide delivery area and postal code in Australia.
3. Would you like to pay the 30 days quarantine charges directly to the authorities or through us?
4. Should the pet/s have any ongoing veterinary problem or require any medication or prescription diet, please provide details.
5. Kindly confirm the pet/s has never been to Africa before.

We immediately sent a reply attaching all the required documentation. Always comes in handy when you have these important documents scanned and saved on the HD.

Just 24 hours later came the quote to import Oscar into Australia, which was $4500.00 SGD.  The 30 days quarantine fee of $2,141.70 was included in the final total.

More papers to complete and sign.

By 21 Nov 2011 we had a confirmation letter from K9 Kennels saying they were able to relocate him to Australia, provided the Australian Import Permit would be issued for Oscar.

We were told at this point we also had to supply ORIGINAL documents and that K9 Kennels would arrive at our home to collect them in the first week of December 2011:

- Original Vaccination records (current and past records)
- Microchip numbers (or certificates - if available)
- Valid Singapore dog license/s
- Original Sterilisation Certificates (if any)
- Medical history of pets (if any)
- Documentary proof of pet's 6 months residency in Singapore (compulsory)
- Owner's passport copy
- Owner's full residential address and contact number in Australia (compulsory for Australian Import permit application)
- AQIS Veterinary Medical Form (compulsory; find attached)
- An alternative contact number and email address in Singapore for us to get in touch with you (optional)
- a 50% deposit (S$2,209.50) or full payment (S$4,419.50) of the total amount stated on the agreed quote

On the same day, my colleague will bring the required documents for your completion and signature.

We also needed to show them the crate Oscar was to travel in ..... but it turned out that the crate door was not properly 'fixed' and so we needed to get another crate. We were fortunate that K9 Kennels could obtain a second hand one for us for $60.00 SGD.

At this point we also needed to take Oscar to the vet (The Animal Clinic in Clementi) for a complete check up and for Dr Jennifer to sign all the req'd documents, plus to check his microchip number.

If you are intending to import a pet into Australia, plan well ahead as you will need every day of three months.  From the time K9 Kennels came to collect the documentation on 5 DEC 2011 we were then told it would take 20 business days to obtain the Import Permit.

...... and if you are any good at maths, you will note that the 20 (business) days comes up at 5th January due to Christmas and other public holidays.

But it was far sooner than we expected ....
as on 14 Dec 2011 we rec'd an email from Australian Quarantine saying they could not issue the import permit due to his age and ill health and would strongly advise against his travel to Australia...

He had recently been diagnosed with Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushings disease) and Congestive Heart Failure.

we were devasted.

So I sat down and wrote a long email to them including three photos taken of Oscar that same day. I wanted them to see what he looked like and to ask them to reassess the situation. We had been advised by the vet he was not in any pain at all ..... and we felt it was worth the risk of trying to get him HOME .... we had to at least try.

we then rec'd a reply and in part it read:

Should you decide to proceed with Oscar’s importation, please inform AQIS in writing that you have read and understood this letter. AQIS will then continue to assess your application to import Oscar against relevant Australian legislation and policies.
As Oscar’s owner, you must consider whether it is in Oscar’s best interests to be subject to long distance travel and the required time in quarantine. If you elect to import Oscar, AQIS strongly recommends that you arrange for a private veterinarian to examine him after arrival at the quarantine station.

The private veterinarian can determine whether changes to Oscar’s medication or care is necessary following any stress associated with importation.

In accordance with standard Australian import conditions, the approved veterinarian signing Veterinary Certificate A of the import permit must perform a detailed clinical examination of Oscar within four days of export, and certify that Oscar is healthy and fit to travel to Australia and undergo quarantine. If AQIS does grant you a permit to import Oscar, you must comply with this condition

We agreed to everything they were suggesting, plus we took him to the vet again to recheck (for ourselves) that his health would be up to the flight and the month long quarantine. The vet told us he is not in any pain and yes, he is an 'old dog' with health issues so there are risks involved, but at the moment he is "clinically well".

That was enough for us!

and at 11.00am on December 15 we rec'd an email from K9 Kennels:

                            Good News! We just received Oscar's Import Permit this morning.

                                                       please read the next blog post 
                                                      "Oscar's Countdown..... part two" 
                                                              for the continued story!
                                  above: Oscar in May 1998 when he was just 10 weeks old.

          above: Oscar in December 2011 when he was 13 years and 9 months old.

    and he is still a handsome boy!

*detailed blog post is to hopefully help others in a similar situation*


if you are importing your animal to Australia, make sure you have all the documents completed, scanned and ready for when required.
Start the process at least 3 months ahead of your proposed date of travel.
Read the Australian Quarantine website thoroughly.
Be flexible where you can so there are 'no surprises' at the last moment.
Make sure you have a good vet that knows your animal.

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