International rehoming of dogs and cats should not be carried out as a standard practice EU Cat & Dog Alliance member organisations have agreed this week. Instead members will work preventatively in the country of origin to minimise the need for rehoming animals abroad, for example through neutering and educational campaigns, to stem the problem.

Simona Lipstaite, European Policy Advisor for the EU Dog & Cat Alliance and Dogs Trust, comments:

“International rehoming of dogs and cats is a practice which is not sustainable in the long term as it only provides interim measures rather than addressing the root causes of companion animals living in shelters or being homeless in the country of origin. It also presents the risk of spreading diseases across borders and introducing new diseases into different countries. The main diseases under consideration are rabies, Echinococcus multilocularis, leishmaniosis, babesiosis, dirofilaria and ehrlichiosis and, in the case of cats, retroviruses.”

International rehoming presents further issues in relation to cats. Being much more territorial than dogs, cats inevitably suffer a huge amount of stress during transport. Cats take a long time to acclimatise to a new environment and some may never recover from the stress of being moved internationally.

Where international rehoming is unavoidable, members have agreed that there must be full traceability and that the rehoming is solely in the best interests of the animal, and not for monetary gain for the organisation. Member organisations must also do it legally and following proper disease testing procedures.

So, do you think it’s the right decision? Do you think it will stop the problem of transmitted diseases or stop animals in need finding safety and a secure future in a new home? Comment below and let us know what you think.

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