Swanky Dog Hotel?

Proposed Bill: Humans, Pets Buried in Single Grave
By Chantal Anderson - Seattle Times staff reporter

Sen. Ken Jacobsen and his cat Sam that died several years ago. The Seattle Democrat has filed a bill that would allow the commingling of human and pet remains.

Forget the notion that dogs are man's best friend. To Sen. Ken Jacobsen no dog could compare to his beloved cat, Sam.

So when the spunky 23-pound family pet died several years ago, Jacobsen was left wondering what to do with him.

"I realized Sam would have wanted to be buried with my remains, right in North Seattle," Jacobsen said Tuesday.

The idea first started as a joke, but when Jacobsen later decided to see if humans and pets could be buried together, he discovered it isn't allowed in cemeteries meant for humans.

This week, the Seattle Democrat known for proposing quirky legislation filed a bill, Senate Bill 5063, that would prevent cemeteries from rejecting animal remains and allow the commingling of human and pet remains.

The legislation only covers dogs and cats — a limitation Jacobsen said he hoped would increase the bill's chances of approval.

State law currently defines a cemetery "as a place used or intended to be used for the placement of human remains" — implying no pets allowed. The only way to be legally buried alongside your four-legged friend is to have your ashes interred in a pet cemetery.

Louis Clarke, owner of Pethaven Cemetery in Kent, thinks the bill is a good idea. The cremated remains of more than 20 people have been buried at his cemetery because the deceased wished to be with their pets.

"Sometimes people ask for their ashes to be mixed in one urn — that's how connected many people feel to their pets," Clarke said.

One gravestone of human and pet remains in the cemetery reads simply, "I loved my pets."

But David Bielski, who owns human and pet cemeteries in Aberdeen, was shocked when he heard about the bill.

"Pet's are family — but they're different," Bielski said. "This bothers me a lot. I think that's opening a whole can of worms that people don't really want to get into."

Would cemeteries have to set aside a place for pets, or would pets be buried alongside their human friends? he asked.

The bill would allow either option.

Bielski was particularly taken aback about the idea of placing the remains of dogs or cats in the same casket or urn as humans.

"I have a real problem with that," he said.

Other opponents were concerned about diminishing the dignity of human remains, and the fact that those who have died wouldn't have any say in whether a family pet would later be added to their grave.

Two years ago, Jacobsen sponsored a bill that would allow bars and restaurants with liquor licenses to welcome dogs, as long as the canines accompanied their owners and remained leashed. That bill died in the Legislature.

On Tuesday, he talked about the deep emotional bond formed over the 11 years Sam the cat was his pet.

"Some days after coming home from Olympia I felt like he was the only friend that liked me — he never got mad at me," Jacobsen joked.

When Sam died, he buried the cat in his backyard.

Chantal Anderson: 360-236-8266 or canderson@seattletimes.com

3 Strikes, Then Pets Get Spayed
PAUL YOUNG • City News Service

RIVERSIDE — After a daylong hearing during which about 100 people spoke, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night approved an ordinance mandating that cats and dogs caught running loose more than three times in the county be spayed or neutered — regardless of a pet owner's wishes.

People on both sides of the proposal filled the board chambers Tuesday.

One group, supporters of the ordinance, chartered a bus from the Coachella Valley to address the board.

About 50 people met at the Palm Desert home of Gene and Lindi Biggi, where half of the group boarded the bus to Riverside.

At least 20 dogs — and one cat — were among those who showed up at the Biggis' doorstep to wish the supporters well on their journey.

“We're hoping it gets passed,” said Lindi Biggi. “It's the right thing to do.” The new ordinance, which goes into effect in 30 days and applies only to unincorporated areas, will also require that every pet be microchipped as part of the process of registering an animal in the county.

Microchipping involves inserting a data chip the size of a rice granule under an animal's skin, which can be used to locate a pet's owner if the animal gets loose and is impounded.

Microchips would not be implanted in puppies or kittens four months old or less for safety reasons. Exclusions will also apply to dogs whose athletic ability or health might be impacted by microchipping.

The hearing started around 11a.m. and ended just before 7p.m., with a 40-minute lunch break.

The county clerk received nearly 150 speaker request cards, but roughly 100 people actually made it to the lectern.

The majority of opponents were dog breeders and owners of show dogs and cats, while supporters included animal rights activists, nonprofit kennel operators and county Department of Animal Services employees.

“I want the freedom to make my own medical decisions about my dog and not have to worry about animal control coming to my house,” Mary Bradley said.

Susan Scholar told the board that pet sterilization ordinances in other states and Los Angeles had not proved successful, resulting in revenue declines as fewer people register their pets.

“History shows that mandatory spay/neuter laws are not wise,” Scholar said.

Animal Services technician Lisa Chavez encouraged the board to enact the law to spare county workers the daily agony of having to euthanize animals.

“A lot of people don't know what we go through,” Chavez said tearfully. “We care and love these animals.”

Animal Services Director Rob Miller said of the 19,000 stray dogs and 14,000 stray cats impounded in the county in 2007, 60 percent were euthanized because they were never claimed.

“Litters of kittens and puppies end up on our doorstep on a day-to-day basis,” Miller said. “Our biggest issue is trying to curb euthanasia in the shelters and promote responsibility (among pet owners).”

The expense of processing and boarding stray cats and dogs impounded at county animal shelters exceeds $20 million annually, according to Miller.

According to Miller, it could take five to 10 years to determine if the ordinance is having the desired effect.

The cost to microchip an animal runs about $15 in Riverside County, according to Riverside County chief veterinarian Dr. Allan Drusys.

County animal shelters charge $25 for spaying or neutering a cat and $50 per dog. Costs vary at private veterinary clinics.

Desert Sun reporters Denise Goolsby and K Kaufmann contributed to this story.

Read Reactions to This Story

LLAtkinson wrote:

If it were only about dogs running free, it'd be so much easier....but hey, combined with the new no-barking ordinance in Riverside County, if your neighbor makes *unsubstantiated* barking complaints then you could end up being required to castrate your dog or give your female dog a hysterectomy.

TyinCC wrote:

Think they should spay and neuter the owners of these pets that are allowed to run free. Damage to property and and danger to people, especially the elderly and children are issue that need to be seriously considered inthe matter. It would be god too that we limit, like China, human breeding to a reasonable amount of children. Seems like those who can afford them the least, are reproducing like rabbits and letting everyone else foot the bill...then they cry about being poor and needing money, housing, medical care and other free services.
1/14/2009 9:56:19 AM Think they should spay and neuter the owners of these pets that are allowed to run free. Damage to property and and danger to people, especially the elderly and children are issue that need to be seriously considered inthe matter. It would be god too that we limit, like China, human breeding to a reasonable amount of children. Seems like those who can afford them the least, are reproducing like rabbits and letting everyone else foot the bill...then they cry about being poor and needing money, housing, medical care and other free services. TyinCC
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ronoliver wrote:

Great idea. Can we also do this to high school students? It would help lower the teen pregnancy problem considerably, especially since it's been recently discovered that "abstinence only " education doesn't work and "promise ring" wearers have sex with the same frequency as non-ring wearing peers, except the "promisers" tend not to use condoms.

Pet Nutrition: A Weighty Topic
By KAREN LEE STEVENS - The Daily Sound

Is your hound, um, hounded by humongous hips? Does your tabby have a tubby tummy? Not to worry. I recently chatted with Edward Moser, MS, VMD, DACVN, a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, a member of the USDA’s National Organic Program’s Pet Food Task Force and Consulting Veterinary Nutritionist to Wellness Natural Pet Food, about the plight of pudgy pets (and what to do about it) as well as what to look for—the good, the bad and the unnecessary—on pet food labels.

This Q&A column is the second in a two-part series on natural and organic pet foods and the wonders of water. (To read the first article, visit HYPERLINK "http://www.allforanimals.com" www.allforanimals.com.)

Q: What should consumers look for on a pet food label?

A: Consumers need to pay enough attention to the amount of animal products (proteins) in the food. We know that cats have very unique needs and really need more protein than dogs in their diet to perform well. It’s critical to be very cognizant of the fact that you’re providing animal protein to both dogs and cats in generous amounts. Although dogs usually need less protein than cats, some dogs will do very well on a high-protein diet.

Q: How can consumers identify a “natural” pet food?

A: There are four ingredients—which I call ‘The Four A’s’—that are NOT in natural diets: artificial ingredients, artificial preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. Natural preservatives are always present in a dry organic or natural pet food. If there weren’t preservatives in dry food, the dietary fat would become rancid. In a canned (wet) food, there is not a preservative because the food is sealed in an air-tight container. Semi-moist foods, on the other hand, are not processed in an air-tight container. Semi-moist foods (which have a moisture content of 15%-25%) must be preserved because mold likes to grow on them. Dry food contains 10% or less moisture and therefore, is easier to preserve from mold.

Q: What is the “AAFCO Statement of Nutritional Adequacy” printed on all pet food labels?

A: The Association of American Feed Control Officials, Inc. (AAFCO) Statement of Nutritional Adequacy—which is found on all pet food labels—may indicate that a pet food is formulated to meet the minimum recommendation of necessary nutrients needed for all life stages or a particular life stage of an animal; whether it’s for growth, maintenance, or reproduction. Or it may indicate that the product is for intermittent or supplemental feeding. The label may also designate that the food underwent an actual “feeding trial,” where dogs or cats were given the food in a controlled setting, according to a set of standards, for a certain period of time, and researchers tracked the animals’ responses.

Q: What are your thoughts on overweight pets?

A: What we’re finding in the real-life population is that most people feed their pets too much – they don’t know how much they’re feeding and they don’t know how much their pets weigh. What ends up happening is that overweight animals don’t live as long and their quality of life is compromised. People need to be sensible and ask themselves questions such as: How much does my pet weigh? Should she weigh more or less? What can I do about it? Should I be feeding two meals a day? One meal a day? Should I be incorporating fiber in the diet; restricting fat, increasing protein, or just feeding less? Should I be exercising my pet more?

Q: Please give a simple suggestion for weight loss.

A: Just by simply switching your pet from a dry food to a wet food, you can get their weight under control. Calculate how many calories your pet consumes on a daily basis, then decrease the amount you’re feeding by 10%-15%. The bottom line is the total calorie intake. If a 3-oz. can has 100 calories and you feed your pet three cans a day, that means you’re feeding your pets 300 calories each day. Take a sample of the food (and the label) to the vet’s office.

Q: Please discuss the importance of seeking veterinary advice.

A: I can’t emphasize enough that pets should be seen by a veterinarian on a regular basis. You live with your pet and so you won’t necessarily notice that extra couple of pounds, but your veterinarian will. The vet. can weigh your cat or dog (most clinics have a walk-on scale for dogs, so there’s no excuse that the dog is too heavy to pick up). You veterinarian can help you determine how many pounds your pet needs to gain or lose and they can help you with their diet. They can schedule a re-exam and weigh your pet again. Veterinarians are an invaluable resource for you and your pet.

BYLINE: When Karen’s not scrutinizing pet food labels, she’s writing her next column. Send your story ideas to her at HYPERLINK "mailto:karenleestevens@cox.net" karenleestevens@cox.net. For more of Karen’s columns, visit HYPERLINK "http://www.allforanimals.com" www.allforanimals.com.


Fannie, a 4-year-old brown and white, short-haired tabby, has recuperated from jaw surgery (ouch!) and is now looking for a loving home. She’s very affectionate, gets along with other animals, and absolutely adores people. To meet Fannie, stop by ASAP at 5473 Overpass Road (off Patterson Ave.) or call (805) 683-3368.

Swanky Lounge Has It All - For Your Pet
By Josh Adams - Forest Park Review

Dog hotel moves into former Team Blonde digs

Soft bedding, room service and aromatherapy are just what you might need after a long day of work or travel. Perhaps some classical music to lull your senses and in the morning a gentle wake up call gives the day a proper start.

These amenities add up to a luxurious experience, but in this case the pampering is not for you. It's for your pet.

Peggy Bernar is hoping to cash in on the multibillion dollar pet industry and on Jan. 12 opened The Spot, a doggie hotel, at one of the busiest intersections on Madison Street. To help promote her new business, Bernar hosted an open house over the weekend, welcoming pet owners and their pets.

"It's something I've always wanted-to work for myself," Bernar said while giving a tour of the renovated space at Circle and Madison. "I absolutely love dogs, not to the point where it's creepy, but my dogs are my priority, along with my husband."

Bernar is a Berwyn resident and comes to Forest Park by way of the Yuppie Puppy, a grooming outfit on Harlem in Oak Park. While working there, she said, her boss was regularly reminding Bernar to stop playing with the dogs long enough to groom them.

The accommodations at The Spot include several distinct rooms so that pets can mingle with dogs that are of a similar size. The storefront includes a finished basement where most of the dogs will play, but a first-floor room for older pets will save those aging dogs the trouble of navigating the stairs. The Spot will offer both doggie daycare-promoted as the lounge-and overnight boarding.

Karen Long McLeod is the editor in chief of Pet Age magazine, an industry publication headquartered in Chicago. The term "pet hotel" gained traction within the last decade as the trend of styling traditional kennels into homier, more luxurious settings caught on, she said. Pet owners have come to view their furry friends as members of the family, and are backing that sentiment with their spending.

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, pet owners in 2007 spent more than $41.2 billion. More than two million pet owners have an insurance policy on their companions and by 2010 the association expects more than 5 percent of pet owners will carry a pet insurance card.

The frills offered by this new breed of boarders may not make much difference to pets, but Long McLeod said there are studies that show music can help calm an excitable dog.

"I think more of it is probably geared toward the owner who is making the decision about where to take their pets," Long McLeod said.

The Pet Care Services Association in Colorado said the hotel industry for pets varies widely in terms of the types of services offered. Nicole Singleton is the marketing director for the group, and said she recently reviewed plans to construct a $20 million facility in California. Some offer an in-house staff of veterinarians, obedience training and grooming.

"Across the board, more and more, what we see is that it's because of the demands of consumers that they're required to offer additional services," Singleton said.

The Spot emphasizes playtime so that pet owners are assured their dog will be tuckered out at the end of day. Bottled water is available, as are grooming services, nail trims, ear cleaning and even teeth cleaning.

To get in, pets must first pass a screening process that will determine whether the dog may act aggressively toward other pets. Such behavior won't be allowed, said Bernar, and tennis balls will be the toy du jour in an effort to avoid possessive behavior.

The Spot is open seven days a week and can be visited online at www.thespotonline.org.

Help Protect Your Outdoor Pets from Frigid Weather
Journal Star

PEORIA — The Peoria Animal Welfare Shelter warns pet owners that frigid weather could endanger outdoor pets.

Every pet owner is encouraged to provide proper shelter for their outdoor pets, which includes a structure with four sides, a roof, a floor and a door covering. Place a windbreak and wood or cedar shaving inside. Do not use blankets, rugs or towels, as they will retain moisture and freeze.

Also, bring pets inside when the temperature falls below 10 degrees.

Snow is likely today, according to the National Weather Service in Lincoln, with widespread blowing snow. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph. The high will be near 19, with wind chills between 4 below zero and 2.

Tonight, the low will be about 6 below zero, with a wind chill between 15 below zero and 25 below zero.

Save 5% on Pet Supplies Orders Over $75

Man Poses as Female Veterinarian, Dupes People Out of Thousands of Dollars

Police say a New Jersey man posed as a female animal doctor, ran an illegal veterinary practice and set up a phony rescue agency that may have duped pet lovers out of thousands of dollars.

Atlantic City Police arrested 26-year-old Daniel Tyce on Friday and charged him with practicing medicine without a license. Tyce allegedly ran the South Jersey Small Animal Rescue, identifying himself as Dr. Daniella Smith, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania veterinary school.

He apparently bilked pet owners out of thousands of dollars by implanting diseases in pets, and putting animals up for adoption for a fee through his rescue agency. Police say Tyce also asked for donations from clients claiming his was a nonprofit agency. He's being held on $10,000 bail.

Abandoned Pets Flood Shelter
By Tanya Sierra - San Diego Union-Tribune Staff Writer

Kitten season adds to glut caused by poor economy

At the Chula Vista Animal Shelter, registered veterinarian technician Arlene Martinez filled out a collar for Circa, whose owners gave her up after being foreclosed on. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / Union-Tribune) - These blankets were donated to the shelter, but officials are seeking more items because of the animal population.
CHULA VISTA — Fido and Patches aren't immune to the recession.

Recent foreclosures – which have hit Chula Vista particularly hard – layoffs and bailouts have produced a glut of pets at the Chula Vista Animal Care Facility.
The number of abandoned animals and leaving of pets have increased to record levels over the past year, shelter officials said. Once-pampered pets are being turned over to the animal shelter as their owners struggle with foreclosures and financial problems.

Last Friday, two “foreclosure cats” – Circa and Ville – cowered in a kennel as they waited their turns to be clipped, poked and shaved on the belly to verify they have been neutered before being put up for adoption.

“The owners came in and said they can no longer keep them because they lost their house and where they are going, they don't accept pets,” said Arlene Martinez, a veterinary technician at the shelter.

Not all owners are as responsible when they can no longer care for their pets. Pedro Muñoz said he found a large cage with two full-grown, seemingly well-cared-for rabbits next to his truck in his car port last Thursday night.

The black and white critters were left with little food in the cage and no water.
“I put a carrot in there this morning,” he said, while standing in line at the animal shelter Friday morning to drop off the rabbits. “They seem pretty healthy. I wish I had a backyard. I have an apartment. I can't take them.”

The number of pets being dropped off at the shelter coincided with the increase in foreclosures at the end of the summer, officials said. In October, the animal population swelled to 560, the highest it has ever been. In previous years the average ranged from 350 to 420.

It's not just the economy that is driving up the numbers. “Kitty season” is lasting longer than normal, said Leah Browder, who oversees the animal-care facility.
“Kitten season is supposed to end in September or October, but for us it hasn't ended yet,” she said.

One of those kittens crossed Joseph Chavez's path last week as he was on his way to breakfast with his son. A black kitten with white paws darted into a busy street, where it was almost hit by another driver, he said.

“I couldn't leave him in the street,” Chavez said as he waited in line at the shelter Friday to drop off the kitten. “He almost got smoked.”
The onslaught of animals has left the shelter short of supplies. It is seeking donations of extra pet beds, blankets, towels, food, toys and newspapers to line the kennels.

“We never have too much,” said Silvia Cosio, a supervisor at the shelter.
To view a list of locations where donations can be left, go to the city's Web page at: www.chulavistaca.gov/pets

Georgia's Getting Colder...Where's Your Dog?
by Sandy Weaver Carman, Atlanta Dogs Examiner

If you thought it was cold when you got out of bed this morning, just wait until the next few mornings. This morning's 20's will feel balmy by comparison!

In the cold weather, it's important to remember a few safety tips to keep your dog healthy and happy:

1) In all seasons, not just winter, dogs are happiest if allowed to live inside the house with the rest of their "pack." If this isn't the case with your dog, a cold winter night might just be the time for you to change that routine. Temperatures nearing the single digits will settle over Georgia tonight and tomorrow night, meaning that a dog without adequate shelter could suffer. Make a place inside your home for your dog...you might just discover that it's easier and more fun to have him there all the time!

2) If you maintain an outside water bowl or bucket, it will freeze. Check it several times daily and re-fill it with fresh water. A block of ice will not provide enough fluid for any pet.

3) If your dog is a puppy or is elderly, limit the time outdoors in cold weather. Puppies and elderly dogs can't tolerate the cold well, and puppies especially can quickly die in frigid temperatures.

4) Do not leave your dog inside a car in cold weather. Just as the inside of a car can become over-heated in the summer, it can become over-cooled in the winter. Though they will be out of the wind, the cold can still cause extreme discomfort and even death.

5) If your dog spends a lot of time outside in the cold weather, increase the calorie count of the food. It takes more calories for your dog to maintain body heat during the colder weather, so adjust the meals accordingly.

6) Though we're not expecting any winter precipitation, if your dog gets wet while outdoors during the next couple of days, dry him off and check the fur between the toes to be sure no ice has formed there. Icy feet can quickly suffer cuts, leading to discomfort and sometimes infection.

7) If you have elderly neighbors, check on them. If they have pets, please offer to take the same precautions for their pets as you do for yours.

Taking Pet Birds To Mexico
By Sunny Snow - Bird Channel.com

Guide to forms and permits needed for moving to Mexico with your birds.

Mexico calls its siren song of warm climates, friendly people and affordable prices to retiring baby boomers. Many retirees have pet birds as their immediate family members. Their first question is, “Can I take my pet bird to Mexico with me?” After all, it is unthinkable to leave this important family member behind in the United States.

It's better to have more paperwork than necessary, than not enough once youve crossed the border.

We bought our home on the Yucatan’s Gulf coast in a little fishing village with the intention of retiring there. Then I started researching how to bring our pet birds — an umbrella cockatoo, a sun conure and a bronze-winged pionus — to our Mexican home. Everyone I talked to said it could not be done, and if you did bring birds into Mexico, they could never return to the United States. Being a stubborn, yet optimistic, person, I jumped on finding the solution to bring our entire family to Mexico, which was a two-year effort.

Birds can be imported to Mexico and, yes, they can return to the United States. It requires a tremendous pile of paperwork and enormous patience. It also requires the idea that even though all the paperwork — plus some — has been properly completed, there will probably be something missing — just because. The key is to remain extremely flexible, cooperative and smile in the face of adversity.

Once we set our projected move date (to be adjusted several times over the summer due to non-receipt of paperwork), I started the hardcore paperwork. This was about six months prior to our departure date.

Research Your Bird Species
The first step is to find the bird’s scientific name and endangered species Appendice Category according to the Convention On International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Web searching the bird’s common name on the Internet or checking the encyclopedia are methods to find out the scientific name. The appendice lists are on the CITES website where by typing the scientific name of the bird on their species database, it lists the Appendice. If there is a problem finding out the Appendice Category or if there are additional questions, the email for CITES is info@cites.org.

Appendice II is for lesser-endangered species. Appendice I is for species in greater danger of extinction. If the bird is on the Appendice I list, it might require additional paperwork and the authorities will give it greater scrutiny than if it is on the Appendice II list.

The first paperwork to complete is the CITES export papers with the United States. The Management Authority for the United States is U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS). Its email is managementauthority@fws.gov. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service customer service phone number is 1-800-344-WILD and the phone to the management authority is 1-800-358-2104. The people are helpful and pleasant.

Form 3-200-46 Import/Export of Personal Pets (CITES and/or Wild Bird Conservation Act) is the form required to receive the CITES Export permit from the U.S. The fee is $50 and the form and instructions can be printed out here. Approval of this request takes a minimum of 60 days and can take more than 90 days. Our permit took more than 60 days.

Provide as much information as possible about your bird, how it will travel and in what size and type of cage/carrier, etc. on this form. The more information provided, the better chance the paperwork will be completed without requiring additional information.

When USFWS receives a request and fee, it sends a letter with the file number and verification that the papers arrived in its office. Once the request has been given for someone to review and process, that person will call or e-mail the applicant to tell them their request is being processed. Depending upon the complexity of the request, once the paperwork is under review, it takes about 1 to 2 weeks to issue the permit.

To speed everything up, I recommend sending the papers to USFWS via FEDEX and include a pre-paid return envelope for FEDEX overnight so the permit will be tracked back to the applicant. Once the permit is completed, the person reviewing the request will fax a copy of the permit to the applicant, if needed.

For permits for an Appendice I bird, the paperwork must be sent to the Management Authority in Mexico concurrently because USFWS will not issue an export permit without the import permit from Mexico. Likewise, Mexico will not issue an import permit without the export permit from the U.S. How’s that for a Catch-22? What happens is they call each other on the phone and do a simultaneous permit issue. (Note: since USFWS has a huge backup of permit requests, the website recommends waiting four weeks after sending the paperwork to USFWS before sending the import request papers to Mexico. This is only for an Appendice I bird.)

For exporting Appendice II birds, the U.S. doesn’t require the import permit from Mexico so it is not necessary to send the paperwork to Mexico simultaneously. (Note: wait until receipt of the U.S. CITES export permit before sending papers to Mexico.)

With receipt of the CITES Export Permit from the United States, it is now time to send for the CITES Import Permit from Mexico. People might say that it is not necessary to have a CITES Import Permit from Mexico. Every time authorities in Mexico stopped us, they asked for this permit, so it is necessary. It is better to have more paperwork than necessary rather than insufficient paperwork once across the border. Again, I recommend all paperwork be sent via FEDEX with an enclosed, pre-paid return FEDEX envelope so the permit will be returned quickly and it can be tracked.

Talk To The Right People
There is not a lot of information on what Mexico requires for importation of pet birds. It also rarely answers e-mails. So, we made a trip to the SEMARNAT office in Merida, Mexico, the closest city to our relocation, to find out the requirements. All cities have SEMARNAT offices, and you can get this information from any of these offices. It is recommended to make an appointment and take a fluent or native Spanish speaker along to ensure there are no misunderstandings of the requirements for importing birds. Our experience in Merida was positive and friendly, and we learned exactly what the Mexican government requires for importing birds. The gentleman we spoke to, Mr. Salvador Canul, spent about an hour answering our questions.

We needed to get a Declaracion General de Pago de Derechos (three actually) from the nearby papeleria (a paper store, any will do). We ran out to the nearest papeleria and returned with the forms which Canul filled out for us. This form shows payment for the permit fee of 385 pesos (roughly $38). The three forms are taken to any Mexican bank where the fee is paid. The bank stamps all three copies. It keeps a copy, we kept a copy and the third copy is sent with the permit request to the Mexican government.

Mr. Canul also gave us the Formato de Solicitud and instructions to fill it out, which is the request for the importation of birds – CITES certification. Everything is, of course, in Spanish. He told us what papers we need to send to SEMARNAT in Mexico City in addition to the request form.

The papers include: the original receipt (the Declaracion General de Pago de Derechos) to show payment of the fee; original Formato de Solicitud; copy of the CITES Export Permit from the U.S.; color photos of each bird; a letter in Spanish stating why we are bringing the birds, how they are being transported (details of cages, carriers, mode of transport), port of entry, how long we have owned the birds, their origin, identification (leg band numbers), etc.; all U.S. veterinarian papers required for an international move into Mexico including blood work results, etc.

Forms are available for download from the SEMARNAT website. The address to send all the forms and paperwork to is:

Direccion General de Vida Silvestre
Av. Revolucion 1425, Nivel 1, Col. Tlacopac San Angel
Delegacion Alvaro Obregon, C.P. 01040, Mexico D.F.
Telephone: 01 (55) 56-24-33-09
It lists a fax number but, in our experience, there is no fax at this office.

Locate Your Entry Port
The CITES permits from the United States and Mexico are both good for six months, so once these permits are in hand, there is plenty of time for the trip. The exit and entry ports do need to be ‘set in concrete’ before any paperwork is submitted. For example, we entered Mexico at Brownsville/Matamoros, which is what our paperwork said we were going to do. We could not easily change our minds and decide to fly into Cancun. According to Mr. Canul, this would confuse the inspectors, and they would think we were trying to “pull something” resulting in confiscating or killing the birds and possible detention for us. Be consistent and keep to the plan as described in the paperwork.

It is extremely important to emphasize that the pet birds are family members. In Mexico, pets are treated differently than pets in the United States, and emphasizing that they are your children gets across how important these birds are to your family.

The United States has certain designated ports for the import and export of birds. The only designated ports are Miami, Los Angeles and New York. There are lots of other ports, and the USFWS website lists a number of ports as “designated,” but check by calling its customer service number. A Designated Port Exemption Permit — Form 3-200-2, might be needed. It is easy to download from its website, fill it out and send it with the fee of $100 USD to the region office where the port is located.

For example, we planned on driving to Mexico and crossing at Brownsville, so we sent our request to the region office for Texas, which is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There are seven region offices listed on the USFWS website. It takes a couple of weeks to get this permit processed. If time is short, the region office can fax or e-mail the permit to the requestor, and it can call the Wildlife Inspector at the border to let him/her know the request was approved.

Contact The Wildlife Inspector
It is essential to contact the Wildlife Inspector at the border of the crossing site (whether by car or air) because he/she must sign the U.S. CITES Permit before you cross into Mexico. The Wildlife Inspector will also need Wildlife Declaration Form 3-177. This form can be downloaded from the USFWS website and filled it out before meeting with the Inspector to save time.

The key is the signature on the U.S. CITES Permit because it remains valid for the return to the United States with your bird. Even if it is 20 years from now and the permit is long expired, this original signed document will get your bird back into the United States and proves U.S. origin! It is unnecessary to go through the CITES permit process again for a U.S. import permit.

In most ports, there is only one Wildlife Inspector and that person is not always there so it is important to talk to him/her and discuss crossing plans into Mexico. An example is that the Wildlife Inspector in Brownsville was on vacation the entire month of June so it was impossible to cross there for an entire month. They also have periodic training and may be gone for one to two weeks.

Get A Vet Check
Just prior to departure from the United States, the birds will require a visit to an approved USDA veterinarian (preferably an avian vet) for their international health certificates and blood work. Not all vets are permitted to do this paperwork so if your vet can’t, check with the USDA office in your state to find a vet that can. Two trips are needed, as the first trip to the vet and all the paperwork is necessary to be included in the CITES import permit request to Mexico.

We actually did this three times because the CITES permit from Mexico wasn’t issued before the 30 day time period for the vet papers expired. The health certificates are good for 30 days however, airlines generally don’t accept them if they are more than 10 days from issue date so be sure to check with the airline for its requirements if your trip involves flying into Mexico.

When I told our avian vet that we were exporting the birds to Mexico, she spent countless hours on the Internet and on the phone with the Virginia State USDA veterinarian, researching the requirements. We compared notes on research and were able to determine what papers Mexico might require. First, all paperwork must be typed and since her office had no typewriter, our vet sent her office manager in search of a typewriter! This is important because the Mexican authorities will not accept any paperwork that is not typed.

The papers that your vet needs to issue are:

U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Interstate & International Certificate of Health Examination for Small Animals — APHIS Form 7001.
This is a thick carbon-copies form and multiple birds can be listed on it. The vet gets it from the State USDA office; USDA Addendum- Health Certifications for Ornamental & Songbirds (Pets) Exported From the U.S. to Mexico. One form per bird, this is a bilingual document and is the same as the Hojas de Fitzoosanitario from SENASICA. It is on the USDA website and must be signed by the vet and signed and sealed by the State USDA vet; U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service Certificate for Poultry or Hatching Eggs for Export — VS Form 17-6.
Our vet found that Mexico requires this for all birds, not just poultry — it is a little-known form, which took the USDA vet’s office three days to find. Under the remarks section our vet typed “This is a pet psittacine bird.” Multiple birds can be listed on one form, it must be typed and comes as carbon copies; Department of Agriculture Official Shipping Certificate & Vaccination Record for Small Animals — a Virginia State form, typed with carbon copies; and lastly, the blood tests — Mexico requires Avian Influenza, Salmonella and Newcastle Disease. The U.S. is free of Newcastle disease, which is covered by the statement signed by the vet on the USDA Addendum, so she didn’t test our birds for this. However, when Mexico insisted on re-testing our birds, they did a test for Newcastle. We also had additional paperwork available for the border crossing: the health records for all of our birds, including routine, annual blood tests.

Once all the blood test results have arrived and your vet signs the papers, all the papers must be signed and sealed with the USDA official seal by your State USDA veterinarian. In Virginia, that office is located in Richmond and the fee is $24 USD per bird. The USDA website lists all the offices of its state veterinarians.

All this paperwork is exhausting but with all this preparation, the trip should go smoothly. However, be prepared for additional changes in laws, rules, public servant opinions, etc. as anything can happen.

Plan On Quarantine
And keep in mind that Mexico can require your bird to stay in quarantine, be tested, inspected, etc., if its vet determines your bird doesn’t meet all his/her specifications. This can happen at the entry point so if flying into Cancun, which is the closet port of entry for birds into Merida, it is possible to be detained there for a day or possibly two weeks.

The Mexican authorities throughout Mexico checked all our paperwork. They are particularly sensitive about Avian Influenza and whether your bird was captured in the wild. Your bird really needs to have a leg band — our birds were checked for leg bands at every stop — they aren’t interested in the information on the leg band, just that the birds had them. It is a good idea to have a letter or bill of sale if the bird was purchased from a pet store. Our birds were either gifts from friends or rescues, so we didn’t have that, but I prepared letters in Spanish from our friends about the origins of our birds.

It is also very important, upon entering Mexico, to receive a document from Mexican Customs or SENASICA, which allows your bird to transit across state borders in Mexico. Without this document, the percentages are high for being stopped and detained with the possibility of destroying your bird. Mexican Customs also must sign the Mexican CITES Permit. Do not expect or depend upon the Mexican Customs personnel to know that they are supposed to provide this form or sign the CITES Permit — it all depends upon who trained them and how busy they are at the border crossing. We didn’t know this information, which came to haunt us later in the trip. This is very important!!!!!

For additional information on traveling with birds:

www.fws.gov — forms and information for U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; also lots of information on Import/Export Permits, CITES Permits & Certificates; Traveling Abroad with your Pet Birds

www.customs.gov — U.S. Customs website — Pets & Wildlife: Licensing & Health Requirements

www.cites.org — Appendice lists, species database

www.aphis.usda.gov — USDA website — also National Center for Import & Export phone number is (301) 734-8364

The Center for Disease Control has no restrictions on exporting pet birds at this time but it’s a good idea to check anyway. Their email is nciddqweb@cdc.gov.

I hope this information helps with importing parrots! Our parrots are absolutely thrilled to be at our home in Mexico — they are happy outside playing, enjoying the sunlight and eating all the great fruits and vegetables.

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