Over 4,900 people have joined a Facebook campaign to set free a rescue dog in what they claim is a miscarriage of justice.
The four-and-a-half year old Border Collie is the best qualified search and rescue dog we have in Britain, being the only dog we have that has passed the International Rescue Dog Organisation’s readiness for mission test. Darcy is trained to rescue victims of both natural disasters and terrorist attacks by finding them in even the greatest amount of rubble.
However, today she is not on duty but is stuck in a kennel on a six-month quarantine term where experts fear she may even lose her sharpened skills. This is her reward for having joined other rescue dogs in Indonesia to rescue the victims of an earthquake that killed hundreds of people.
The other dogs on that same mission are now back in their homeland serving their people, but not our Darcy. The strict quarantine terms of returning to Britain mean this rescue dog was placed in a kennel in Colchester on the 8th October and is set to stay there for six months. This is despite her rabies booster vaccination given just two weeks before she left for her mission.
The quarantine term applies to Indonesia because it is not part of the list of approved countries in the official Pet Travel Scheme.
It is not just the general public demanding her release but also MPs, and the Essex Fire Service that spent thousands of pounds of their budget on training Darcy is running a Free Darcy campaign.
John Ball is the dog handler for Darcy and said:
“These rules are outdated and go against what current science tells us. No dog that has been vaccinated has caught rabies, and the incubation period can be up to two years anyway so the six months quarantine is an arbitrary figure. I can only hope the Government will listen to reason and change the law.”
A spokesperson for Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) commented:
“This long-standing rule is in place to protect the UK from the incursion of serious diseases such as rabies, which has been reported recently in Indonesia.”