P & O to review brachycephalic policy

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P & O to review brachycephalic policy

Post by Caryll on Sun Jul 27, 2014 10:09 pm

P & O to review brachycephalic policy following Pug's death. Article from Dog World Newspaper 25/7/14

"P&O FERRIES says it is to review its policy concerning its transportation of brachycephalic breeds following the death of a Pug during a 90-minute voyage from Calais to Dover.

The three-year-old, Merlin, was in a car on car deck seven during the journey on Friday – the hottest day of the year when the temperature reached more than 32C in some parts of the country.

The Pug’s owners are an ex-serviceman and his family who were moving from Germany to the Army base at Pirbright, Surrey. With them on the voyage were their three children and three dogs – two Pugs and a Beagle.




Ventilation

They were travelling on the Spirit of France ferry which left Calais on Friday at 10.45am and arrived in Dover local time at 11.20am. When the family returned to their vehicle after the journey they found that Merlin had died.

P&O said procedures had been followed correctly that day and that the ship’s ventilation had been ‘excellent’. The company does not allow people to stay in their cars with their animals during the voyage, and animals are not allowed to be removed from them, the spokesman explained. However, owners can ask to visit them periodically as long as they are accompanied by a member of staff, she said, adding that the family had not asked to check on the dogs.

However, owner Kirsty Wallace told DOG WORLD the vehicle had a ‘neon orange’ sign in the window which should have alerted staff to the fact there are dogs inside.

"Why are we given this otherwise?” she said. "P&O’s website does not say we need to hunt down a member of staff to ask them to look after our pets.

"We pay for our animals to travel. They aren’t allowed on deck, they don’t offer kennels, they have no animal area, we aren’t allowed to sit with our dogs, and as far as I was aware we weren’t allowed to visit them.”

It is understood that the company’s review will concern its policy to allow brachycephalic breeds on board, something at least one airline has already vetoed due to potential breathing problems.

A spokesman said: "We are reviewing our policy regarding the carriage of pets following the death of a Pug on board one of our ships on Friday.

"Temperatures ashore were oppressively hot and humid last week, leading to heat-stress health alerts from weather forecasters and medical authorities. However, coastal temperatures were considerably below those inland, and in the English Channel lower again due to the cooling effects of low sea temperatures.




Certain breeds

"On the ship concerned, ventilation of the deck where the vehicle concerned was parked is excellent with a constant through-flow of cooling fresh air along the entire length of the deck. The deck is not exposed to the sun’s rays and our staff always respond positively to requests from pet owners to check on their animals during the crossings.

"Many airlines refuse to transport certain breeds of dogs, notably Pugs, Bulldogs and other brachycephalic breeds, due to the respiratory issues from which these animals are prone to suffer. P&O Ferries, which carries more than 50,000 pet dogs a year of all breeds, is reluctant to stop offering a service to the owners of certain breeds, believing that owners are best placed to judge the suitability of conditions when transporting their animals. However, the company is now reviewing its policy.

"This was a hugely distressing incident for the family concerned and for our personnel, who tried to revive the animal for 20 minutes, administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation and oxygen. The family has the company’s sincere sympathies.”

In answer to DW’s queries the spokesman said: "I can confirm that the family in question did not ask to be allowed to check on their dogs. We do have staff on the decks who keep an eye out.

"The ventilation was set quite correctly so it was quite cool.”

Foot passengers are not allowed to take dogs unless they are for assistance.

Mrs Wallace said that when she and her family used the ferry five years ago they rang P&O and asked if they could stay with or visit the dogs during the voyage.

"We got a flat out no,” she said. "It’s come as quite a surprise to myself and many other people that you need to ask staff to check on the animals. We all presumed the money we pay for them to travel is for staff to keep an eye on the pets while the owners are on deck.”

Following Merlin’s death a petition has been launched calling for dogs to be allowed on passenger decks of ferries; it now bears more than 5,000 signatures. It was set up by Nina Gadson, who lives in Aldershot and is addressed to new DEFRA Secretary of State Elizabeth Truss.




Remain in cars

It reads: "DEFRA says that whenever animals are transported, including journeys with pets, the law says that ‘No person shall transport any animal in a way which causes or is likely to cause injury or unnecessary suffering to that animal’. And yet ferry companies are insisting that pets remain in cars…

"We would ask that you hold the ferry companies to account and ask them to change their policies. It would be an animal rights abuse for a person to leave their pet in their car on land for over an hour, so how can the ferry companies be allowed to make pet owners do this?”

Jade Allan, from Alnwick, said: "This is my sister’s dog, and I can’t tell you how upset the whole family are.

"He is going to be a massive miss – he was her baby.” "

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Re: P & O to review brachycephalic policy

Post by LyndaW on Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:29 pm

Poor Merlin - RIP  crying 

I cannot understand why dogs, short nosed or not, providing that they are kept on lead, should not be allowed to be with their owners who are best placed to take care of them.

Absolutely disgraceful.
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Re: P & O to review brachycephalic policy

Post by Caryll on Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:51 pm

I can understand them not being allowed on deck, but why can't the owners stay with them?

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Re: P & O to review brachycephalic policy

Post by LyndaW on Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:21 am

Caryll wrote:I can understand them not being allowed on deck, but why can't the owners stay with them?

'elf n safety' ? Who knows.

I can't see why a dog shouldn't be allowed on deck, so long as it is on a short lead, kept well under control, and any mess it might make is cleared up immediately by the owner?
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Re: P & O to review brachycephalic policy

Post by Eleanor on Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:05 am

This is something I have a huge problem with. No dog should be left in a car. Brachycephalic or not, it's dangerous, but the risk increases.

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Re: P & O to review brachycephalic policy

Post by Shisa on Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:06 am

I can also understand why dogs are not allowed on the decks but leaving them unattended in a car...?
They could have a marked area or portion off an area for travelers with dogs. It's only a short journey.
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Re: P & O to review brachycephalic policy

Post by Lorraine on Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:42 pm

I don't understand why they're not allowed on deck. I took my old girl on the deck of the Isle of Wight ferry with no problem.
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Re: P & O to review brachycephalic policy

Post by Shisa on Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:09 am

Problem is there are so many people with misbehaving dogs, that don't clean up after their dogs or will take chances with the set out rules.
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Re: P & O to review brachycephalic policy

Post by Caryll on Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:29 am

Some of the ferries get very busy, and it would be difficult to make sure that all dogs (and owners!) behaved. I'm sure that Health & Safety would also get involved, and once they're in charge, all sorts of ludicrous rules get added.

But it's wrong to have to leave a dog (or any animal) alone in a car for what could be a couple of hours. You just don't know what might happen.

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Re: P & O to review brachycephalic policy

Post by Shisa on Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:12 pm

They could have a special parking bay/lane that is easily and safely accessible for people traveling with their furkids. That might be the simplest solution.
I can also understand that they don't want random strangers walking between cars, stealing or getting hurt in rough seas.
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Re: P & O to review brachycephalic policy

Post by Eleanor on Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:46 pm

I'd always check, well before travelling, what sort of conditions dog will be kept in. Safety first!
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Re: P & O to review brachycephalic policy

Post by Dave on Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:35 pm

They could always insist on the dogs being crated on deck
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