Cruising the Eastern Caribbean
with Your Dog - Part 2
The Windwards, Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados
by Liesbet Collaert
With the following overview I will try to inform you about the check-in procedures for your dog in the Eastern Caribbean islands. Last month we looked at the Virgin Islands and the Leewards. This month we’ll continue southward. This information is based on correspondence with government officials and agriculture departments, on-line regulations and our own experience. It will give you an idea about what cruising the Caribbean with your dog involves and hopefully will make things easier when checking in to the countries. Whether things go as planned or expected will always be a surprise. I cannot guarantee that you will receive the same treatment, fees or information as we did. This is the Caribbean after all!
Contact: Dr. Auria King-Cenac, Dr. Sharmine Melville
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Phone: Government Vet Office: (758) 468-5621 or 468-5623
Cell phone, Dr. Melville: (758) 460-6889
Fax: (758) 450-4581
Website: www.slumaffe.org (Veterinary and Livestock link)
Requirements: Microchip, Rabies Certificate (<1 year), Titer Certificate (<2 years), DHCCP Certificate, treatment for parasites, Health Certificate
Procedure: Fill out the application form for an import permit (available online) and e-mail or fax it to the Agriculture Department, together with the dog’s health records and an expected date of arrival. A current health certificate (ideally from the country previously visited) is required upon arrival. When arriving in St. Lucia, check in with Customs, Immigration and the Port Office (all in the same room in Rodney Bay) and call the vet office to arrange a time for one of the vets to come and inspect the dog, scan the microchip, bring a permit and collect the fee. The dog is NOT allowed onshore without a permit.
Fee: US$18 (EC$45) when applying for a permit ahead of time (preferred); or US$26 (EC$65) when applying for the permit upon arrival (requires two visits of the vet)
Experience: The e-mail address available on-line has been having problems for a year, but the private e-mail addresses above will get a conversation going. Checking your dog into St. Lucia is straightforward and easy in Rodney Bay. Either you or the Customs officer can call the Agriculture Department to set up a meeting with the vet. He will come to the marina/dock.
Remarks: The best place to arrive in St. Lucia is Rodney Bay, where the process has been done by other cruisers many times before, Customs can help with the phone number or a phone call, and the vet office is not too far away (towards Castries). Our experience in Soufriere was expensive and unprofessional. It is advised to keep the permit with you each time you take your dog to shore. We have been asked for it by an Immigration official walking around the Rodney Bay Marina area. Allowing foreign dogs into the country is a relatively new development in St. Lucia, so locals might ask you whether your dog is cleared in or wrongly tell you that he/she is not allowed in their country.
St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Contact: Dr. Glasgow or Dr. Hackshaw
Phone: Government Vet Office: (784) 450-0326 or 457-2452
Cell phone, Dr. Glasgow: (784) 493-0575
Fax: (784) 457-1688
Requirements: Microchip, Rabies Certificate, Titer Certificate, DHCCP Certificate, Government Issued Export Health Certificate (important!), treatment for parasites
Procedure: Contact the vet department to obtain an application for an import permit. Fax or e-mail the application with the dog’s health records and an estimated date of arrival. Obtain a Government Issued Health Certificate from the rabies-free country you are coming from (St. Lucia is the obvious choice. There you will have to take your dog to the Department of Agriculture either by taxi, hitching a ride or private transportation). Sail to the south coast of St. Vincent, and anchor or pick up a mooring at Young Island Cut. Forty-eight hours notice of arrival must be given. Once in Young Island Cut or another anchorage close by (such as Blue Lagoon), call the vet department to set up an appointment. Meet the vet at the Young Island ferry dock, where she will inspect the dog and paperwork and issue the import permit. The permit is valid for three months. Continue somewhere else (Bequia, for example) to check yourself and the boat in.
Fee: Free from Monday to Friday before 4:00PM
Experience: After trying to figure all this out for months and skipping the area twice, we were persistent and managed to visit SVG with our dog, which is possible but hard. We had everything in order to arrive from Martinique, only to learn (after tons of unanswered e-mail inquiries and one final phone call that got through) that this was impossible. The Government Health Certificate has to be issued in a rabies-free country, which basically only leaves St. Lucia as “previously visited country”. Dogs coming from Grenada with all the required documents have been denied (Grenada is not rabies free). Once we got in touch with the department and got the procedure straight, all went smoothly from the moment we met the vet on shore. Dr. Glasgow is very understanding, efficient and professional to deal with.
Remarks: The e-mail address is known to have problems, so to save a lot of frustration, phoning might be the better plan. The information available about importing a dog in SVG states that the dog first has to fly to the UK, await quarantine and then be transported to SVG by plane. The government of SVG has recently become more lenient with their rules because of cruisers wanting to visit with their dogs. Be aware that not everybody knows about those “new rules” for cruisers. You will be questioned (and directed to “put your dog back on the yacht”) by officials and locals in bigger towns where you walk your pet. It is recommended that you always carry your import permit with you. Even though the actual import permit and inspection are free, the costs of checking everybody into a rabies-free country prior to arriving in SVG (not a problem if you planned on visiting this island anyway), obtaining an Export Health Certificate and making the necessary phone calls to St. Vincent to make the whole process work, can add up.
Contact: Ministry of Agriculture
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Phone: (473) 440-2708 or 440-3078 or 440-3083
Fax: (473) 440-4191
Procedure: Ask for import permit by e-mail and get this faxed or e-mailed to you.
Experience: When checking into Grenada, pets have to be declared on the Customs form, but no questions are asked. It is recommended that you have the dog’s paperwork on board and that you act responsibly.
Remarks: No response was received when using the government e-mail address. Use the personal e-mail address instead, or better yet, phone.
Trinidad & Tobago
Contact: Animal Health
Phone: (868) 625-5997 or 625-1473
Fax: (868) 625-5993
Procedure: Every pet to officially be landed in Trinidad requires one to six months’ quarantine, unless coming from a rabies-free country where he/she resided for at least six months.
Fee: US$3 (TT$20) per day for a 30-day quarantine
US$1.50 (TT$10) per day for a six-month quarantine
US$1.50 (TT$10) for the landing fee
Remarks: When checking into the country, your dog has to be declared and paperwork presented. Then he/she has to remain on the boat, which counts as quarantine.
Contact: Dr. Rosina Maitland
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Phone: (246) 427-5073 or 427-5492
Fax: (246) 429-2143
Requirements: Dog has to be imported directly from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand OR must have been living continuously for six months in Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Lucia or Jamaica prior to entering Barbados.
Procedure: Complete an application form (available on-line), pay the fee, give three days notice of the dog’s expected arrival date, along with transportation information, import permit number, name, address and contact information pet owner and name and information customs broker.
Fee: US$12.50 (BDS$25) permit fee
US$30 (BDS$60) landing fee
Other Useful Information
In conclusion, it is a good idea to stay up to date with the rabies and DHCCP shots and have current health and vaccination records for your dog. Together with a proper way of identification (microchip), this mostly covers your pet’s requirements for the Eastern Caribbean islands. Import permits are generally valid for one month. Please note that certain aggressive breeds are not allowed in some islands.
The overview is based on a dog coming from a country where rabies exists or after a brief stay in a rabies-free country. If your dog was stationed for over six months in a rabies-free country before (non-stop) arriving in another rabies-free country, everything is much easier.
Declaring your dog the “right” way will, of course, require more effort, hassle, planning and money than just sneaking him/her ashore for some quick walks or confining him/her on board. If the respective island governments make it easy, straightforward and affordable for pet owners to abide by the rules, however, checking a pet into the country would be no issue and all cruising dogs could enjoy unlimited sniffs in the countryside and super long beach walks without questions asked or nervous looks over the shoulder. Here’s to happy sailing and exploring for our furry companions!
Liesbet Collaert is a freelance writer who lives and cruises on S/V Irie with her partner, Mark, and their dog, Darwin. For more stories and pictures, check out their website www.itsirie.com.
Copyright© 2010 Compass Publishing