International Association of
Assistance Dog Partners
Jan. 24, 2001
Dear Rt. Hon. Nick Brown, MP:
I'd appreciate a moment of your time. I'm writing on behalf of more than a thousand disabled members in my capacity as Chairperson of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners.
Many of them live in North America. Some live in Britain. Some live in Europe or as far away as Japan. They all dream of the day when they can travel freely between countries with their assistance dogs. Until that happens, they remain shut out of employment opportunities, academic opportunities, conferences or trade shows, family gatherings and tourist travel.
This spring, your quarantine "pilot scheme" will be reviewed. It is my understanding that a decision will be made on whether or not to permit dogs from North America to travel to and from England, like the dogs from Europe have been legally permitted to do in the last year.
Instead of isolating our assistance dogs for six months in a quarantine kennel as your present policy requires, changing the rules would allow disabled people from Britain and North America to substitute the sensible, humane protocol of vaccination, microchipping, antibody titer testing and meeting all other health certificate requirements, so we could bring our highly trained canine assistants with us and continue to rely on their help during our stay.
IAADP respectfully and with tremendous hope, asks for your support of this humanitarian measure as it is so crucial to our quality of life. Perhaps it really isn't possible to grasp how much these highly trained dogs mean to us until you lose your own sight or hearing or mobility.
Taking away a service dog from someone like myself for the duration of a visit to England is no different than taking away my wheelchair, as far as the depressing and serious impact it would have on my ability to function adequately. It makes having a disability twice as isolating and difficult to cope with.
If your colleagues are not prepared to admit pet dogs from North America, as requested by the organization, Passport for Pets, and other groups, would they please consider starting a Pilot Scheme for Disabled individuals from North America who work with Assistance Dogs?
I believe Assistance Dogs of the U.K., Assistance Dogs International and other highly respected organizations, like the US Council of Dog Guide Schools, would be willing to work together with your government if given the opportunity to ensure the success of such a program. IAADP would cooperate in every way possible.
I pray that before the end of 2001, I will be able to publicize the wonderful news that Great Britain has decided on humanitarian grounds to give assistance dog teams from North America the opportunity to visit Britain without going through a six months quarantine kennel stay. Also that your own disabled citizens with assistance dogs will now be given the opportunity to consider jobs, academic scholarships and invitations to family gatherings in Canada or the USA, as well as in Europe, while retaining the right to bring their dogs with them without quarantine upon returning home.
I'm asking Britain take a leadership role in this matter. If you remove this enormous barrier to disabled people having a normal life in the world community, I believe other countries will follow suit.
Thank you for considering our petition.
P.O. Box 638
Serling Heights, MI 48311, USA
Phone: (810)826-3938; Website: http://www.iaadp.org; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hoping you will join this advocacy effort by writing a letter of support for the idea of a Pilot Scheme for Disabled People with Assistance Dogs traveling to Britain from North America, in the event that the British government decides against the petition by Passports For Pets USA.
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