Urgent calls for £75 Brexit fee to be axed as British hero dogs sent to Ukraine war zone

Bath MP Wera Hobhouse confronted Liz Truss about the levy charged against dogs leaving the UK. The House of Commons was informed by the charity Response Rescue International Scotland about the requirement to pay £75 for a dog to be seen by a vet every time they leave the UK following Britain’s departure from the European Union.

The change comes after the UK ended the pet passport scheme with the EU.

Pets now making the trip to the mainland continent require an Animal Health Certificate.

Ms Hobhouse told Ms Truss: “The service could be seen as an emergency service, and given that they are going to travel to Ukraine, will the Secretary of State work with other Departments to see whether those charges could be waived?”

Ms Truss said she would “strongly encourage” the Scottish charity to apply directly to the Foreign Office, adding: “We will look at that proposal.”

Ms Hobhouse’s intervention came after it was revealed a dog search team which specialises in recovering human bodies is expecting to enter Ukraine.

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Springer spaniel Bracken, sprocker Bramble and Dougal, a Labrador-springer spaniel mix, are travelling to Italy as they step up training ahead while on standby for a visit to the war torn ex-Soviet state.

Dog handlers John Miskelly, a British Army veteran, and NHS nurse, Emma Dryburgh, received a request to help in Ukraine but are waiting to receive confirmation that it is safe enough for them to travel.

The pair are a part of Response Rescue International Scotland and their cadaver dogs, who are trained to detect the scent of human remains, would be assisting the work of the European Association of Civil Protection Volunteer Teams.

Mr Miskelly told PA news agency: “We are on standby with Evolsar to go to Ukraine.

“We’re the only two victim recovery dog handlers within Evolsar and a request was put into us directly by a search, rescue and recovery team in Ukraine if we could assist in the recovery of bodies.

“I’ve been in touch with them since the war started.

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“Some of them have lost children in the war, some of them have lost parents.

“The team leader of the search, rescue and recovery team lost both their parents within two weeks, had their homes bombed, wrecked and everything.

“And they’re living in underground shelters and bunkers and so forth.

“Whenever it is safe to be outdoors, that team leader with the rest of her guys are going out, going around the area and they’re recovering bodies, they’re recovering civilians that the Russians have killed and buried in shallow graves.

“The pictures that she’s sending me are really disturbing.”

The 54-year-old added: “Those people are tired, weary, their dogs are wrecked, they’re shattered.

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“We’re fresh handlers with fresh dogs and we even have a partner team in the Czech Republic in Prague who we will bring with us – so fresh handlers, fresh dogs.

“They’re pleading for our help.”

Speaking about the £75 Brexit fee, the ex-Royal Irish Ranger said: “Could we be given a special licence or some sort of exemption certificate where as long as our dogs are fully inoculated and have the rabies jab?

“Could we go back to the way it was before? We are emergency workers.”

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