Shipping pets overseas - A personal 'tail'...
It all started when my wife
and I decided we were going to move back to Sweden, her homeland.
We were in New Zealand at the time, so that’s about as far
away as we could possibly move without leaving the planet.
About 4 months beforehand we’d taken in a couple of kittens
from the local animal shelter. They’d grown to become very
much part of the family so we decided to take them with us even
though we knew it was going to be expensive to ship our pets overseas
and they were still young enough to find a new home easily. I’d
worked in the airfreight business some years earlier so I was
confident of what to expect and what we’d have to pay for
After some initial Internet
research we settled on a company called Dogtainers operating out
of Auckland Airport. I’d actually worked with the owner
some years before so I thought this would leave us in good hands.
How wrong I was.
In the days leading up to my flight I had numerous phone calls
with the owners assistant over what was required and what I had
to do to ship our pets. My wife had gone on to Sweden before me
so I was left to pack up and ship everything, including the cats.
I should have had a good idea of what was to come when I went to
pick up the cage the cats would travel in. The assistant failed
to meet me as arranged, so the owner provided me with the cage.
It seemed sturdy and spacious and the cats would probably have more
room in the cage than I would up in economy class. I took the cage
home to get the cats used to it. Some days later I received a phone
call from Dogtainers advising me they’d made a mistake and
given me the wrong cage. I had to make another visit to their premises
to swap the cage over for a much smaller one, which is what they’d
quoted on they said. It would cost me $300 more if I wanted the
bigger cage. It was already an expensive exercise so I took the
My understanding of the procedure was that the cats would be flying
on the same flight that I was on and I’d pick them up at the
airport when we landed. As we’d be transiting in Bangkok,
the cage would have to be sealed and I wouldn’t get a chance
to see them from when we left New Zealand until we landed in Sweden.
This seemed reasonable particularly as they’d be looked after
with water in Bangkok.
My own instructions were to turn up to Dogtainers office at 9am
on the morning of the flight with the cats and with the import permit
for the Swedish authorities. This I did, but the person I was supposed
to meet didn’t turn up for another 45 minutes (the same guy
who was late the last time). By that stage I had already gone to
the airport to check-in, so I left the cats and the paperwork with
the other Dogtainers employee. When I finally got back to their
office I was asked for the Import licence. I showed them what I
had but they didn’t recognize it as an import permit as it
was in Swedish. They then informed me that the cats wouldn’t
be able to travel that day due to the lack of paperwork on my part.
Nowhere in all of our correspondence did they tell me the paperwork
required by the Swedish authorities had to be in English so the
New Zealand authorities could verify them. You would expect a company
that only deals with pet transportation would be aware of the regulations.