Release date: 6 July 2018
An airline has been ordered to pay nearly £10,000 after it allowed dogs to illegally land at Gatwick Airport on multiple occasions.
Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA transported a dog into the country on a flight from Bergen, Norway, which landed at the airport on 24 September 2017.
The animal should have been transported to Warsaw, but had been mistakenly loaded onto the wrong flight, while the airline is only approved to transport recognised Guide or Assistant Dogs into the UK. The dog was taken into quarantine shortly after landing to be exported to Oslo.
The airline had been issued with two written warnings by West Sussex Trading Standards in December 2016 and February 2017 in relation to similar offences concerning a number of illegal landings of dogs at Gatwick.
A second incident took place on 27 September, when the airline transported a dog from Los Angeles, which had travelled in the cabin as an ‘emotional support dog’. There was no evidence the animal was classed as a recognised assistance dog, and it did not have an EU pet passport.
A third incident then took place on 31 December when a dog was transported on a flight from New York without required documentation to show it had received the necessary vaccinations, and it could not be classed as a recognised assistance dog. It was placed into quarantine for exportation.
A fourth incident on 26 January 2018 involved a dog travelling from Oakland, USA, which also had no evidence to classify it was a recognised assistance dog. The animal also had a name missing from a pet passport.
Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities said: “I hope this sentence will deter other airlines and organisations from thinking they can disregard important animal health laws which, if not kept, could potentially be dangerous to our local communities.
“It is a credit to our Trading Standards team that they were able to build such a case against the airline for such a period of time, and bring it to the necessary conclusion.”
At Worthing Magistrates Court on 29 June, Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA was fined for four counts, one for each incident, under the Non-Commercial Movement of Pet Animals Order 2011, and four counts, one for each incident, under The Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and other Mammals) Order 1974.
The airline was fined £1,000 for each offence, totalling £8,000, and was ordered to pay £1,734.06 in costs, and a £100 victim surcharge.
Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standard’s Team Manager, said: “We hope that this case will act as a deterrent to other airlines and indeed all those importing pets into the UK. If you breach the rules that keep the UK safe from animal disease, there will be consequences.
“In this case, despite previous warnings by Trading Standards, the airline continued to flout the rules and this was reflected in the level of fine the airline received.”
You can report concerns about illegally imported animals by contacting Trading Standards on 03454 040506 or online at the report an incident page.