An international airline has been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £35,000 after its actions could have introduced rabies to the UK.
The case against Ukraine International Airlines was heard at Worthing Magistrates Court on Thursday 19 October.
The court heard that the airline is not authorised to carry animals to the UK.
The case related to a passenger who was allowed to carry her pet on a flight from Iran to Kiev with onward passage to Gatwick in December.
The cat travelled in the cabin, it did not have relevant paperwork such as a pet passport and the carry box did not meet the requirements of the IATA Live Animal Regulations.
The airline pleaded guilty to two charges under rabies and animal welfare legislation.
The court was told there had been a similar breach a few months previously.
Deborah Kennard, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Stronger, Safer Communities, said: “We are very grateful that the Magistrates recognised the seriousness of this case and the final result is a testament to the important work carried out by our Trading Standards team.”
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.
“There is still a strong threat of introduction of rabies into the UK from the illegal importation of an infected animal such as a dog or cat and we are pleased that this was reflected in the level of fine the airline received."