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A Sick Boy's Dog Avoids British Quarantine

Editor's Note: Editor's Note: This article is reprinted from Agence France-Presse, London, England, July 23, 1999.

A dog belonging to a 15-year-old boy with cancer today became the first family pet to legally enter Britain this century without six months in quarantine.

Prime Minister Tony Blair personally gave permission for the dog, a Pyrennees shepherd, to enter after a plea from the family of the boy, William Dowell, for the dog to be granted a "pet passport."

Under a 1901 law, family cats and dogs including Seeing-Eye dogs, must be locked in kennels for their first six months in Britain in order to keep out rabid animals. Bowing to pressure from animal lovers to change the law, Mr Blair's Government has said it will ease the quarantine next year for pets that are fully vaccinated and fitted with ID chips in their ears.

William of Coniston, Cumbria, had been in France since June 1998 having treatment for cancer and a kidney transplant. His pet, Cassis, had been taken out of Britain in August, and William was upset at the prospect of having her put into quarantine on the way back.

"I don't think she would have coped in quarantine" he said. "She would have stopped eating. When I've come out of hospital only after a week, she goes mad jumping up on me. So I don't know how she would cope."