Kent

Ramsgate Harbour rabies by-law to be scrapped

Dog with passport
Image caption Since 2000, the pet passport scheme has allowed dogs to be brought into the UK without quarantine

A by-law that was brought in to ban dogs from Ramsgate Harbour because of the rabies threat near UK borders is being removed.

Thanet council said it was thought the issue of rabies played a large part in the introduction of the by-law in 1994.

But since the introduction of pet passports, the public health threat of rabies has reduced, the east Kent council said.

Rabies is a potentially fatal virus commonly transmitted by dogs.

Strict controls remain in place at UK borders such as the nearby Port of Dover.

But since 2000, the pet passport scheme has allowed dogs and cats to be brought into the country without quarantine, provided certain conditions are met.

Boat show

The council said the by-law had not been popular with harbour users, particularly because many yacht owners liked to take their dogs on sailing trips.

Council leader Bob Bayford said: "It is clear that this by-law is past its sell-by date.

"It was introduced for a good reason, but that was nearly 20 years ago and things have changed a great deal since then.

"People now want to travel with their dogs and bring them into Ramsgate and we don't want to stop them from doing that."

He said the council would be asked about the by-law during the annual boat show and the authority would be able to tell potential visitors that it was being removed.

Councillors agreed to repeal the by-law earlier this month. The authority must now give notice to the government and run public consultation. It is thought the process will take between three to six months.

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