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Pet transport between Spain and UK under scrutiny

PUBLISHED: January 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm  •  LAST EDITED: January 7, 2013 at 9:03 pm
Andalucia, Lead  •  7 Comments


Pet transport between Spain and UK under scrutiny

• Pet dog, Wasabi, died during transportation with Pet Taxi


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By Frances Leate

CALLS for a change in legislation have been made following a series of horrifying pet deaths during transportation between Spain and the UK.

Pet courier business, Animal Express has joined forces with the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Britain’s Road Haulage Association (RHA) in  a bid to set up a trade association that will improve current legislation.

It comes after the Olive Press reported on the sad death of pet dog Wasabi last summer.

The pug died from heat exhaustion while in the care of Torre del Mar-based company, Pet Taxi. Seven other pets also on the journey were handed over to the RSPCA once they arrived in the UK.

Animal Express owner Dan Coughlan, who has worked in the freight business for more than 20 years, said: “The existing ‘other species’ rules that currently cover dog and cat transport are wholly inadequate.

“Certain companies are actively ignoring legislation such as the five to one rule, which states there must be one person present for every five animals.

“We need to make sure all companies are following the rules.”

DEFRA has now asked expats in Spain to check all pet transport companies follow the correct procedures.

 

 

 

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Amy

January 11th, 2013 6:14 pm

Its not over yet – Beware PET TAXI is still operating

Dianne Lunt

January 11th, 2013 7:22 pm

Thank you to the Olive Press for helping us to expose this terrible man, Jeremy Griffiths, the owner of Pet Taxi. Despite efforts of many people he continues to offer pet transport, we lost our darling Wasabi and would do anything to make sure that nobody else beleives this man (he is very convincing) and passes care of their beloved pets to him or his family. The authorities in the UK have been excellent and are continuing to try to stop him, my bank Santander also have done everything they can, recovering the monies I paid to him by credit card for the journey And the further monies that he took from my card after the death of Wasabi. Please if anyone else out there can help, please please do

James Middleton

March 30th, 2013 9:52 am

As I responded on the other comment, I thought it would be rude not to respond to these ones.

As I’ve said before, I heard about this and saw you dog in the OWVH office in Torre del Mar and was disgusted with the state of the animal. Not only was he massively over-weight but the amount of fleas that where coming off him was unreal. They were climbing up the wall and all over the floor. It amazes me how people can let animals get that way. I also heard from the report that it was a collapsed trachea – common with over weight pugs. Don’t get me wrong, it was a shame what happened to him but after seeing him and hearing the story afterwards I think the blame lies in more than one place here – don’t you think. Maybe it’s guilt that has seen you publish this story so many places around the web.

I would also like to remind you that it was a very good friend of mine, Jon who rang you up from Calais at the vets and spoke to your friend to ask how to go about the autopsy. What is upsetting is that the man who called you (his name is Jon if you remember) was incredible distraught about the situation as he had walked Wasabi no more than an hour before hand. They had stopped at Ruffec and then continued to the hotel at Poitiers.

I can understand how upsetting it can be to lose a beloved pet but posted what can only be described as blatant, spiteful lies does nothing to help anyone.

dianne lunt

March 30th, 2013 7:25 pm

Who do you think you are? Jeremy Griffiths or James Middleton or one in the same?! How dare you speak about our poor Wasabi in that way and why, after 8 months do you suddenly feel the need to do so? If you really had anything to say, why not then …. and who the hell is Jon who supposedly rang us from Calais to ‘ask how to go about the autopsy’?! We arranged that vet to meet your unfit transport after much much insistence on our part to try at the very least find out what had really happened to Wasabi. Whoever you are, you have no right to say such lies, you should crawl back from where you came. Our family will never get over the loss of such a loyal and faithful pet, he did nothing to deserve his death, nor did we … I really dont know how you live with yourself or how you sleep at night.

Jon

July 15th, 2013 2:13 am

Dear Dianne,

I am Jon and I rang you from the vet in Calais. Myself and my girlfriend were on this trip and had spent a lot of time looking after you dog Wasabi. All this stuff about the fact that Wasabi wasn’t looked after properly is completely untrue. We had stopped many times throughout the trip to make sure all the animals were looked after, fed, watered and walked.

I found Wasabi when we arrived at the hotel at about 9pm and was shocked as only an hour before we had been walking him and gave him some more water.

I found the vet in Calais and I spoke to the vet and your friend on the phone to find out what you wanted us to do. I in fact was the person who drove the vehicle off the ferry and was pulled over by DEFRA. I also helped deliver the rest of the animals around the UK as the driver was very upset by what had happened and determined to continue without stopping. Strangely I don’t remember being arrested or having any problem continuing our journey after talking to DEFRA.

I also remember having a long in depth conversation with the vet at Calais after he had checked Wasabi. And what my friend James had to say was only after a long phone call with the vet and receiving a copy of the autopsy report from him.

So why are you so insistent in lying about what happened? What are you trying to get out of this? The worst thing is, after seeing it all unfold before my own eyes and then later reading the ridiculous, sensationalist articles and your wonderfully meticulous concoction of lies and accusations, how come no legal action was taken? Why is this company still so busy throughout this recession? How are they managing to continually do so many regular trips?

Maybe, just possibly, it’s because, although the Olive Press and others have very little ability or inclination to double check the facts (sensational sells…), the courts do and when it all boils down to it, the final verdict was that Wasabi died at night when it was no more than 10 degrees Celsius, less than half an hour after being walked and having a drink from a collapsed trachea. The most likely reasons being that he was far beyond a decent weight and had suffered from a massive iron deficiency due to the most unbelievable flea infestation he had on arrival at the office for departure.

At the end of the day, we were devastated about what happened to Wasabi, my girlfriend and I were only passengers on that trip and it was incredibly upsetting to find Wasabi as he was, especially as we had personally spent so much time with him. What annoys me though is that Jeremy wasn’t on this trip, so by condemning the way he was looked after is condemning our treatment of him. If we had any idea how poor his condition was before we started, then I would have sat him on my lap for the entire journey, unfortunately, after talking to the vet, I doubt even this would have made a difference to the final outcome.

Dianne lunt

July 15th, 2013 9:07 pm

No lies on my part Jon, how strange that you don’t mention that you are in fact the son of Jeremy Griffiths! You and your father have my contact details, you could have rang at any time to express your sympathy or relate Wasabis last hours? This has never happened. As has been said many times now, Wasabi was healthy, clean and happy. He was examined by our own vet the day before he was collected and by your vet the day before travel. Our vet is active in campaigning against Pet Taxi, she knew Wasabi all of his life and is disgusted by your claims. Do you not understand how much more hurt you inflict every time you make these claims? You know we insisted that his body was taken to a vet for post mortem, you also know that we not you located him on a French bank holiday and insisted that your van stop to leave his poor little body there … You gave him in a plastic carrier bag, no belongings, passport .. You do not have a copy of the autopsy, we have it. You have never even requested to see it! You refused the French vet view of the other animals. Defra was awaiting your van in Dover with the port police, they did press charges, they are still doing all they can to stop you even though you regularly change vehicles so not to make their checks easy. We are following all channels here in the UK to stop you harming or killing more animals, in Spain we are part of a large and growing group of people that have been affected by your fathers ruthless treatment of both animals and people in both his businesses , Pet Taxi and One Way Van Hire. I knew his son was on this transport with his girlfriend, never blaming you, actually feeling sorry thinking you were victim to his heartless acts too, I now see I was mistaken.

Jon

July 17th, 2013 5:49 pm

It’s very upsetting that all you can do is attack us on a constant basis. Wasabi wasn’t clean and healthy. He had fleas and was over weight. Why you vet is actively campaigning against Pet Taxi is beyond me.
With every trip I’ve ever been involved in, we have gone above and beyond to look after the animals in our care and it was very upsetting when Wasabi passed away. As I said before, we had been walking him not long before he passed. I just can’t understand how this could have been anything to do with heat and the report we got said it was a collapsed trachea.

I’m not trying to inflict any more hurt, but I constantly see these horrible claims that he died of heat exhaustion and that we didn’t look after the animals in our care. He wasn’t left in a plastic bag. I spent almost an hour getting him out of his cage and wrapping him up in the most dignified way I could so we could get him to Calais. And we had to wait outside the vets in France for over an hour whilst he had lunch. We were walking the dogs outside their office. All they were interested in was payment. He wouldn’t even come outside, never mind being interested in the other animals. We had to take him to the vet, regardless of a post-mortem as we wouldn’t be able to cross into the UK with him. And the belongings and passport was my fault. The whole incident was upsetting to say the least and the only thing on our minds was to ensure that all the other pets were returned home as soon as we possibly could.

And yes, DEFRA did pull the van over. They checked the animals we had on board, fiddled about for about an hour and a half, checked the registration certificate for the vehicle and sent us on our way. No charges were brought as the vehicle was compliant with all the regulations. The only thing they seemed to do was make the situation worse and upset and stress the animals on board.

I am so very sorry about the circumstances behind Wasabi’s death and I have gone over everything in my mind time and time again to work out if there was anything I could have done to prevent it. We stopped over and over again, made sure they had plenty of water and checked them all constantly throughout the trip. We were so careful on that trip as we were carrying some puppies and very old Alsatian at the time as well.

It upsets me that you use the terms harming or killing animals as if we went out of our way to do this. And this constant attack on Jeremy as if he goes out of his way to do this. I heard all the lies and spiteful comments first hand, seen the damage people do to the vehicles and the constant barrage of complaints afterwards when their deposit is retained because of this. Even on this site there is an article about death trap vans from some people who ran a 3.5 tonne vehicle at 5 tonnes and complained because they had cracked the brake discs and destroyed the abs cylinders. OWVH retained their 250 euro deposit to go towards the nearly 1000 euros worth of damage they did.

No body ever mentions the countless hours Jeremy works, how often OWVH and Pet Taxi go out of their way to help people get home, the vast number of Spanish animal charities that have been given free transport to help relocate some of the thousands of animals that are just deserted in the Spanish campo by desperate expats, the people who are kept in gainful employment and the massive amounts of thank you cards and lovely emails that are sent on a daily basis.




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