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Can I ask you to sign this, please?

(21 Posts)
CaptChaos Sat 19-Jul-14 19:02:38

A friend of mine has forwarded this to me, as her friend's dog died on a cross channel ferry yesterday. The ferry company's only comment at the time was 'you're holding up unloading for a fucking dog?'

Since hearing about this, I've done a little bit of checking, and it's not an isolated incident by any means.



SpicyPear Sat 19-Jul-14 22:15:02

Whilst the response of the ferry company is outrageous, I'm agog that the owners thought it was okay to go ahead with the journey and leave what appears to be a brachycephalic dog in the car for that length of time on a day like yesterday. Owners need to engage their own judgement - I can't lay the blame solely with the ferry for this.

Floralnomad Sat 19-Jul-14 23:17:47

I agree with spicy , I'm very sorry for the dog but the owners have to take some responsibility ,you do after all know the rules ( or should) before you travel . I notice on the other route P&O run they put dogs in air conditioned kennels ,so I'm assuming that's because its a longer trip . The channel tunnel is 35 minutes and you all stay together .

CaptChaos Sun 20-Jul-14 11:41:30

Thanks for your input.

Lilcamper Sun 20-Jul-14 12:48:43

Unfortunately from what I am reading, when a family is posted to or from the UK to the continent the Military won't pay for the euro tunnel and the family would have to fund it themselves.

Floralnomad Sun 20-Jul-14 13:07:10

Euro tunnel crossings are not expensive ,particularly if you book in advance ,it costs £16 each way per pet and they have dedicated pet exercise areas .

PumpkinsMummy Tue 22-Jul-14 09:08:31

Is the picture of the dog in the piece the dog that was left in the car? I hope not as I can't believe anyone would leave a pug in a hot car for 90 mins. That is unbelievably cruel. I don't leave mine at all if it's not either cold or very cool with windows open, and even then would be 5 minutes at most. Not that leaving any dog in a car is acceptable but a pug would already be suffering in the heat and cannot cool itself down like other breeds.

To be honest the rules for the ferry are very simple, they essentially do not allow dogs on board, but cannot stop you taking a dog in your car. If you chose to do that it is entirely your own risk and responsibility what happens to the dog. When you own a dog you understand that you will be restricted from taking the dog to a lot of places. They should have paid to transport the dog safely and comfortably out of their own budget, if they are a military family then surely they know they may be moved around and have factored this into their choice to get a dog.

I don't often get cross about things on mumsnet but this has really riled me. If I were them I would not be drawing attention to the fact that I had neglected my dog to such an extent that it died, and then trying to pass the blame off on to a company. Would they blame Asda if they left the dog in a car to do their shopping and the same thing happened I wonder?

LST Tue 22-Jul-14 11:47:41

Totally the owners responsibility..

HaveToWearHeels Tue 22-Jul-14 11:51:24


Lilcamper Tue 22-Jul-14 11:58:17

They PAID for their pets to be on the crossing. They were given a neon orange sticker that said 'PETS ON BOARD', left windows open and water down and were told staff keep an eye on cars with the orange stickers. They were expecting to park on a lower deck as had occurred on previous crossings but were placed on one of the upper decks (heat rises).

Had the staff done what they said they would do, they would have seen the dog getting distressed, could have tannoyed for the owner and escorted them down to the vehicle deck to attend to the dog.

The owners followed the rules of the company. They were not negligent.

SpicyPear Tue 22-Jul-14 12:51:33

Opinion is very split on this. I think when you dig down a bit it's actually quite a nuanced situation, further complicated because there are at least two separate issues.

In relation to this specific case, there is the issue of whether the ferry company either expressly or by implication assumed any responsibility for the welfare of animals on board.

Merlin's owner's interview with Beverley Cuddy says they assumed that they were paying for staff to check on dogs, not that they were ever told that this would happen. I don't think that is a fair assumption to have made, and I personally would not trust general ferry staff who may or may not have any animal experience to make sufficient checks or to be able to identify a dog in heat distress.

My understanding of dogs on these ferries is that they are "tolerated". As in you can bring them to leave in the car if you want completely at your risk. But the ferry company would really rather you didn't so levies a charge.

Against that backdrop I would not have left a pug in that car on that ferry. And I would not use that ferry at all. There are alternatives. Owners must then exercise their own judgement and decide whether to assume that risk. I don't agree with the premise of the petition that ferry companies "make" owners transport their dogs in unsuitable conditions because it is owner choice to use that service at all.

The second, further, issue is whether ferry companies should a) assume some responsibility for the welfare of animals on board and/or b) make provision for pets to travel safely and without suffering. My initial feeling is that the welfare of the dog should remain the responsibility of the owner throughout the journey but the ferry company should, if they are to allow pets to travel, make proper provision for safe and suffering free carriage of animals. If the petition centred on this rather than blaming the ferry company for forcing people to use unsafe means of transporting their dogs then I would support it. In fact Merlin's owner seems to be saying that she doesn't blame the ferry company either.

That's a bit of an essay, but without breaking it down like that then it's a very polarising debate.

LadyTurmoil Tue 22-Jul-14 13:17:04

Very well written Spicy

Lilcamper Tue 22-Jul-14 13:33:44

Once you are on board a ferry and realise where you have been put and the temperature are both unsuitable there is no way of getting back off.

SpicyPear Tue 22-Jul-14 13:37:32

Yes that's one of a long list of reasons why I wouldn't travel with my dogs on that service.

Bowlersarm Tue 22-Jul-14 13:41:15


Floralnomad Tue 22-Jul-14 15:56:00

I agree with spicy , which is why when we cross the channel we use the channel tunnel .

PumpkinsMummy Tue 22-Jul-14 22:08:30

From the info on the P&O website, the Hull-Rotterdam ferry offers air conditioned kennels for the crossing. Otherwise you have to leave them in the parking hold and access is at the staffs discretion. On that basis I would not chose to book with them.

How many cars are travelling on each crossing, and how many staff monitor them for orange dog stickers? How often are the checks on the animals? For the small extra cost I would expect it was a couple of staff doing a general walk-around to maintain basic safety, not a pet watching service. A dog can die within minutes in a hot car as the heat is intensified, whether windows are open or not and those with short noses are even more at risk.

I do think that if companies charge for and allow pets to cross, they should make provision for them to travel safely and comfortably, but as they don't then it is up to the owner to risk assess and this was far too risky. People are constantly being told not to leave their dogs in the car for any reason in hot weather even for a few minutes, so why would it be different to leave them in a car on a ferry? Very silly people and poor, poor dog.

PitchSlapped Tue 22-Jul-14 22:21:44

What exactly does the petition want to happen? Saying "we want them to change their policy" isnt really enough...what do you want to happen? Convince them to install AC kennels on every boat? A pet lounge?

Arudonto Wed 23-Jul-14 18:19:16

they left a pug( a breed known for their breathing difficulties and inability to cope with heat stress) in a car for an hour and a half,in a car holding areas that would be full of fumes....
having travelled the route before and knowing that they couldn't go back to the car and that there was no option of kennels.

sorry but this is the owners own fault I am afraid. They should have booked a crossing with kennels or not travelled that crossing once they realised it would be hot.Even on the lower decks that dog would have been in serious trouble.

poor dog what a horrible way to go sad

PetiteRaleuse Wed 23-Jul-14 18:32:29

My dog has travelled on the Hull crossings in the kennels. The kennels are a bit grubby/ancient but they are air conditioned, water is provided and the staff promised to check on him regularly overnight. He was fine. I don't know how pften they checked on him, but no reason to believe they didn't iyswim.

I was given the option of leaving him in the car but chose not to, knowing that he would not be checked on at all.

On a shorter crossing I have always taken the tunnel with him. I understand why ferries can't allow dogs on deck.

AlpacaYourThings Wed 23-Jul-14 18:47:03

Terribly sad. That poor dog sad

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