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Couple distraught after puppy rescued from Ukraine seized by government vets for 4 months

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Ukraine-born puppy Maggie Moo was seized by government vets along with 18 other dogs after a third party forged blood sample results, leaving owners Adam Felman, 32, and Jackie Harper Felman, 32, from Sussex, absolutely devastated

Maggie’s kennel fees will cost Adam and Jackie up to £6,000

A couple who adopted a Ukraine-born puppy from the war-torn country has been left in shock after she was suddenly seized from their home by government vets.

Adam Felman, 32, and Jackie Harper Felman, 32, reached out to animal charity, Paw Help UK, when they were searching for a hearing support dog – to assist Adam who is partially deaf.

The husband and wife from Sussex instantly fell in love with Maggie Moo, who had been left in a flat in Ukraine with her siblings and mother.

On Sunday 20 March, Maggie was transported to the UK for her second chance at life, along with 18 other rescue dogs.

But just 10 days later, all 19 dogs were taken from their new owners and detained for four months, by officials from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Adam told The Mirror: “We were completely heartbroken and realized it may derail her hearing support training for good.”







The couple were very unlucky
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Image:

Adam Felman)







Maggie was taken from their home
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Image:

Adam Felman)

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After investigation, Paw Help UK realized they had been given fraudulent blood test certificates from a third party vet.

Adam explained: “The normal Ukrainian veterinary clinic in kyiv had been bombed, so they used a different lab in Germany that falsified the results.”

When performing standard checks on the import paperwork, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) discovered that the German lab listed had no record of the animals in their system.

“As the absence of a blood test couldn’t prove she’d had a rabies vaccine (despite having the information, stamps and stickers required), Maggie will have to quarantine in a kennel for four months along with her co-travellers,” Adam explained.







They were only together for 10 days
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Image:

Adam Felman)

“She won’t get walks, won’t be able to socialize with other dogs, and we’re not even allowed to visit to let her know how good a girl she is.

“For four months essentially, she doesn’t have permission to be a puppy.”

Adam and Jackie were given the choice to commit to quarantine and the fees, or have Maggie terminated.

They chose to cover the cost – which will equate between £4,000 and £6,000.

Paw Help UK has offered to cover the bills, but like many of the families in the same position, Adam has set up their own fundraiser.







Maggie will have to spent four months in kennels
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Image:

Adam Felman)

Founder of Paw Help UK, Elina Oliferuk said: “Since the war started on 24 February, more than 1,500 rescued and abandoned pets (cats and dogs) have been collected directly from the Lapopomich rescue center in Ukraine by organizations from Poland, Germany, Sweden , Austria, and Ireland without any paperwork, some of them as young as four weeks old.

“The UK has done nothing so far to help animals from Ukraine, only recently announcing that the UK would pay for quarantining pets brought into the UK with refugees.

“We at Paw Help UK are fully cooperating with the active investigation and the parents of the pets involved.

“Had we known there was an issue with the paperwork, we would have never put these poor dogs and their new owners in this awful position of being separated.

“Paw Help UK is committed to covering the quarantine costs for all these animals and we have started actively fundraising so that we may continue to rescue animals from Ukraine both during and after this awful war.”







She was meant to be trained as Adam’s hearing support dog
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Image:

Adam Felman)

Paw Help UK is also petitioning for Defra to waive the requirement of blood antibody rabies tests for pets from Ukraine temporarily.

Adam describes Maggie as “really curious” and says she “adjusted to life so quickly” in their home.

He added: “She learned how to climb on furniture and steal Jackie’s socks straight away. We watched her get used to everything in just a couple of days.”

Adam is calling on Defra to make changes to Maggie’s case and other rescue dogs like her.

He said: “We’d like the dogs kept in line with the EU’s 21-day post-vaccine quarantine, given that it was a war that caused issues with the charity’s testing supply chain.

“We also need someone from Defra to contact each family involved with specifics about their case.

“We’d like people to consider donating to our fundraiser to take Maggie’s kennel costs off the charity’s plate or the charity’s fundraiser for the entire group of dogs .”







There are 18 other dogs like Maggie
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Image:

Adam Felman)







Her blood tests were fraudulent
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Image:

Adam Felman)

Defra’s UK chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: “Checks have confirmed that these animals did not receive the required blood tests to ensure they were healthy to enter the UK.

“We are taking quick action to limit the risk of disease spreading by quarantining all animals involved in this case until further notice.

“We are really grateful for the cooperation of the households involved, this helps protect all our own UK pets. I encourage the public to contact us with any information they may have.

“Animals without the correct vaccinations and confirmatory tests pose a real disease threat to both our own beloved animals and to people whilst also impacting the rabies-free status we have held for many years.”

She added: “Ukraine is an Unlisted country in respect to rabies (higher risk) which is why additional requirements are placed upon animals.







Adam is petitioning for changes to DEFRA’s actions
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Image:

Adam Felman)

“The requirements and the country listings are set out within GB and EU legislation and are based on risk assessment to protect Great Britain’s human and animal health.

“A 21 day quarantine period following a rabies vaccination only applies to where an animal had originated in a country listed Part 1 or 2.

“Where an animal comes from an unlisted country, the period in quarantine can be up to four months depending on the level of verifiable preparation the animal has received up to that point.”

Do you have a dog story to tell? Contact nia.dalton@reachplc.com.

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