A petition set up by Manchester based charity Dogs4Rescue backed by 32,000 signatures on its first day helped force Eurotunnel bosses into amending their new ruling on travelling animals.
The French side of the Eurotunnel, Le Shuttle, announced on 19 November that they would be restricting the travel of animals down from 20 to just five without explanation.
The ruling came into effect from 20 November, leaving hundreds of thousands of overseas dogs and puppies awaiting rescue in peril, with rescue charities and prospective adopters devastated.
Dogs4Rescue owner Emma Billington told Mancunian Matters: “We had dogs coming in on the freight that had homes to go to having already been neutered and suddenly those poor dogs weren’t able to travel.
“The only thing we could surmise was that because of the puppy trade, instead of there being just a few rescue vans full of dogs, there were 60 vans waiting with puppies and they just couldn’t cope with that.”
After outrage on social media and an army of tweets and emails sent to Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, they broke their silence late on Friday evening to confirm that rescue animals would now be allowed to travel as normal.
Their statement read: “This decision has been made necessary due to a recent increase in the number of vehicles arriving at our terminal carrying large numbers of animals, and concerns for the welfare of some of those animals raised by our staff and other passengers.
“We wish to clarify that these restrictions will NOT apply to DEFRA approved transport booked by either registered charities or Eurotunnel Le Shuttle business account holders, where we can be assured that animal welfare standards are being observed.”
Ms Billington added: “Everyone is assuming that it’s going to be okay.
“But as it stands, none of us can book transport for our rescue dogs as we don’t appear to fill any of the criteria they seem to be after. Here’s hoping.”
More detailed information on the updated animal travel policy is set to be released in due course.
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle representatives declined Mancunian Matters’ invitation to comment.