London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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City of London 1970

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Port of London]

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to determine such things as; the precise responsibilities of the Corporation and British Airports
Authority; space required for the project and space and sites available and financial arrangements.
A number of meetings were held by the sub-committee and a visit was made by your Chairman
and Veterinary Officer to Amsterdam to view the facilities at Schipol Airport. The visit gave
great insight as to the handling of animals abroad and was particularly helpful with regard to
financial arrangements, but on the whole the facilities were quite unsuitable for the problem
at Heathrow.
Certain conclusions were reached by the sub-committee with regard to size, positioning and
staffing of the hostel and financial arrangements. Recommendations will be made at a meeting
to be held in the near future when all interested organisations will once again be represented.
Work carried out under the various Orders concerning imported animals included the
Discases of Animals Act — Importations
Once again there were numerous cases of dogs and cats being landed illegally at Heathrow
Airport. Many visits were made in connection with these and arrangements were made for 160
animals to be placed in quarantine.
There were five instances of animals arriving dead at the airport. The animals included a
Pekingese and dachshund dog, five leopard cats and five monkeys. Post mortem examinations
were carried out and the carcases properly disposed of. Reports were submitted to the airlines
In February, information was received that a person had been bitten by a dog in Prague. The
dog had since been imported and placed into quarantine. Health reports, showing that the dog
had remained healthy, were transmitted to Prague. Two further incidents of biting occurred in
November and December. In November an assistant at the R.S.P.C.A. Hostel was bitten by a
dog which was in transit at the Airport and in December a dog broke out of its box and bit two
handlers. In both cases the dogs were detained for 14 days and, having remained healthy, were
allowed to continue their journeys. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and Medical
Officer of Health, Hillingdon, were informed in each case.
Importation ol Dogs and Cats Orders 1928 to 1970
In March, it was reported that a dog had been brought into this country contrary to the terms
of the above Orders.The animal had been imported through Dover and brought to Farnborough in
the London Borough of Bromley. Investigations were carried out concerning possible contacts.
The dog was re-exported.
Also in March, a dog which had been imported from Dusseldorf escaped at Heathrow and was
free for several days before being re-captured. The dog was removed to a quarantine kennel to
which it was originally consigned.
Several cases occurred which resulted in animals having to be destroyed. In March a cat
was landed illegally at Heathrow. The owner did not want it placed into quarantine and asked
for it to be destroyed. In May a dog, suspected to be imported, was found in the river Thames.
The animal was taken to Battersea Dogs Home and as the owner could not be traced, it was
destroyed. A dog was also found in the river in September. It was placed on the vessel from
which it had escaped but a few days later it followed a person from the vessel. Again it was
taken to Battersea Dogs Home and, at the owners request, was destroyed. Also in September a
dog was landed illegally at Heathrow. The owner stated that she did not want to keep the dog
and wished it to be destroyed and this was carried out. A report was received in December that a
dog had been illegally landed at Heathrow. Attempts were made to place the animal into quarantine
or have it re-exported but this was unsuccessful and the animal was therefore destroyed.
There were two cases of illegally landed animals which resulted in owners being prosecuted
and fined. In April, information was received from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and
Food that a dog at an address in Belvedere was suspected of having rabies. The premises were
visited and it was ascertained that the dog had been taken to France for one week in October
1969. Restrictions were served and the dog removed to quarantine where it was later destroyed.
In June a person was observed by a Police Officer attempting to smuggle a kitten into this
country at Heathrow Airport. A statement was taken from the person and the police officer and
again the animal was destroyed.
In both cases proceedings were instituted. Both defendants pleaded guilty and were fined
£20 with £15 costs and £80 with £15 costs respectively.

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