Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt Hon Hilary Benn, has promised to look into Darcy’s plight.
Darcy, Essex County Fire Services’ rescue dog, is in quarantine following her trip to Indonesia to assist in the international mission that followed major earthquakes in the area and ECFRS, with the support of NQE Essex and local MPs, have been lobbying for her early release on the basis that rescue dogs should be exempt from antiquated quarantine laws. (see stories, here).
More than 1,430 supporters are now signed up to ECFRS’ Facebook site, five MPs have given us their backing and a Downing Street petition, published for the first time yesterday, already has 358 signatures. More than 400 people from all over the country have completed support forms, which have been mailed to Mr Benn’s Parliamentary office.
On Wednesday, Colchester MP Bob Russell, told the Colchester Gazette that he had raised the matter personally with Mr Benn.
“At the House of Commons, I personally handed Page 5 of the Colchester Gazette (14th October) to the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, with a hand-written note from me urging him to relax the quarantine rules for Darcy,” he said.
“Mr Benn read the article, expressed sympathy, but said there were issues surrounding rabies, I emphasised that Darcy would probably not have come into contact with dogs in the earthquake area and it was my belief that she did not associate with lots of dogs in the UK and therefore the chances of rabies was somewhat remote. Further, that her use as an emergency rescue dog should out-weigh this.
“He promised that he would give the matter his personal attention; I could not wish for more than this. At least I have taken the matter to the highest level of Government. Fingers crossed!”
Three other local MPs have pledged their support to ECFRS in its campaign and are investigating the situation – Angela Smith, Basildon and East Thurrock, James Duddridge, Southend and Rochford and Simon Burns, Chelmsford.
So come on and join us – if you think Darcy should be freed, back us in our campaign now! Write to your local MP and the Home Office, support the Downing Street petition online and complete our support form, here. Register your comments on our Facebook page. ECFRS employees should remember that this link will need to be used from home as the site is not permitted at Service locations.