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Owners Bringing Pets to Germany Will Pay New Fee

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HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Members of the U.S. forces community who bring their pets along when they arrive in Germany for assignment will be charged a fee by German authorities beginning Feb. 1.

The fee will be charged during arrivals at Ramstein Air Base and Frankfurt International Airport.

At Ramstein an examination fee of 55 Euro per pet owner will be charged for all pets imported into Germany from outside the European Union. Kaiserslautern County officials said the fee is being levied in accordance with European Union regulations designed to prevent the introduction and dissemination of rabies.

Upon arrival at Ramstein, pets will be examined by veterinary officials near the passenger terminal's baggage claim area. Owners may pay the fee by credit card only.

Owners arriving with their pets at Frankfurt International Airport will also pay a fee. That fee is 35 Euro per accompanied pet or 55 Euro for an unaccompanied pet, and increases by 50 percent for pets that arrive on a weekend or holiday.

Payment of the fee is the responsibility of the pet owner, and cannot be claimed for reimbursement on an official travel voucher, according to officials with the U.S. Army Europe Office of the Judge Advocate. However, while OJA experts said the fee is prohibited from reimbursement under the provisions of the DoD Joint Travel Regulations, pet owners may be able to claim the fee as a deductible moving expense on their federal income tax returns.

While Ramstein and Frankfurt are the only locations currently slated to begin imposing the fee Feb. 1, because it is based on EU regulation other European Union ports of entry could enact similar fees in the future.

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