Pearl Seaways

Press Release

DFDS partnership to rescue abandoned pets

Date: 22/01/2020

  • Scheme helps animals left behind
  • Adoptions now much quicker
  • Helps prevent pets becoming strays in Calais

Award-winning ferry company DFDS has linked with an animal rescue charity in France to help animals abandoned when their owners leave them behind before returning to the UK.

The partnership with Ligue de Protection des Animaux du Calais (LPA), came about after a DFDS member of staff became increasingly concerned about the fate of pets abandoned at Calais where she works.

Steve Garner, DFDS Customer Experience Manager, said: ‘We’ve seen many dogs outside the terminal left behind. We are seeing it on a weekly basis. It’s really shocking.’

DFDS staff at the Calais terminal have even taken abandoned pets home rather than see them become strays. One of the operations co-ordinators at Calais, Mélanie Declercq, decided to try to find a more practical solution which DFDS was happy to join and which is already making a difference.

Steve Garner said: ‘DFDS has gone into a partnership with the French version of the RSPCA, the LPA in Calais, so when a pet is left behind or abandoned we make contact with them and they come and collect that pet. They take it back to their headquarters where it will be cared for.

‘The problems with pets arise if vets have made an error on the paperwork or the animals haven’t had the correct vaccinations. Then the pet has to go back to the vet and be retreated. This delay and the resulting costs when passengers on a tight deadline and budget means pet owners feel they have no choice but to leave their pets behind which is really, really sad.’

Passengers travelling with their pets must comply with PETS, the DEFRA Pet Travel Scheme. There is advice here:

To travel to Europe the pet must be:

  • microchipped (which must take place before or at the same time as the rabies vaccination)
  • have a pet passport
  • vaccinated against rabies

And to return to the UK:

  • Anti-Echinococcus (ELISA)

Mélanie Declercq, a DFDS operations co-ordinator in Calais said: ‘If the paperwork or vaccinations are not correct, then they cannot travel on to the UK. Abandoned dogs have been found roaming the streets. But from June 2019, five pets have been rehomed because of our partnership.’

The most recent, a German Shepherd called Cesar is now settling in with a new family. Mélanie Declercq said: ‘This dog came with his family to the port of Calais at the check in and unfortunately the microchip could not be found and read. Without the microchip the dog cannot travel to the UK. The family had to abandon the dog - they had no choice as they couldn’t return to France to collect him. They left him to the LPA who were able to organise an adoption within 2 weeks. We are so happy to ensure these beautiful pets can have a good life with a new family.’

Florent Dagbert, general manager of the LPA, Rue Jacques Monod, Calais, says the DFDS partnership has meant they are able to help pets much more effectively. He said: ‘Because they already have papers, the animals do not have to be kept in quarantine, isolated from people and other dogs, for months. The partnership with DFDS allows us to adopt animals more easily and quickly.’

At the LPA centre the staff have had to care for such diverse animals as snakes and a monkey found in vehicles bound for the UK. Currently they are also holding a number of hedgehogs, birds of prey and a Maine Coon cat which would be valued at 2,000 Euros.

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For VIDEO about this release or further press information, please contact:
Michelle Ulyatt / Sandy Fleming / Steve Loader
Roch PR
T: +44 (0) 1304 807744

About DFDS:
DFDS is Northern Europe’s largest integrated shipping and logistics company, with a network of around 30 routes and 50 freight and passenger ships.

DFDS prides itself on offering world-class facilities and services and the widest choice of ferry routes into northern Europe.

In the UK, the company operates passenger ferry services on routes from Dover to Calais, Dover to Dunkirk, Newcastle to Amsterdam and Newhaven to Dieppe.

DFDS has been named ‘Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator’ for eight years running (2012-2019), as well as the ‘World’s Leading Ferry Operator’ for the last nine years (2011-19).

DFDS currently operates up to 54 sailings a day between Dover and France on its Dover-Dunkirk and Dover-Calais routes. DFDS also offers two daily sailings between Newcastle and Amsterdam. In addition, the DFDS network includes a passenger and freight service between Newhaven to Dieppe, which has four daily sailings and is operated by Transmanche Ferries.

For further information about DFDS, or to find out about the latest sailing times, fares and offers across all routes from the UK, visit and for more information about travelling with your pets visit


DFDS named as Europe's Leading Ferry Operator 2023!

We are honoured to announce that DFDS has been awarded the prestigious title of ‘Europe's Leading Ferry Operator 2023’ in the World Travel Awards – our 12th consecutive win! This is a testament to the exceptional service provided by the dedicated team behind every journey.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who voted and supported us.