MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, NC --
With Marines permanently changing stations between June and August, Marine Corps bases and air stations face a major issue during this time; pet abandonment.
“I think a lot of times service members don’t want to take them to an animal shelter because they think they are going to be euthanized,” said Elaine B. Taylor, an animal control officer with the provost marshal’s office. “If you love your pet and cannot take them with you, the worst thing you can do is let them go.”
Resources are available to find pets a home, said Taylor.
There are ways to put the word out there. Going on websites, looking on newspapers and just contacting personnel at the animal control office are some available resources, said Taylor.
For Marines who are about to PCS and are unsure of what to do, contacting the air station’s veterinary clinic will provide them with the information needed.
“They can contact animal control and ask them what to do,” said Taylor. “If you can’t keep your pet, the responsible thing to do is to contact someone and see if you can find a home for it.”
When a pet is abandoned on the air station there are consequences for the owner of the pet.
“Abandonment of animals is a criminal offense,” said Taylor. “Abandonments, neglect and abuse are three criminal offenses on this air station.” If you commit any of those, said Taylor, you lose your right to have pets aboard the air station.
“Being responsible and educated can help to avoid these problems,” said Taylor.
Taylor advises Marines to make arrangements for pet transportation well before a PCS and to carry health and rabies certificates to avoid complications during travel. Vaccinations are needed to travel to any foreign countries. When traveling, pets must also have an identification tag attached to its collar at all times.
Sarah O’Mayo, whose husband was stationed at Camp Kinser, Okinawa, agrees that being prepared and planning ahead are important if moving.
“Make sure you get your pet’s thoroughly checked out and give yourself at least a month’s time because you never know what is going to come up,” said O’Mayo.
Additionally, all animals must obtain a microchip before arriving in Japan to easily screen for rabies. The microchip can be obtained at the local vet clinic, said O’Mayo.
There are different rules and regulations on owning pets depending on where a service member is stationed.
For specific details on owning a pet aboard Cherry Point, refer to air station order 10570.1R, which can be found at www.bit.ly/petorder.