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Shipping Pets: Dogs and Cats Only, and at Owner's Expense

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2000 – Rabbits, gerbils, birds, snakes, fish, parrots, otters -- horses -- these are only some of the family pets people have tried to ship on military chartered aircraft when moving. To their chagrin, none of these prized pets were allowed aboard Air Force Air Mobility Command charters.

"'Pets' means dogs and cats only," AMC's Tech. Sgt. Mitch Conley emphasized. He pointed out that pet shipment is not an entitlement, but a privilege limited to charter passengers in a permanent-change-of-station status. The limit is two pets per family. Waivers are required to transport more than two.

And there's a weight limit -- 99 pounds, including the cage or shipping container.

Conley said it costs about $85 to ship a pet and kennel weighing up to 70 pounds aboard a charter flight, and double that for pets weighing 71 to 99 pounds.

The government does not underwrite or reimburse the cost of shipping pets, he said. Owners pay the freight alone, and they also must make their own commercial arrangements if the pet exceeds AMC's 99-pound weight limit. It's not cheap.

"I heard about a guy who paid $1,300 to ship a 150-pound Great Dane," Conley said.

Pet owners are responsible for the preparation and care of their animals and satisfying all documentation, immunization and border clearance requirements, including quarantines. The shipping container used must be approved by the International Air Transport Association and be large enough for normal body movements and for the pet to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably.

A small pet can travel in the charter aircraft cabin with special permission from AMC, but it must be in a hard-shell kennel not exceeding 20 inches by 16 by 8.

Conley said service members should advise their transportation office about their pets when make arrangements to ship their belongings. "They need to make arrangements two or three months before they're scheduled to move," he said. "They shouldn't just show up with pets."

He said owners should anticipate difficulty shipping pets during the summer months, when most PCS moves take place. "We do more than 300 waivers a month during that time," he noted. "The majority is requests for additional space on aircraft. Many people have to ship their pets on commercial flights."

People who need a waiver because of the number, type and weight of their pets can call AMC at 1-800-851-3144 or DSN 779-7881, fax a request to (618) 229-7876 or DSN 779-7876 or send e-mail to petwaivers@scott.af.mil. A copy of the waiver form can be downloaded in Microsoft Word 95 format at https://www.amc.af.mil/do/don/pets.htm. [link no longer available]

Visit the DoD "It's Your Move" web site at www.defenselink.mil/specials/itsyourmove/.

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