Are there special requirements in the United States for my pet? You should take your pet to a veterinarian within 30 days of arrival to obtain a rabies vaccination since there are different strains of rabies in the United States than in Europe. In addition, the veterinarian will advise you of other health concerns for your pet in the United States such as heartworms, parvo virus, etc.
Can you recommend a veterinarian? The best recommendation is to ask a colleague. Veterinarians can be found in the "yellow pages" of the telephone book under "veterinarians". Veterinary services are also available to international military personnel at the United States Army, Veterinary Treatment Facility; the fees are less than you would ordinarily pay to a veterinary office in the local area. The facility is located at Naval Station Norfolk (building U-121 near Gate 3A on First Avenue (the facility is beside the Auto Hobby Shop). Pets are seen by appointment only. You should telephone the facility at +1 757 445 0922 to ensure that you understand their requirements.
Are there special requirements once my pet has arrived? YES. Your pet must be licensed in the city where you are residing. If you import your pet or purchase a pet after arrival, you will need to contact officials in the city where you are residing to obtain a license for the pet shortly after your arrival or purchase. The requirements and fees (average $5 to $20/year) for pet licenses vary by city; however, most area cities require licenses for both dogs and cats (older than four months). In order to receive the license, you will need to present a valid rabies certificate, which will be provided by the veterinarian upon administration of the shot (the rabies tag which the animal wears on his/her collar is not sufficient proof of compliance with rabies requirement).
Where can I find additional information? Consult each city's web site or contact Animal Bureau officials at: Chesapeake City Treasurer at +1 757 382 6281; Norfolk City Treasurer at +1 757 664 7800; or Virginia Beach City Treasurer at +1 757 385 4445 (http://www.vbgov.com). For other local cities consult the Government section (blue border) of the White Pages (telephone book).
Does my pet have to be on a leash? Most cities have a "leash law" which requires that dogs and cats be fenced, tied, or otherwise confined to your property or on a leash. Consult the web site of the city in which you will reside for additional information.
The city of Norfolk permits an animal which has completed a certified off-leash obedience class to receive an "animal off-leash permit" from the animal control officer. A "Canine Good Citizen Certificate" satisfies this requirement. Once the certificate is received, visit the Norfolk Animal Care Center between 0800 and 1630, located at 5585 Sabre Road, Norfolk, and they will issue the off-leash permit. They can be contacted at +1 757 441-5505, or by email at: email@example.com. Your dog must be current on its vaccinations and have a city dog license prior to applying for this off-leash permit. Canine good citizen classes are available throughout the Hampton Roads region, and are easily discovered by doing an Internet search.
Can I take my dog on the beach? If so, does he/she need to be on a leash? Most local "beach" cities allow dogs on the beach during certain periods (particularly between Labor Day (1st Monday of September each year) and Memorial Day (last Monday of May each year). During the summer beach season, most localities restrict the times when pets can be on the beach. Leash laws apply.
Do local cities have dog parks? YES, many local cities have dog parks. Consult the web page of the city where you live.
In Europe, cats roam freely outside, is that permissible in the United States? NO. Cats, like dogs, must be fenced, tied or otherwise confined to your property or on a leash.
I'm going on vacation in the United States, do hotels commonly allow pets? While in the United States you may want to take the opportunity to travel around the country, and having a pet does not have to hinder you! Many hotels cater to guests who travel with their pets. There are many websites, in addition to the specific hotel websites, when looking for pet-friendly lodging. Conducting an Internet search will reveal many options (such as www.officialpethotels.com, www.petswelcome.com, www.dogfriendly.com, www.officialpethotels.com, and many more), all of which provide extensive listings of pet-friendly accommodations across the United States. You should ensure that the hotel advertised as 'pet-friendly' will allow your pet(s) to use the facilities with minimal restrictions, charge reasonable rates, and research what specifically pet-oriented amenities they offer. Some hotels have a per night charge for pets, while others require a flat fee regardless of length of stay, or a refundable deposit.