The AARF logo shows three animals on a yellow AARF life raft, floating on the sea with gray clouds; sunlight peeks down on them, representing hope.

Adopting a Pet — The Basics

web page hit counter

We are in the process of revamping this page to bring it up to date, be more clear and more concise and to remove redundant information. When it’s ready, we’ll announce it on our main web page and on FaceBook.

gas mask icon For now, we have some updated news and it’s not good.

Delta is now officially the least pet friendly airline that flies between the USA and Sint Maarten (SXM).

Not only do they charge a lot more1 than other airlines for pets in the cabin — but they have changed the minimum age for bringing a pet in the cabin to 16 weeks for international flights. This effectively shuts off transporting puppies, since a four month old puppy will likely be too large to fit in a carrier under the seat.

That effectively means no AARF puppies will be able to travel with Delta, as the puppies are too large to fit in in-cabin carriers by that age. And of course, it excludes young kittens.

If you like to escort AARF puppies and kittens so as to give them the gift of a loving forever home — or have plans to adopt a puppy or kitten, remember this when you are making your plane reservations. Maybe you can opt for American, United or JetBlue.


1. Delta’s in–cabin charges are, as of August 2016:

  • U.S./Canada: $125 USD/CAD
  • Virgin Islands: $125 USD/CAD
  • Puerto Rico: $125 USD/CAD
  • Outside the U.S.: $200 USD/CAD/EUR <----- Anguilla falls into this category
  • Brazil: $75 USD

We are baffled by the bump to $200, when SXM is less than 120 miles further from the Virgin Islands. And this was before we saw the Brazil charge.

Big thumbs down, Delta!

Photo credit: @NYPDSpecialops

Adopting a Pet in Anguilla — the Basics

image of a black airliner Did you come to this web page just for the links to airline web sites? If so, they are at the bottom of this page. As a shortcut to the airline links, you can click here for the airline section, click on the black airplane image at the beginning of this paragraph, or use the “Airline Links” menu button in any of the horizontal menus scattered throughout this page.

Take a loving part of your visit to Anguilla back home with you!

For visitors who ask: can I adopt a pet and take her home?…

…The answer is: Yes! It’s easy, and you can take her home on the plane!

While you are enjoying your visit to Anguilla, think about taking a special memory back home with you — a new addition to your family (or even someone you know who would love a new pet). It’s easy, and this page will tell you what you need to know. Read on for the full details.

Consider this: once back home, every time you look into those eyes, a part of Anguilla will look right back at you. Don’t just take our word for it: see the Facebook group called Anguillian Pet Owners which has updated photos and stories, check out our AARF Facebook page, and read the many "Happy Tails" sections of our newsletters.

This page is for anyone wanting to adopt a pet in Anguilla, whether she stays here on island, or moves to a new home abroad.

It is really an easy process. We have a lot of information on this page, including tips and hazards to avoid, but don't let the massive amount of information be intimidating. And remember: we can always help. Just contact us!

(We mostly will use the female form when describing animals, just because we decided to pick one sex for brevity, and, besides, it’s harder to find homes for girl dogs and cats.)

I Want to Adopt an Anguillian dog or cat and take her home. How easy is It?

Very easy, in fact.

Many people have fallen in love with Anguillian dogs and cats, adopted and taken them back to the USA, Canada, even to Europe. We have even have multiple cases where people have more than one pet that came from Anguilla (sometimes via repeated visits)!

Here is a great factoid:

In 2012, there were 43 adoptions to the USA and Canada! We sent 41 puppies and 2 kittens, and 2013 is on a pace to break that record.

Adopting a dog or cat and taking it back to the United States from Anguilla is easy. AARF and the Morlens Veterinary Clinic staff can help.


On this page, we will give as much information as we can that will lead you through the process, from finding a pet to getting her back home (including a detailed example of shipping a puppy in a crate to Chicago). That said you will need to check with each country and airline to get the latest regulations and find out what paperwork is required.

We will have updated News and will list some helpful links and tips throughout.

While we have many successful and happy adoption stories, we are most familiar people with taking their new pets to the United States; therefore, that is mostly what this page covers. There is a Canadian web site that talks about importing dogs and cats (see below), and adoptions to Canada appear to work in a straightforward manner.

We’ve also had successful adoption of kittens to Germany and Switzerland, but European Union rules appear to be more strict than for North America (for example, there are requirements for pet passports and microchips, but this will take some time, and cannot, for instance, be done just before a flight back to Europe).

We would like to hear from those who have adopted and taken pets abroad, especially how it went with the airlines and various government entities. If you have tidbits we can pass on, please send us a pre-addressed email with the details.


graphic with the word news Updated June 2017:

We’ll try and add important news bits to this section, to keep the most important and timely news bits in one place. Adopting and/or transporting puppies and kittens to the USA is possible and works VERY well!

Of particular importance to those bringing pets INTO Anguilla, see the first item about the Sint Maarten permit requirements.

  • Travelers bringing pets INTO to Anguilla via St. Maarten (SXM) are now required to obtain a permit from the St. Maarten government. Further information, including an application for the permit, may be obtained from the Inspection Department by sending an email to Allow a few weeks before traveling to Anguilla. The Inspection Department does not seem to have a web site, but others have provided some information about the process (including the application form. One such site, the St. Maarten Veterinary Clinic, has a page that talks about all this, including a link to the needed application for permit form at the bottom of their page. The St. Maarten Veterinary Clinic is run by the same professional people that are our Anguillian vets at our Morlens Veterinary Clinic. Note that a permit from the Anguilla Department of Agriculture is also required to bring your pet in to Anguilla.

  • Delta will no longer accept pets as checked (what we call in the cargo hold on this and other pages) baggage, but will continue allow pets in all cabins of service (our term is inside the cabin). Exceptions are Delta One, effective March 1, 2016. Customers may also ship pets for travel within the United States as freight through Delta Cargo.
    An exception to this new policy is that members of the military with active transfer orders will be allowed to transport a pet as checked baggage. Service and emotional support animals that comply with federal regulations including proper documentation can go inside the cabin. (November 2015)

  • Anguilla has regained its status as a rabies–free country, which is great news!

  • Also, at this time Petsafe from Sint Maarten seems to be permanently off the table. However, Petsafe from San Juan is running. If flying to San Juan, check with the smaller commuter airlines as to pet policy, and note that the smaller planes may be unable to accommodate a crate. We talk about Petsafe in this article.

  • Please heed the warnings about some aircraft not being to either take a pet in the cabin (in cabin) or in the cargo hold (as a checked pet). See below for more details.

How do I Adopt? Why Should I Adopt from AARF? What will it cost?

The simplest way is to come in to the AARF adoption center and select a deserving puppy, kitten, dog or cat. You have a new family member!

If you have a computer and want to check us out beforehand, we’ll often have photos on this web site — we put thumbnail photos on the main page and more detailed notes and photo on the Available for Adoption page. And if you get our announce-only emails, you will often get descriptions and photos.

You should contact us by phone or email with any questions you may have. Our open hours are on our Contact Us page.


You should adopt from AARF, because you’ll be getting a new pet that has been examined for health and adoptability and treated by the vets before being put up for adoption. She will be getting food, water and care from the adoption center and volunteers will socialize her as much as possible.

Most importantly, you’ll be saving an animal that was surrendered or otherwise not wanted.

As a bonus, your new pet will come with initial vaccinations, treatments and a medical history. If leaving Anguilla, AARF and Morlens can help with needed paperwork for your home country — and more.

What will it cost?

The adoption fee is US$25 for dogs, US$20 for cats, and that includes a wide array of built–in services and benefits, including:

  • Vet exam
  • First vaccination (up to 3 will be needed, depending on age)
  • First deworming
  • Spay/neuter surgery when the pet is old enough (typically around six months of age) if the pet continues to stay on Anguilla
  • Two coupons offering a discount off the cost of the second and third set of vaccinations (each coupon is good for $10 off). These coupons would only work for any pet staying on Anguilla long enough to get the vaccinations (three sets are needed on a certain timeline, generally three weeks apart)
  • Initial flea and tick treatment

This low adoption fee, while bundling several services, covers only a small portion of the cost of examining, treating and caring for the animals and the surgery. In other words, this adoption package provides a lot of value for the money!

The low cost is possible because AARF is funded (and solely funded) through the graces of people who give donations and participate in our fund raising efforts such as our Second Chances Thrift store, merchandise and events. We are extremely thankful to them for supporting us and allowing us to provide such an outstanding adoption package amongst our various services.

However, animals leaving Anguilla will probably have other requirements, such as a rabies vaccination and paperwork required by your home country (such as a health certificate for the USA). This will result in extra charges. For example, a health certificate costs about US$30 and takes about a half hour to prepare.

If a carrier is needed, AARF has those for sale.

You’ll also have to verify that your airline will take your new pet and make a special reservation for her. Airlines like their add–on fees and those that take pets will typically charge an extra fee. Also, while they may not charge for it, they will also want you to make a reservation or get a locator ID for your pet.

Getting to our Shelter

The Morlens Veterinary Clinic and the AARF Shelter are located in Sandy Hill on the Long Path Road near the Sandy Hill Roundabout (here is a map). Call the AARF cell phone (which has voicemail) during our operating hours. After hours, you can leave a message. Or, send us an email.

Where to start?

The first step is easy: find a puppy, dog, cat or kitten that you would love to give a second chance and a forever home.

We recommend you come by the shelter and adopt one our our deserving animals. We almost always have deserving puppies/dogs/kittens/cats there who would love to join a caring family. And if you get her from AARF, she will have had an examination for health, been dewormed and de-ticked (is that a word?), vaccinated as needed and often socialized by AARF volunteers.

Animals leaving Anguilla will have other requirements, such as rabies shots (for dogs of a certain age) and paperwork such as a health certificate (which your home country will probably want).

A health certificate runs about $30 U.S. dollars. It takes less than a half hour to be prepared by the vet, but if the shelter is busy, or an emergency occurs, it can take longer, so it is recommend this be done at least a day before you leave, taking the operating hours of the clinic in mind.

And you’ll need her existing medical records for your regular vet, which will be given to you when you come to Morlens and finalize the adoption.

If a carrier is needed, AARF has those for sale.

You’ll also have to verify that your airline will take your new pet. Airlines that do will typically want to charge an extra fee and require a reservation or locator number for the pet. See below for links to various airlines. Also please note that pets that go inside the cabin can’t be in exit rows or bulkhead seats.

But…I found a stray kitten at my Villa and I want her!

At times, however, island visitors find an animal on the beach, on the road or at their villas, fall in love and decide to save her. We’ve had many great happy endings in those situations, and many unwanted animals have found great new homes and families. There are a couple of complicated issues to deal with, though.

First, once the decision has been made to adopt, this step is critical: make sure the pet isn’t owned by someone! The animal may have wandered into a villa or gotten loose from a neighbor. Many local pets don’t wear collars or tags, and many yards are not enclosed, so animals roam.

If you have a possible candidate for adoption at your hotel or villa, ask around: ask the property owners, the caretaker staff and any neighbors, for example. Ask if the animal is available for adoption. Only when you are sure the pet is not owned by someone should you proceed with the adoption.

Next, decide if your airline will take your new pet and make the appropriate reservations (more on that below).

Finally, and most importantly: loose strays are almost certain to have worms, ticks, fleas and can also suffer from maladies such as Heartworm, Ehrlichiosis, skin diseases, fungi etc. This is the tropics and parasites and diseases abound!

In such cases, you’ll want to do testing for diseases, get a flea/tick treatment and get the required paperwork. In those cases, fees for vaccinations and especially treatments may be higher than if you adopted from AARF.

To do this, make an appointment with Morlens Veterinary Clinic so that you can take your new pet in for a full exam, blood and other tests, treatments, shots (including a rabies shot if it’s a dog or cat that’s three months or older) and the health certificate for travel from Anguilla. Please allow enough time for this to be done, as this is a fairly involved office visit to get all this done. We suggest this be done at least a day before you leave taking in mind the operating hours of the clinic. You also need a portable kennel for your new dog or cat, and AARF can help with that.

Taking Your Pet Home on a Plane: an Overview

Airlines generally make taking pets to the United States and Canada easy and we’ve had good luck with the major airlines. The next sections cover the process and we have many links to airline web sites at the end of this page.

Things to consider are:

  • Vaccinations/Paperwork
  • How you will take your pet home (via which airports, countries and towns), including getting to St. Maarten or San Juan
  • Your airline’s stance on transporting pets
  • Airport temperatures from the start to your final destination
  • Pet–friendly hotels
  • Country regulations

Generally, however, your pet will need to be current on vaccinations, been examined by a vet and have the required paperwork (such as a health certificate); these can be taken care of at Morlens Veterinary Clinic.

If a dog is of a certain age, a rabies vaccination will probably be needed. Anguilla is a rabies–free country, which will be put on your health certificate, but countries such as the USA have rabies shot requirements.

When leaving Anguilla on the first leg of your trip, generally, you have to get to a larger international airport for the big leg out of the Caribbean. The two largest international airports that people use are Princess Juliana airport, aka PJIA (airport code SXM) in Sint Maarten and Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Flying from Anguilla to one of those airports is likely to be trouble free — if the airlines you will use take pets. Please check with them. There is air service from Anguilla to PJIA in Sint Maarten as well as to San Juan. Local air services are listed below in our Local/Regional section.

Many people use a ferry service to get to SXM. The choice then is: ferry straight over to the Dutch side where the airport is, or go to Marigot (what the webmaster calls “France”) and take ground transport to the Dutch side.

We have found that getting to the Sint Maarten airport works well if you go directly to the Dutch side via one of several available Anguillian local ferry services, such as Calypso. It just seems to be the easiest. As part of the trip, the Anguilla ferry service will drive you to the airport after the obligatory stop at the Dutch Immigration station (that taxi is built in to your fare; all you need to do is tip), and you avoid having to clear Immigration in Marigot and then get a taxi from there to the airport.

That said, we haven’t heard of problems yet from in–transit passengers going to Marigot on the French side (that is, those who are en route to the airport). Someday, though, they could invoke the European Union animal transport rules, which among other things, requires a pet passport (yes, a real passport!), a micro-chip (which Morlens can install), etc.

Putting the pet on the plane is the next step.

Small animals, such as kittens, small cats, puppies or tiny dogs can go under the seat inside the cabin (sometimes referred to as in cabin). Most airlines, especially the larger mainstream ones, accept pets traveling with their people in cabin. They must go under the seat, so bulkhead and exit row seats cannot be booked. In recent years, some planes may also have seat configuration that make it impossible to put the pet under the seat. An example is lie flat seats or seats that are low or somehow block a pet carrier, or older or smaller planes that have restrictions.

Bigger animals have to go in the airplane’s cargo hold, essentially as checked baggage. In fact, some airlines use the term “checked pet”. A huge part of this travel leg depends on the temperature at the departure airport, stops along the way and the destination. By temperature, we mean too hot or too cold. Exceed the airline temperature limit at either end, and your pet cannot be checked. A way around this (in deep winter or very hot summer) is an airline special pet cargo program. An notable example is United’s PetSafe program.

We cover both cases (in the cabin and in the hold) later on in this article.

We can’t stress enough the importance of checking with the airline! This is so important we are going to highlight it with a big warning just below.

We’ve had success stories with large mainstream airlines; two examples are American Airlines flying from Sint Maarten and San Juan to US cities such as Miami and Chicago as well as Continental flying from St. Maarten to Boston (via NY). Canadian travelers also report having success.

You may find the need for a pet friendly hotel. We know of at least one near PJIA, and cover that later.

Airlines may or may not allow you to take animals either on board with you or in the hold, so it is imperative to first call the airline directly — each and every time. Each airline has its own set of policies, and airlines (being airlines) change them often. In particular, watch out for seat configurations that do not allow for a pet carrier to go under the seat. And, of course, bulkhead and exit row seats cannot be used if an in cabin pet is going along.

In particular, make sure small independent airlines (such as our Anguilla regional carriers) and charters will take pets. Some will not, due to aircraft size or policy.

Specific warning: if flying on American Airlines, double check which plane you are going to be on, and verify whether that plane on that flight can accommodate an in cabin or checked pet. As of this writing (early 2016), due to the American/US Airways merger, we have found that there are some Airbus and internationally configured Boeings that have no space under the seats for a pet carrier, or that don't have the ability to take a cargo (checked) pet.

Second specific warning:: check your airline’s web site for size restrictions before you buy your pet transporter. Check with the airline to make sure they can/will take your pet! Even if they do take pets, watch for equipment changes, especially as the tourist season wears on. As an example, American Airlines changed planes from 757s to 737s for some flights out of Sint Maarten, and that resulted in a smaller height limit on checked kennels (it went down to a 28" height limitation from a larger allowance on 757s). And that caused a passenger to have to change flights and reroute through a differ net city that did use a 757.

In Cabin Pets

For pets small enough to ride in the cabin, a soft carrier is ideal, as it allows it to fit under the seat while giving the pet the most room possible, although airline–approved hard carriers are legal as well.

Either way, pets must fit comfortably in the carrier (they must be able to move around), and must be able to fit completely under the seat in front of you. That means:

Airlines often have a maximum number of pets allowed in each cabin for each given flight, so make your pet’s reservation as soon as possible. This is often easily done with a phone call. Typically, you will get a separate airline locator ID for the pet, which should be linked to your own locator.

Airlines will charge a fee for you to transport your pet (if you have a picture of a pet in your wallet, they may try to charge you for that too).

For in–cabin pets, by the way, the pet carrier usually counts as one of your carry–ons.

AARF has a small supply of soft in–cabin carriers as well as hard crates for larger animals for sale at the shelter.

With that said, if you plan to adopt a small puppy or kitten before coming to Anguilla, AARF recommends that you consider buying and bringing a soft–sided carrier or crate with you. It will be easier and cheaper and the soft carriers at the least usually easy to pack.

Unfortunately, when AARF buys, ships and then imports crates and carriers to Anguilla (and had to pay Customs duties on them), an unavoidable cost increase results.

Check your airline’s web site for size restrictions before you buy your pet transporter. Check with the airline to make sure they can/will take your pet! Even if they do take pets, watch for equipment changes. As an example, American Airlines changed planes from 757s to 737s for some flights out of Sint Maarten, and that resulted in a smaller height limit on checked kennels (it went down to a 28" height limitation from a larger allowance on 757s). And that caused a passenger to have to change flights and reroute through a differ net city that did use a 757.

We have a nice checklist for in-cabin pets:

If you have a puppy or kitten too young to be vaccinated against rabies (or one whose vaccination isn’t effective yet), you may also need a filled out CDC Rabies Confinement Agreement form (PDF). (Note: you can also download it from the CDC web site.)

Checked Pets (pets traveling in the Cargo Hold)

Some airlines (but not all) accept pets in the cargo hold, essentially as checked baggage. Some, such as United (which consumed Continental), have a special pet cargo program. United’s program is called PetSafe. It is presently available from San Juan. See our PetSafe section below for more information.

If your airline takes pets in the cargo hold, there will be an extra charge for the privilege.

A really large animal in a bigger crate may incur an over–sized baggage charge on top of that. Airlines may have a maximum weight and size limit. Please see your airline’s web page that covers transporting pets. We list several at the bottom of this page.

There are documents and signage you have to attach to the crate, as well as the need for food and water dishes, and cable ties. The signage is made with ordinary paper and hardy tape.

Here is a checklist for crated pets that will go into the cargo hold (in PDF format):

If you have a puppy too young to be vaccinated (or one whose vaccination isn’t effective yet), you may also need a filled out CDC Rabies Confinement Agreement form (PDF). (Note: you can also download it from the CDC web site.)

Checked Pets: Temperature Limits (for the Cargo Hold)

At certain times in the year — primarily when the temperature gets too high (or too low) for any airport in the flight’s itinerary — airlines will refuse to transport animals in the hold. This is to prevent dehydration and heat stroke on one end and cold related problems on the other end. At the end of this article, we list links to various airlines and their traveling with animals pages which should list their requirements.

For example, as of this writing, the high temperature threshold for American Airlines is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, 29.4 degrees Celsius for most animals. American and other airlines often cite a different temperatures for “snub–nosed” dog breeds. To continue our example, American has an upper limit of 75 degrees Fahrenheit for snub nosers.

In particular, that means from the Spring until it gets cooler later in the year, it can be risky if you try and transport a pet in hot weather. Flying early in the morning helps. Note that a passenger jet has a pressurized and temperature controlled hold; inter–islander prop planes such as those used by local airlines and LIAT do not. Neither would any company that uses smaller airplanes.

On the other end of the thermometer, there is a low (cold) temperature limit. We’ve seen temperature limits of 45 degrees Fahrenheit for some airlines. If it will be colder than that at any point along the airline’s path, the airline may decree that the animal cannot go into the hold. It is imperative to double check with the airline before booking the pet reservation to find out if there will be a problem.

Airline Reservation for your pet

Typically, you have to make an airline reservation for your pet, just as you do for yourself. It will often be linked to your own reservation; sometimes you will get another record locator for the pet. Often, this can be done with a phone call. Make sure your particular flight will take your pet.

Some airlines have a first–come, first–served policy on taking checked animals. There may be a limit on how many animals can go on one flight.

Check with your airline — and get to the airport early.

Carrier and Crate Basics

In cabin Carriers

For pets small enough to ride in the cabin, a soft carrier is ideal, as it allows it to fit under the seat while giving the pet the most room possible.

Checked Pet (Cargo Hold) Crates

For checked pets, a secure airline–approved kennel crate with some way to put water in the crate is needed. Most crates are plastic with vent holes and have a wired front door with a way to bolt a small water bowl to the inside. This bowl is nearly always required and, furthermore, must be accessible from the outside. This allows you and the airline personnel to put water in the crate without opening the door.  Some crate manufacturers sell dishes and bolt on kits. We usually have a few for sale at the shelter.

AARF sells crates and soft–sided carriers at the shelter, but supplies vary. Be sure to check early in case we are out of the size you need. On the Dutch side of St. Maarten, the Mega Ace hardware store in Cole Bay has had them in the past. If you buy one in St. Maarten and bring the crate back to Anguilla, expect to pay a duty fee, although you can tell Customs that the crate is leaving the island and so should not be taxed.

You will also need to attach information on your pet to the crate.  A typed itinerary, food and water instructions, and other pertinent data, put in a gallon–sized Baggie (for rain protection), and taped that to the top of the crate works well. The crate must also have large “Live Animal” signage on it; some airlines specify how large the sign must be.

American Airlines requires that you sign stating when you last gave the pet food and water at check in time; this can be included in the documentation you put in the taped–on Baggie.

Also buy some plastic tie–wraps (aka cable ties or zip–ties). Reusable ones that can be unfastened over and over are the best, because they can be re–used. Otherwise, buy normal one–time locking ones (they might be available at one of the local hardware stores) and bring along one of those tiny toe–nail clippers (scissors, knives and other cutting tools will be confiscated).

Expect to have to unlock the cage at every new airport for a crate inspection; have enough tie wraps to re-secure the crate at the different stops along the way. We’d suggest a dozen. The airlines allegedly are supposed to have tie wraps, but the first time we tried it, the airline in Sint Maarten didn’t have any. Thus, it’s best to bring your own just in case.

Take along an empty plastic bottle so that you can fill it with water once you land. When your pet arrives in baggage claim (most likely at the “Oversized Luggage” door), you can put some water in the bowl.

Local Transportation and St. Maarten Pet Friendly Hotels


We have found that taxi drivers in St. Maarten are most likely happy to transport pets, and probably will not have any issues. We have heard some anecdotal evidence of taxis here attempting to charge extra for a pet. We haven’t had that happen personally, but we are low key about having a pet along. We keep the pet in the crate at all times and we handle the crate ourselves.


We have had no problems with local Anguilla ferry operators taking pets. For obvious reasons of safety and consideration (some passengers may not like or be allergic to pets), keep the pet in the crate or carrier at all times.

Pet Friendly Hotels in Sint Maarten

For a next day’s flight, consider staying at Mary’s Boon hotel near the airport. It’s a very pet friendly place (expect to see contented dogs roaming the place), with a great beach, restaurant, and friendly staff and ownership. It’s a few minutes drive to the airport, so you and your pet can get there early and be rested. We talked about our experiences with Mary’s Boon resort in a past newsletter. (That newsletter has two of our greatest Happy Tales as well, and Mary’s Boon figured in both of them. One of them is the tale of Sandy and the other is of Boo.) We also describe our trip with Sandy, who went to Chicago as a checked (cargo) pet; that is just a bit further down on this page.

There may be other pet friendly places, so please do your own research and tell us what you find. We do recommend checking the various travel review sites, such as TripAdvisor before booking, as things change.

The Process — In Detail

We gave concise checklists for in–cabin and cargo pets above. But we also have a longer document that covers helpful tips and the essential parts of the traveling process; it's just below. And then we provide a specfic example that shows all the steps we took on a particular trip.

In the process document, we concentrate more on what you need to do with an in–cabin pet, because once you deliver the crate as a checked baggage item, you are essentially done until you arrive after your flight. However, the first part of the example story covers how to transport and check a crated pet.

Here is the document that describes the travel process in general:

Now, as an example, we will describe a particularly journey with a larger puppy that needed to go into the cargo hold.

A Specific Example: Sandy’s trip from Anguilla to Chicago

Here is how Sandy and Mark went from Anguilla to St. Maarten, took the American Eagle to San Juan and then and American Airlines 757 to Chicago (all in one long day). Sandy had been adopted by a couple in the Midwest, and Mark was heading in that direction, so he escorted Sandy to his new home.

On the day of the flight, Sandy and Mark took a very early ferry to the Sint Maarten airport. They wanted the earliest morning flight since it was projected to approach the 85 degree cutoff temperature later in the day in St. Maarten. Even though the winds were up and the water was choppy, Sandy was fine in the boat, happily sniffing away. The ferry service used (the Link) provided a taxi at the St. Maarten Immigration office. After showing Mark’s passport, the taxi took him and Sandy to the airport. (Elapsed time so far: about 30 minutes for the ferry, 30 minutes for the St. Maarten immigration process, 10 minute for the taxi to the airport.)

Once at the airport, Sandy was let out for a walk in a small area in front of the terminal and he got some water. Next came the security inspection (which is in an area to the right of the check in counters). Officials required the dog to come out of the crate so that security could look inside, and possibly send the crate though an X–Ray scanner.

After the crate and dog inspection, Sandy was turned over to the American Airlines handlers. Mark needed to use his own cable ties to secure the crate door because AA didn’t have any. (The airline should supply reusable ties, but it’s best to bring a dozen of your own for this very reason.)

The next task was to make sure that Sandy got properly loaded on the American Eagle plane to San Juan and that he was in no danger of overheating. (Yes, it’s been known to happen that the ground crew fails to load the crate on the plane.) Mark did this by asking the gate agent to verify that he got on the plane. And in fact, as Mark walked to the plane for boarding, he walked by the plane’s open cargo hatch and saw the crate, with Sandy inside.

In San Juan, Sandy popped out the oversized luggage bin in Baggage Claim, and he and Mark cleared Customs. There was a long enough layover, so Mark hired a porter to wheel the crate and his bags to a small area outside the airport where he could give Sandy some water and let him out for a bit. (Mark had taken an empty Nalgene bottle as a carry on, which was filled with water in a restroom after landing in San Juan.)

Mark then took Sandy to the American Airlines check in (for the San Juan–to–Chicago leg) area, and was directed to a special area, where Sandy again needed to come out of the crate for a TSA inspection. Once that happened, back in he went and this time, the agent gave Mark a couple of removable zip–ties to make sure the crate stayed shut.

Mark repeated the process to make sure Sandy was put on the flight to Chicago. He asked the gate agent to make sure he got loaded, and when he stepped onto the plane, asked the flight attendant to make sure the pilots call the ground crew to make sure he got on. The American crew was happy to oblige, in fact coming to Mark’s seat to let him know all was OK.

The rest was easy. After deplaning in Chicago, Mark got water from a restroom (aside to dog owners who will get this joke: from the sink!) again and by the time he got to Baggage Claim, he now knew to head over to the oversized luggage area. After a bit, buzzers rang, lights flashed, and out slid Sandy’s crate. Mark had called to make arrangements to deliver Sandy outside the baggage area, and was able to meet the new family at the curb. One last kiss on Sandy’s snout, and off he was to his new home. Mark then went back into the terminal for his connecting flight.

In Conclusion

Don’t fret about all this detail. It’s really quite easy to adopt an Anguilla dog or cat and take your new pet home with you. We recommend it and we continue to get happy updates from adopters years later. Just look at our newsletters for proof. If you are interested, talk to an AARF volunteer!

Tell us how it went!

We are always interested in what happens when people take pets from Anguilla, whether it goes smoothly or not. So please help us keep this information current by letting us know what happened when you took your new family member home!

Use this pre-addressed email to send an email to our general email account with your story! (If it does not work, please use our General email link on our Contact Us page.)

Links to various web sites: Airlines, Airports and Government pages

Below is our list of known airline pet pages (our links go, if possible, to the specific pet page of that airline). Each airline or company name links to the main page of the company.

If you know about or are interested in airlines we didn’t list, please send an email to the Webmaster. In some cases, we suggest specific alternate ways to try and find the pet pages. That is because web sites are always in flux. Pages get moved, changed, renamed, or deleted, and this page will have errors before long.

In general, there are different ways to try and find the pet pages.

  1. Go to the main page of the airline or agency and look for a search box, tab or menu that talks about traveling with pets or animals. If the page has a search box, search for “pet”, “pets” or “animals”.

  2. Use Google. As an example, for the American Airlines pet page, enter something like "traveling with pets", or better yet, the following into Google search field (the plus signs tell Google that all words with the plus symbols must exist):

    american +airlines +pets

    As a specific case for the CDC, try Googling for

    CDC +importing +animals

    Likewise, specifically for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, try searching for

    “Canadian Food Inspection Agency” +Animals

    and then look for "pets".

  3. Use Seat Guru; it has a Pets menu in a tab near the top (to the right of the word "General"). We recommend getting the most up to date information possible directly from the airline, so please double check with the airline!

  4. Pettravel. While researching this article, we also blundered (that happens a lot with the webmaster, actually) across which has information about airlines, trains, ships, pet friendly hotels and more. We haven’t used it, nor heard from anyone using it, but we are interested in feedback from anyone using them. Send the webmaster an email using the "Contact Us" menu item. We did try to see if it knew about hotels we’ve used in a couple of different regions around the USA, and it did in fact know about them.


Click on any of the links below to hopefully go to the company pet page or link of interest. If not, usually the airline has a search box. Look for pet or pets. Each airline or company name links to the main page of the company.

Local Anguilla or Regional Caribbean Airlines

Anguilla Air Services

Serves the Anguilla/Sint Maarten route.

Seaborne Airlines

They fly a San Juan/Anguilla route, flying large Saab 340 twins. See their pet section. They have a dedicated Anguilla page as well.

Tradewind Aviation

San Juan/Anguilla route with scheduled and charters. They are pet friendly, and in fact, there’s no charge for pets under 100 pounds (over 100 lbs requires a purchase). Space and weight can limit the number of pets on a flight.

Major Airlines and Government sites

We used to have links to most major airline pet travel pages as well as government sites like U.S. and Canada pages covering pet regulations, but they kept changing. In general, just do an online search for something like "American Airlines pet travel", "USDA pet travel" "Canada pet travel" or something similar.

In Closing

We have sent so many puppies, dogs, kittens and cats to the USA and Canada that we decided we needed to highlight some of them in a photo gallery. See our US/Canada Adoption Photos via the navigation bar to the left. There is also a fun Facebook group called Anguillian Pet Owners which has updated photos and stories.

We have a lot of happy, happy examples of why you should adopt and take home! See our newsletters for happy stories.

We close with another great quote:

"Adoption: It’s a wonderful option!"

— Anne S., friend of AARF