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Making the move with your pets

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- A dog lies in a kennel Aug. 15, 2012 at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Before making travel arrangements to their next duty station, military members should verify their pets are current on their vaccinations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Desiree Economides)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- A dog lies in a kennel Aug. 15, 2012 at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Before making travel arrangements to their next duty station, military members should verify their pets are current on their vaccinations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Desiree Economides)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- The personnel at Yokota's housing office know how hard a permanent change of station can be, especially when traveling with pets. To help make the transition a little smoother, they have teamed up with the veterinary clinic to help provide useful information to those who need it.

Before traveling to Yokota with your pet, members should be aware of what pets are allowed and how many you are authorized.

"Residents are only authorized two pets and they cannot be of an exotic breed," said Misato Shiotsuka, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron housing representative.

Exotic animals include, but are not limited to: lions, monkeys, reptiles, skunks and ferrets. The pets that are allowed,include dogs, cats, hamsters and gerbils.

Army Sgt. Jordan Verene, who works as an animal healthcare specialist for the 374th Medical Group, shared some helpful information regarding traveling with pets and the quarantine process.

"When trying to import dogs or cats, you must submit advance notification of the planned date of arrival and the number of animals to the vet clinic at least 40 days prior to arrival in Japan," she said. "Upon arrival to Japan, dogs and cats must undergo import quarantines for a set period to screen out rabies. "

Besides important documents and quarantine procedures, the member should be aware of housing availability and what to do if there are no units available during the estimated move date.

"Since we can't guarantee that a pet friendly unit will be available when you arrive, our recommendation is not to bring your pets until you can secure a pet friendly unit," Shiotsuka said. "We also recommend contacting the Yokota Pet Care Center to make advanced reservations for boarding."

Housing units that allow pets are the garden units and the first two floors of all tower units -- except towers 3001 and 4303, which allow only cats on the third to ninth floors. Additionally, while staying in billeting, individuals are required to keep pets in a boarding facility.

For further information regarding the pet policy at Yokota, contact the Housing Office at 225-8636 or you can read about the most current pet information for all Air Force installations in Air Force Instruction 32-6001, Family Housing Management.

The Pet Care Center will board pets for a daily fee until assigned a housing unit to live in. Once assigned housing, the pet may continue the quarantine process at home. In addition to offering boarding service, the facility offers grooming and pet adoption services as well. Contact the center at 225-8906.

For members that are PCSing from Yokota to the states or another overseas base, Verene shared some helpful information for them as well.

"(They) need to schedule an appointment to get a health certificate for their pets and ensure they are up to date on their rabies vaccine," she said. "Members should schedule appointments as close to departure as possible since the certificates are only good for 10 days."

To learn more about the quarantine procedures when PCSing to or from Japan, check out the Animal Quarantine Service website.