Belarusian vets detain circus animals at border, fret over diarrhea

Belarusian veterinarians have detained a giraffe, three zebras, two antelope and a llama at the border with Poland for over 24 hours because of a glitch in paperwork.

Russian State Circus (Rosgostsirk) Deputy General Director Sergei Nesterov bought the animals from a German circus to perform at the Nizhny Novgorod Circus approximately 400 kilometers east of Moscow.

"The German veterinarians skipped one point in the list of vaccinations: viral diarrhea. Of course, this is my fault that I didn't check, but this is diarrhea, it's not hoof and mouth disease or the plague, the disease isn't dangerous or deadly and besides the animals will be in the circus the whole time and will most likely never become infected," Nesterov told RIA Novosti over the telephone at the Kozlovichi border checkpoint between Belarus and Poland.

Nesterov is afraid the animals will die if not released soon as provisions for the animals are insufficient and they are standing in trucks unable to move about freely.

"All of the documents on the animals' purchase were completed properly. I'm afraid that the animals could die on the road. There's enough hay until evening and we've found water here. We are heating the trucks as best we can, but the fuel's running out as well," Nesterov continued.

The giraffe is of particular concern not only because of its size, but it will be only the second giraffe in Russia to perform in a circus.

A similar incident took place on the Russian-Ukrainian border in the beginning of 2009, when 20 camels were held up for two weeks in freezing temperatures before being allowed to transit Ukraine. The incident resulted in the death of one animal.

MOSCOW, March 26 (RIA Novosti)


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