The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared a one-year prohibition on importing dogs from 113 countries due to rabies concerns.
Dogs arriving from such nations already required proof of rabies vaccination. However, the prohibition is deemed necessary due to a spike in the number of puppies denied entry because they were not old enough to be fully inoculated, according to the CDC. The prohibition is also in response to the alarming number of dogs bought from foreign countries that arrived in the United States with false rabies vaccination certificates during the past year.
Ban to go into effect on July 14
The prohibition will be implemented on July 14. Douglas Kratt, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, lauded the ban, reported CBS 42.
According to the agency, the move would affirm the health and safety of dogs imported into the US and protect the public's health. The CDC stated, "This suspension applies to all dogs, including puppies, emotional support dogs, and dogs that traveled out of the United States and are returning from a high-risk country," reported Independent.
According to Emily Pieracci, a veterinary medical officer at the CDC, over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a remarkable increase in the number of dogs that are being imported and presenting falsified rabies inoculation certificates.
The 113 countries include China, Russia, Brazil, India, Peru, Kenya, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belarus, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Jordan, Ecuador, Cuba, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia, according to the agency.
In 2020, the CDC remarked that the surge in denied entries alongside diminished flight schedules resulted in dogs facing longer wait times prior to returning to the country they departed, at times leading to illness and death.
According to the agency, an estimated 6 percent of all dogs imported into the US come from nations with high risks for rabies. It added that inadequately inoculated dogs pose a public health threat. About one million dogs are imported into the country annually.
The agency said the pandemic and a shortage of quarantine facilities also contributed to the decision in issuing the prohibition.
The declaration comes in the midst of a jump in dog importation, which is associated with the surge in dog adoptions throughout the pandemic. According to the CDC, "This action is necessary to ensure the health and safety of dogs imported into the US and to protect the public's health against the reintroduction of canine rabies virus variants," reported BBC.
The prohibition applies to canines arriving or being brought back to the US. These include pets or those brought in for adoption or sale. For example, if an American couple took their dog to Belize, they would not be able to return the dog to the United States unless the dog first spends six months in a country that is not highly vulnerable for rabies.