NEWS AND COMMENT: It seems to me that the US authorities can’t trust many of the countries who export dogs to the US because many of the imported dogs are rejected as the paperwork has been completed fraudulently in that it claims that the dogs were older than four months. It is not possible to vaccinate against rabies dogs younger than four months because the vaccination does not take full effect in dogs of that age. Clearly, the exporting puppy mill owners know all about this and complete the paperwork to try and sidestep the regulations.
Most of the dogs rejected, clearly in part because of what I just said above, were imported from just three countries: Russia, Ukraine and Colombia. But there are other problematic countries and as a consequence the CDC decided to ban all dogs from countries where the risk of rabies is high and this happens to be 100 different countries.
There has been a spike in the number of puppies denied entry because of the reasons stated above. The ban starts July 14, 2021. Douglas Kratt, the president of the American Veterinary Medical Association applauded the decision and said: “We want to make sure we’re bringing healthy dogs into the country — especially if they are going to be pets”.
The ban also applies to dogs returning to the US; so, for example, if an American couple took their dog to Belize, they would not be able to bring that dog back to the US unless the animal spent six months in a country that does not have a high risk for rabies.
The ban is expected to affect between 4% to 7.5% of imported dogs but there will be exceptions such as for guide dogs or immigrants coming to the US with their pets, apparently.
The ban is understandable bearing in mind that rabies is invariably fatal once contracted as there is no cure for it but it can be prevented through vaccination. The type of rabies that normally circulates throughout the dog population in the US was eliminated in the 1970s but in 1988 a new type of rabies was imported into America from Mexico and it took 19 years to eliminate as it spread to wild coyotes. This highlighted the massive impact that a single imported case of rabies can have on wildlife and companion animals and therefore people in the country.
As is the case in the UK, demand for pet dogs has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.