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CDC relaxes travel ban for dogs

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CDC relaxes travel ban for dogs

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The United States government relaxed a rule that banned the importation of dogs from 113 countries over concerns over fraudulent rabies vaccination certificates. The change comes less than six weeks after the ruling took effect, which pet owners complained of being too restrictive.

As of October 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had blocked the importation of dogs, foreigners and those returning to the country after traveling abroad, from 113 countries where the risk of rabies transmission for them. dogs was considered high. The ban was boosted, the federal agency said, by an increase in falsified health documents by international pet importers in the past 18 months.

Now, travelers traveling with dogs that have received their vaccines from a licensed veterinarian in the United States can return to the United States from previously banned countries, provided the animal is healthy, microchipped and old. ‘at least six months, and that its owner can provide a valid US certificate. issued a certificate of rabies vaccination.

The decision was announced this weekend on the CDC’s website. The agency did not respond to questions about what had spurred the change.

In 2020 alone, as pet adoptions increased in the United States, the CDC said it intervened in more than 450 cases where dogs were imported with fake rabies vaccination certificates or incomplete. In June 2021, a rabid dog was imported from Azerbaijan, prompting a public health response involving agencies in nine states. For the CDC, this incident was enough.

The importation of the dog “highlights the desirability of the CDC’s temporary suspension and the risk associated with rescue dogs imported from countries at high risk for canine rabies,” said Emily Pieracci, veterinarian at the CDC, in a report. -mail. “Canine rabies has been eliminated from the United States since 2007 and imports of dogs from countries with high rabies risk represent a significant risk to public health. “

Dog owners who leave the country with their pets should make sure their papers are up to date and check their arrival and departure cities: the CDC will not accept expired rabies vaccination certificates and, as of the 1st. December, all dogs that have passed through a country deemed high risk for rabies by the CDC must re-enter the United States through one of the 18 approved ports of entry, including Chicago O’Hare International Airports, John F. Kennedy and San Francisco. The CDC also originally planned to cut those 18 approved ports to just three by early 2022, but has now canceled those plans.

The CDC’s policy change offers no relief to people, including aid workers and the U.S. military, who want to bring dogs to the United States for the first time. Many of them struggle to find the animals they adopted on overseas missions, and they complained that the rule was too restrictive. Animals adopted overseas without U.S. vaccination papers still cannot enter the United States without special permission.

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