Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Recent CDC Guidance Issued to Temporarily Ban Dog Importation from Certain Countries

The CDC recently issued guidance that temporarily bans the importation of dogs from 113 countries (Photo by Julissa Helmuth from Pexels)

NATIONWIDE — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance regarding its temporary ban on dog importation from certain countries.

As of July 14, a temporary suspension has been issued regarding dogs imported from countries considered at high-risk for dog rabies. Last month, the CDC released a statement alongside the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding the ban, entitled, “Notice of Temporary Suspension of Dogs Entering the United States from High-Risk Rabies Countries.”

The CDC states that its data shows that six percent of all dogs imported into the United States come from countries considered at high-risk for dog rabies, thus creating a public health threat.

In its release, the CDC identified 113 countries across the Americas, Caribbean, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe as high-risk for the disease, which is potentially fatal for both animals and humans.

Dog rabies is noted as having been eliminated from the United States since 2007.

“This suspension will protect the health and safety of imported dogs by preventing importations of dogs inadequately vaccinated against rabies and will protect the public’s health against the reintroduction of dog rabies,” the CDC stated on its website.

American citizens or lawful U.S. residents are able to apply for a permit in order to import a dog from one of the countries identified as high-risk, but the CDC states that these permits will only be issued on an extremely limited basis.

Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) has issued a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, requesting more information regarding this ban and how it will effect military and U.S. diplomatic families who own dogs overseas.

“The temporary ban has been a cause for concern for the many U.S. diplomatic and military families who live in Virginia. While I know these families can be considered for a waiver, your agency’s website says these approvals are advanced ‘on an extremely limited basis,’ and this onerous application process has left pet owners scrambling to find a solution,” he wrote. “I respectfully ask that the CDC work with Congress to find long-term solutions to this problem, specifically focusing on the following areas: the pandemic’s disruption on vaccination programs for animals and people, the lack of safe animal quarantine facilities in the U.S., the surge in breeders cutting corners due to the increasing demand for pets brought on by the pandemic, and the unique impact the ban has had on diplomatic and military families.”

In order to apply for a permit to import a dog from an identified high-risk country, a person must be:

  • US government employees traveling on official orders.
  • US citizens or lawful US residents relocating to the United States, such as for employment or education.
  • Owners with service dogs that are trained to assist them with a disability.
    In accordance with US Department of Transportation regulations at 14 CFR part 382, emotional support animals, comfort animals, companionship animals, and service animals in training are not considered service animals.

  • Return travelers (US citizens or lawful residents) who left the United States before July 14, 2021and are returning before October 14, 2021. Dogs must have:
    • Valid rabies vaccination certificate issued in the United States; and
    • USDA Export Health Certificate from the United States issued July 14, 2020–July 14, 2021; and
    • Documentation that they traveled out of the United States with their owner before July 14 (for example, official airline documentation showing the animal traveled with you).
  • Importers wishing to import dogs for science, education, or exhibition, as these terms are defined in 42 CFR 71.50, or for bona fide law enforcement.

Dogs that are available for adoption, resale or transfer of ownership will not be eligible for a permit. Also, U.S. citizens and lawful residents who travel temporarily out of the country after July 14, 2021 (e.g. vacation) and non-U.S. residents traveling temporarily to the United States will not be eligible to receive a permit.

During the first 90-days of the temporary ban (July 14-October 14, 2021), dogs coming from countries identified as high-risk but have received a CDC Dog Import Permit can enter the U.S. through 18 different airports: Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Detroit, Honolulu, Houston (IAH), Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York (JFK), Newark, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Juan, Seattle, and Washington, DC (Dulles).

After October 14, 2021, JFK will be the only approved airport point of entry for dogs imported from high-risk countries and have received a permit.

The CDC states that it could take anywhere from 30 business days to six weeks to process a completed and valid application for dog import permit. Once the permit is approved, it will be valid for 14 days from the date of issuance after the expected date of arrival.

Dogs who have not been to a high-risk country in the six months prior to travel are not required by the CDC to have a rabies vaccination certificate or any other paperwork, though the CDC still recommends that dogs receive the rabies vaccine.

For more information on how to apply, visit the CDC’s website.

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