The U.S. is banning the importation of dogs from more than 100 countries for at least a year because of a sharp increase in the number of puppies imported into the country with fraudulent rabies vaccination certificates.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that beginning July 14, 2021, dogs from 113 countries, including China, Russia, and Columbia will be banned from entering the United States.
The ban is temporary and will last for one year. On an extremely limited basis, CDC has the authority to issue advance written approval (CDC Dog Import Permit) to bring a dog from a high-risk country.
“We’re doing this to make sure that we protect the health and safety of dogs that are imported into the United States, as well as protect the public’s health,” Dr. Emily Pieracci of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells NPR.
There has been a sharp rise in the number of dogs imported during the COVID pandemic and a corresponding rise in the number of dogs arriving with falsified rabies vaccination certificates.
The U.S. was declared canine rabies-free in 2007, and ther agency wants to keep it that way by preventing the introduction of any canine variant of the disease.
According to CBS News, in 2020, the CDC discovered more than 450 dogs arriving in the U.S. with falsified or fraudulent rabies certificates, a 52 percent increase compared with the previous two years.
“Given the impact that COVID has had on vaccination programs around the world, we’re not sure what the rabies landscape is going to look like in the future. But we are definitely concerned that there could be an increased risk of importing a rabid dog,” Dr. Pieracci says.
The CDC is also recommending that anybody who bought a “pandemic puppy” from a high-risk country should consider having it checked out or revaccinated, if they have not already done so.