The CDC is proposing a new set of rules that would seriously harm dogs all over the world. Your action is urgently needed to help stop this from moving forward!
New, unnecessarily strict rules designed to exclude dogs from all countries with a high risk of rabies could mean a death sentence for countless dogs across the world. It would bring international rescue efforts to a standstill. It also means that many people – Americans living abroad, or those looking to emigrate to the U.S. – may be forced to abandon their beloved companion animals.
For decades, dogs have been required to have a valid rabies certificate before entering the U.S. This is a critical requirement, but the many layers of additional restrictions are far too complex and strict.
The CDC is accepting comments on this Proposed Rule (Docket No. CDC-2023-0051) until September 8! Feel free to copy and paste the comment we have drafted, or write your own!
Copy and paste this comment at the link below: The new proposed rules will have a devastating effect on both dogs and humans. I understand the importance of preventing the spread of rabies, but there are better ways to both limit the spread of rabies and allow dogs to move safely across borders. Many homeless dogs who could otherwise have found new homes in the U.S. will suffer and die as a result of these new requirements. People living abroad, who may be serving or working for the government, may be forced to leave their beloved animal companions behind. Please use fair, clear, brief rules that keep the U.S. safe from rabies without causing innocent, healthy animals to die for lack of homes.
CDC Proposes New Guidelines
For the first time in 70 years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering new rules on how dogs are brought into the U.S. from other countries.
The new proposed set of requirements, called Docket No. CDC-2023-0051 or RIN 0920-AA82, would have a serious impact on people bringing dogs into the country from areas with a high risk of rabies. The new proposed guidelines would have devastating effects: Americans abroad may be at risk of losing their animals, and current efforts to save dogs from countries around the world could be in jeopardy.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, a temporary suspension was placed on the importation of dogs from 113 countries considered high risk for dog rabies, such as India, Thailand, and China. In 2021, 57 U.S. representatives signed a letter calling on the CDC to end the suspension. They called the policy a ““one-size-fits-all approach” that “prevents thousands of dogs from … being rescued and adopted.” The new proposed guidelines are cruel and unfair.
The Unintended Victims: Why Banning Dog Imports from High-Risk Rabies Countries Harms Dogs
Many governments around the world have implemented rules restricting or banning the importation of dogs from countries deemed high-risk for rabies. While the motivation behind such regulations is rooted in protection, the consequences for the innocent dogs from these regions are often overlooked. Let's dive deeper into why this policy, though well-intentioned, is dangerous and unfair to dogs across the world:
1. Closing the Door to Rescue Operations
Many of the countries that fall under the high-risk category are also home to countless stray dogs, suffering from starvation, neglect, and abuse. International animal rescue organizations have long been instrumental in rehabilitating and rehoming these vulnerable dogs to places where they can receive proper care and love. Banning imports from these countries restricts the movement of rescued dogs, leaving them stranded in environments where they are likely to suffer and die.
2. Overcrowded Shelters
Local shelters in high-risk countries are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of stray and abandoned dogs. With limited resources and space, these shelters often resort to killing animals to make room for newcomers. By denying these dogs the opportunity for adoption abroad, this rule would increase the pressure on these shelters, leading to more dogs to be put to death.
3. Hindering Progressive Rabies Control Efforts
Banning the import of dogs from high-risk countries can indirectly stifle efforts to control rabies at its source. By focusing solely on import bans, governments might neglect more effective, holistic measures like vaccination campaigns, public education, and better veterinary infrastructure in these countries. By working collaboratively with high-risk nations and emphasizing prevention over restriction, we can more effectively curb the spread of rabies without harming innocent dogs.
4. Reinforcing Negative Stereotypes
Blanket bans can unintentionally reinforce negative stereotypes about dogs from certain countries or regions. Prospective adopters may become unnecessarily wary or fearful of breeds or mixes associated with high-risk countries, even if the individual dog is perfectly healthy.
How the New Rules Could Harm Humans Too
For families relocating to the U.S. from high-risk rabies regions, the possibility of not being able to bring their beloved companion animal can be heart-wrenching. They may face extended quarantine periods or, in some cases, might be forced to leave their companion animal behind. The emotional toll this takes on families, especially children, can be profound.
Urge the CDC to Use Fair Methods!
Protecting the public from rabies is undeniably important. Thankfully, there are plenty of alternative ways to prevent the spread of rabies that do not create a tragic situation for dogs and their guardians.
1. Health Checks
Before departure and upon arrival, dogs can undergo health checks to ensure they are free from rabies and other diseases.
2. Vaccination Programs
The World Health Organization and other organizations strongly encourage comprehensive rabies vaccination campaigns in high-risk countries. By reducing the incidence of rabies at the source, the risk posed by dogs from these areas decreases over time. Also, mandatory vaccination and certification for any dog intended for export can be implemented.
3. Microchipping and Passport Systems
All dogs being imported can be microchipped, and a "pet passport" system can be put in place. This passport would contain all the essential information about the dog's health, vaccination records, and other relevant details. The microchip ensures traceability, and the passport serves as a quick reference for authorities.
Please take the time to leave a comment and urge the CDC to drop these proposed new guidelines that will cause dogs in many countries to suffer and die unnecessarily.
To read the proposed rule, click here: "Control of Communicable Diseases; Foreign Quarantine: Importation of Dogs and Cats."