This article lamenting the CDC’s suspension of dog imports from high-risk rabies countries makes a rather curious argument. Apparently, because a small increase in the already tiny number of dogs denied entry into the United States due to invalid/incomplete/false paperwork was not accompanied by an increase in the number of rabies cases, the suspension was clearly an overreaction and needs to end. Well, at least that seems like the argument it was making. We’re not exactly sure, and while we could lay out a myriad of reasons that bad paperwork and rabies cases don’t need to add up, it probably wouldn’t matter. For groups whose business models depend on importing dogs from high-risk countries, all equations inevitably equal “end the suspension.”
It is worth noting that rabies is merely the most dramatic and well-known disease that can accompany imported animals. And for good reason: rabies is horrific and fatal, and decades of funding and effort went into making the United States canine-rabies free. But there are also diseases like African Swine Fever that could be devastating to agriculture, bacterial infections like brucellosis that can render breeding stock infertile, and a host of other communicable diseases and parasites (some zoonotic) that we simply don’t want to mess around with when possible. It is not a matter of being uncaring or overly cautious – the stakes here are very serious.
And further, while we always encourage adopters to make homeless local pets their first option, those options are – sadly – greatly expanding right now. Current economic and housing insecurity has led to massive numbers of pet surrenders, and numerous shelters and rescues across the country would love to see you adopt a local dog or cat… maybe one that used to live just down the street from you!
★ Notice of Temporary Suspension of Dogs Entering the United States from Countries Classified as High Risk for Dog Rabies
★ What Imported Dogs have to do with African Swine Fever
★ Brucellosis: Dog Breeders Shouldn’t Skip Testing for This Dangerous Disease
★ (2007) US Declared Canine-Rabies Free