Dogs from Thailand as well as more than 100 other countries are banned from entering the United States for the next year due to a high risk of rabies. The ban applies to all dogs, including emotional support dogs and dogs that have been in any high-risk countries during the past six months.
Dog rabies in America has been eliminated since 2007. The 1-year ban on dogs from more than 100 countries was set to prevent the emergence of the disease. The CDC says dogs that are not vaccinated against rabies are a “public health threat,” adding that the importation of just one rabid dog could spread the fatal disease to humans, pets and wildlife.
This temporary action is necessary to ensure the health and safety of dogs imported into the United States and to protect the public’s health against the reintroduction of canine rabies virus variant (dog rabies) into the United States.
Due to reduced flight schedules last year during the pandemic, imported dogs from high risk countries that were denied entry faced longer wait times to return to their country where they departed. The CDC says this lead to some dogs getting ill. Some died.
The CDC says that on an “extremely limited basis,” a permit can be issued to allow a dog from a high risk country to enter the US. To obtain the CDC Dog Import Permit, an email must be sent to CDCanimalimports@cdc.gov at least 30 business days travelling to the US. Dogs that arrive to the US without the required permit will be sent back at the importer’s expense.
The pandemic-driven jump in dog adoptions was linked to a spike in dogs brought in to the US with falsified or fraudulent rabies certificates. During 2020, the CDC found more than 450 dogs arriving in the US with fake certificates – a 52% jump compared to the previous two years – Dr Emily Pieracci of the CDC told NPR.
On “an extremely limited basis” some pet owners and other animal lovers may be granted exceptions to the ban by seeking written approval from the CDC at least 30 days before planned entry to the US, the agency said.
The one-year ban is effective from 14 July and will be reviewed periodically.