YES, YOU (PROBABLY) CAN IMPORT THAT SHOW PROSPECT NOW
BY SHEILA GOFFE
F or a year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suspended, with only a few exceptions, the import of dogs from some 113 countries deemed “high risk for rabies.” For many fanciers this restriction meant an end of plans to special a dog in the US, or to import an exciting new prospect or an important new part of a breeding program. On June 10, 2022 that’s set to change thanks to new CDC rules that will make it easier to import a dog from the previously banned countries. WHAT’S CHANGING? While it is important for importers to also check additional USDA and local entry requirements, here is the latest from the CDC: New rules officially announced by the CDC on June 1 (and effective as of June 10) change the focus from a blanket suspension on imports to a risk-based approach that depends on where the dog’s rabies vaccination was administered and how many dogs are being imported. Under the new CDC rules, dogs that have not been in a high-risk country may continue to enter the US through any port of entry and are not required to present a rabies vaccination certificate. If the puppy is under six months of age, a verbal statement that the pup has not been in a high-risk country is required. For all dogs that have been in a high-risk country in the past six months, the dog must be at least six months old, have a valid rabies vaccina- tion, and have an ISO microchip for identification that matches the rabies certificate. (A list of “high risk” for rabies countries is available at cdc.gov. ) Importers bringing 1-2 dogs into the US that have been in a high-risk country have three options for entry: 1. Permit – Apply for a CDC permit prior to travel and arrange for the dogs to arrive at one of 18 approved airports with the import permit. 2. Titer – Make an advance reservation for a port that has an approved animal care facility: Atlanta (ATL), New York (JFK), Miami (MIA), or Los Angeles (LAX); present a valid foreign rabies vaccination certificate; present the results of a valid rabies serology titer; and have the dog examined by a USDA-accredited veterinar- ian and re-vaccinated. 3. No Titer – Make an advance reservation for a port that has an approved animal care facility: Atlanta (ATL), New York (JFK), Miami (MIA), or Los Angeles (LAX); present a valid foreign rabies vaccination certificate; have the dog examined by a USDA accred- ited veterinarian and re-vaccinated; and quarantine the dog(s) for 28 days.
Individuals importing three or more dogs into the US from a high-risk country do not have the option to obtain a permit, but may enter with an advance reser- vation and select either Option 2 (with a titer/no quar- antine) or Option 3 (no titer/mandatory quarantine). Under the new rule, commercial dog import- ers are not eligible for a CDC Dog Import Permit. However, commercial dog importers may now import dogs from high-risk countries provided that the dogs, upon arrival in the United States, are examined, re- vaccinated, and have proof of an adequate titer from a CDC-approved laboratory. Alternatively, they may be held in quarantine at a CDC-approved animal facility until they meet CDC entry requirements. Details on the new rules are available on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/importation/bringing- an-animal-into-the-united-states/. BACKGROUND – SO WHAT’S THE ISSUE BEHIND THE RULES? Rabies is a serious threat to pet and public health. According to the CDC, is it one hundred percent pre- ventable and ninety-nine percent fatal. The American Kennel Club has long been con- cerned about sick dogs being imported into the United States—whether the issue be the rabies, brucellosis, viral infections, canine influenza, non-native para- sites, zoonotic diseases, or other pathogens that impact canine and public health. Historically, canine disease imported from outside the United States flew under the radar. There were also many fewer dogs being imported. In the last generation, however, breeders in the US have come under increasing restrictions and fallen vic- tim to negative public pressure, even as the demand for pet dogs has increased. By 2019, even before the increase in ownership due to the pandemic, it was conservatively estimated that US demand for pet dogs is approximately eight million dogs a year. US breed- ers simply couldn’t meet the demand for pets, particu- larly in light of anti-breeder laws.
122 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JUNE 2022
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