The United States government has temporarily suspended the importation of dogs from the Philippines and other countries classified as high risk for dog rabies, its embassy said.
On Twitter, the US embassy in the Philippines said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a notice of suspension on the importation of dogs from 113 countries starting July 14, 2021.
“NOTICE: @CDCgov has suspended the importation of dogs to the U.S. from countries, including the Philippines, classified by the CDC as high risk for dog rabies,” the embassy said.
“@CDCgov also suspended the importation of dogs from countries that are not at high risk if the dogs have been in high-risk countries during the previous 6 months,” it added.
The US CDC said the notice of temporary suspension, which was issued last June 14, 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.”
The agency said in 2020, it identified a significant increase compared with the previous 2 years in the number of imported dogs that were denied entry into the United States from high-risk countries. Due to reduced flight schedules, dogs denied entry are facing longer wait times to be returned to their country of departure, leading to illness and even death in some cases.
The CDC estimates 6 percent of all dogs imported into the Unites States arrive from countries at high risk for dog rabies.
“Inadequately vaccinated dogs are not protected against rabies and are a public health threat. Rabies is fatal in both humans and animals, and the importation of even one rabid dog could result in transmission to humans, pets, and wildlife. Dog rabies has been eliminated from the United States since 2007,” it added.
The agency said it has the authority to issue advance written approval or a dog import permit to bring a dog from a high-risk country.
The permits, however, will not be issued upon arrival and that dogs that arrive from high-risk countries without a CDC Dog Import Permit will be denied entry and returned to the country of departure at the importer’s expense, the CDC said.
“If you wish to import a dog from a high-risk country, you need to request advance written approval from CDC by emailing CDCanimalimports@cdc.gov at least 30 business days (6 weeks) before you intend to bring the dog into the United States,” the agency said.
All dogs from high-risk countries granted permits must enter the United States at a port of entry with a live animal care facility with a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-issued Facilities Information and Resource Management System (FIRMS) code.
Before entering or re-entering the United States with a dog, the CDC said importers should continue to check other federal regulations as well as rabies vaccination requirements of state and local governments at their final destination.