C.D.C. Eases Up on Dog Travel Ban

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The United States government has relaxed a rule that banned the importation of dogs from more than 100 countries because of concerns over fraudulent vaccinations. Less than six weeks after the ruling, which pet owners had complained was overly restrictive, the change came.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had stopped the import of dogs from countries where the risk of transmission for dogs was high. The federal agency said that the ban was spurred by an increase in the number of false health documents from international pet importers.

Travelers with dogs who received their inoculations from a U.S.-licensed vet may return to the U.S. if the animal is healthy, has a valid U.S. license and is at least six months old.

The decision was announced on the C.D.C. website. The agency didn't respond to questions about the change.

The C.D.C. said it helped intervene in more than 450 cases where dogs were imported with false or incomplete vaccinations. In June of 2021, a dog imported from Azerbaijan was found to have a fatal disease. The one incident was enough for the C.D.C.

The risk associated with rescue dogs imported from countries at high-risk for dog rabies is highlighted by the dog's importation. Since 2007, dog importations from countries with high risk for the disease have been eliminated from the United States.

The C.D.C. will not accept expired vaccinations for dogs that have traveled through a country deemed high. The C.D.C. had originally planned to reduce the number of approved ports from 18 to three in early 2022.

Aid workers and U.S. service members who want to bring dogs to the United States for the first time will not be helped by the change of policy. Many of them are struggling to get back in touch with animals they adopted during their tours of duty abroad, and they have complained that the rule was too restrictive. Animals adopted abroad are not allowed to enter the U.S. without special permission.