Question of the Week
This will affect Doug [Johnson] and I greatly, since we work with breeders in Russia with English Toy Spaniels and in Colombia with Clumber Spaniels. Part of the reason for working with these outstanding breeders is to expand our gene pool with quality animals who are also healthy. Right now, we have at least three English Toy Spaniels in Russia, some which were meant to come to us during 2020 but couldn’t due to Covid.
This temporary ban may be very inconvenient for the breeders who are working with fanciers in those countries. However, if it puts a stop to the importation of the stray dogs in other countries that are being brought in without a health check, it's a great idea! Rabies is only one disease that has come in with them.
As a breeder, I believe this could have an adverse effect. To just make a total blanket ban without exception by perhaps non-dog people could impact our breeding programs – for example, many great Chihuahuas come from South America. There are also some good bloodlines in Russia. I wonder if there was any thought to how this would affect legitimate breeders, or if this was a knee-jerk reaction without enough study on the subject?
Would proper rabies vaccination documentation have not solved the issue? I used an example of only one breed, but many solid breeds originate from other countries.
I do not like someone – by that I mean the government – deciding where I buy my dogs. This of course will have the reverse trade effect on the sales of our puppies to foreign countries.
Chester County, Pennsylvania
Being involved in rescue as well as preservation breeding, I am thrilled with the CDC’s new importation ban! It’s about time supposed rescue organizations should have to provide legitimate proof of dogs receiving vet care. A rabid dog was recently rehomed to a local family and had to be euthanized. No excuse or good reason for that to happen.
This ban, if it includes China, personally affects me and the co-breeder of one of our Pembroke Welsh Corgis. We sent him over to China before the pandemic on a one-year lease arrangement with a friend who is a Chinese citizen. He was supposed to be returned to us last December, but of course the pandemic changed everything. We have been discussing how to get our dog back as things have started to lift, but now, if we can’t get him back in the next few weeks, we may never see him again. This is tragic as my friend and co-breeder is suffering from terminal cancer and really hoped and believed he would get to see our dog home again.
[Editor’s note: The high-risk countries for dog rabies includes China but excludes Taiwan and Hong Kong.]
Bluffton, South Carolina
The ban on imports from rabies-prone countries seems wise to me, but it won’t affect me as an Irish Setter breeder because I don’t intend to import dogs or semen.
Many of us recall that scary flu-like virus that swept through our show venues around 2014. My handlers here in South Carolina chose to withdraw and go home for the sake of the dogs. I appreciated that decision because they had seen the deadly virus at an earlier California venue, and knew it was spreading unbelievably fast. Dogs had died. Unfortunately, it was brought in from Asia with a supposed “rescue” scam; we had no clue at the time.
Now, the CDC is aware of increased rabies cases in the countries it proposes to ban. Eureka!
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The U.S. ban on importing foreign dogs affects my plans a lot. I had made plans for a season of Samoyed shows, and now all those plans are cancelled.
[Editor’s note: Brazil is on the list of countries from which imports to the U.S. are banned under the new CDC directive.]
Billy Miller and Kenny Saenz
We respect the concept of effective biosecurity. While this may have some impact on the international dog world, the steps being taken are prudent.
I am so glad to see imports being banned without proper vetting. It is so easy to use counterfeit shipping papers when there is no recourse to the person issuing the papers. Making it safer for dogs already in the States cannot be anything but good. I think we all learned that lesson when we got canine flu and had to vaccinate our dogs every year, and yet they were still importing dogs that were bringing in canine flu. It didn't make any sense at all.
Turtle Lake, North Dakota
Absolutely terrible. I don't import a lot, however, this time it's a big problem. I was to receive my next show puppy from Belarus in August from a very responsible breeder. Waiting a year is not even an option. I do believe this ban is more for stopping the huge number of ill-bred pups coming in rather than a rabies issue.
It is a positive step in the right direction. Why has the U.S. allowed all the street dogs to be imported, then taken in by the rescue organizations to infect U.S. dogs, then the rescue people sell them and feature them in "pitiful" TV ads? I have no idea why this has gone on so long, except the rescue organizations have a lot of political clout!
Yes, I believe it WILL affect me and my dogs – in a positive way. I love all dogs and am sympathetic to the plight of these sad creatures. But not every dog can or should be saved.
However, it doesn't go far enough. Our government needs to get the greedy animal rights/shelter/rescue people under legal control.
While banning dogs from certain countries is a start, there is so much more to be done. For starters they need to help US educate the public about the truth when it comes to responsible breeders of purebred dogs.
The public’s mentality that everyone deserves to own a dog immediately and should be able to order one up like a burger and fries is ridiculous.
These people importing dogs don't care about the dogs, they are just making money as fast as they can.
Our dogs and families are being put at risk from these dogs with disease and bad behavior. I know personally of people and children who have been bitten in the face by dogs from these importers.
The National Animal Interest Alliance has worked tirelessly to educate the public and legislators about the public and animal-health issues related to the mass importation of foreign strays or dogs bred for retail rescue. More than 1 million dogs come into the U.S. each year. We are not talking about carefully bred, properly vaccinated and health-tested animals. We have had multiple cases of canine strain rabies coming in with some of these dogs due to faulty paperwork and insufficient veterinary care, including a recent shipment from Azerbaijan. There are 100 countries the ruling will apply to. You can read about the order here: https://www.cdc.gov/importation/bringing-an-animal-into-the-united-states/high-risk.html
The only one of the countries listed where there seems to be a lot of importing is Russia.
Rescues are lobbying now to be exempted, but their failures have been noted. During the pandemic, rescues and shelters in places like the Northeast, where there are no major problems, have had difficulty finding enough dogs to stay in business. There is huge money in some of the large, organized rescues that reap sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations. A large Golden rescue here has routinely brought Goldens from foreign countries as rescues. They need that breed for donations, and there are simply not a lot of Goldens here in need.
This CDC order is long overdue. The legislation in Congress to clarify how we can ensure that only healthy dogs are imported should be passed. This would help ensure that we are not bringing in more diseases and parasites that will harm our resident animals and people.
Mary Anne Brocious
When a reputable breeder imports a dog or dogs, it is usually from a reputable breeder on the other end. They have established a relationship and share common dog-breeding philosophies. Of course, there may be a time that you don’t get the whole story and the imported dog is not healthy. Instead of a blanket regulation, maybe the government should have sought the help of the appropriate dog community – like the AKC – to develop methods to import healthy dogs to assist dog breeders in acquiring new lines and building their pedigrees.
Did I say the government should have sought out the community that is most affected? I must be dreaming. This is their usual approach to anything dog related: Lump all dog breeders in one category and impede their ability to breed dogs and acquire foreign bloodlines.
Boy, that's throwing the baby out with the bathwater. How about banning only the countries that don’t have checks or balances for health standards? I personally have imported two show dogs from Russia, and to say they have maximum health clearances would be an understatement. Don’t punish responsible people for problems caused by the shoddy practices of others.
Fox Point, Wisconsin
After much deliberation, I do believe there needs to be more control over all dogs imported from every country. This needs to include any “rescue” group that attempts to circumvent the rules of importing animals.
Having brought over dogs from Russia and the Ukraine, the questions my veterinarian had regarding any vaccines were not only valid, but something we as breeders and owners need to be concerned about.
So, yes, I would like to see our government do something to protect our dogs, too.