New CDC Restrictions Pose Challenges for Dog Travel to the U.S.

by Lisa

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unveiled stringent new regulations on Wednesday regarding dogs entering the United States, a move that has sparked concerns about its impact on families returning home with their pets or those seeking to adopt internationally.

Effective from August 1, the updated regulation prohibits dogs under six months old from entering the U.S. Furthermore, dogs over six months old must furnish evidence demonstrating their absence from countries identified as high-risk for rabies. Failure to provide such proof may result in potential quarantine for the dog. Additionally, all dogs must be microchipped under the new rules.


The CDC emphasized that these tighter restrictions aim to safeguard public health and the well-being of both humans and animals by ensuring that any incoming dog is healthy and poses no risk to communities.


While the United States achieved rabies elimination in 2007, the implementation of these new rules seeks to prevent the re-introduction of the viral disease, which primarily spreads through biting. As of August 2023, the agency has identified 131 countries as high-risk for rabies.


Addressing recent challenges with international dog importations, including issues such as fraudulent documents and unsafe conditions for the animals, the CDC underscores the necessity for stricter measures.


However, critics argue that these regulations could have adverse effects on families and individuals seeking to rescue pets from legitimate overseas organizations. The Humane Society Legislative Fund expressed concerns that providing proof of a dog’s whereabouts, especially for rescue animals, could pose significant challenges. The Fund emphasized the potential consequence of far fewer dogs finding homes in the U.S. as a result.

Tracie Letterman, Vice President of Federal Affairs at the Humane Society Legislative Fund, condemned the potential impact of the regulations, stating that they could needlessly delay Americans, including government personnel and military families, from returning to the U.S. with their pets, causing distress and family separations.

Moreover, the Humane Society Legislative Fund highlighted potential complications for airlines in implementing the new restrictions. Airlines may face challenges in enforcing the rules, and some may choose to opt out of allowing customers to travel into the U.S. with dogs to avoid confusion or difficulties.


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