By Kevin Deutsch
Rep. Ted Deutch is spearheading a bipartisan effort to get scores of abused, stranded rescue dogs into the U.S. after the CDC suspended canine imports from 113 countries.
The federal agency announced the import restriction in July because of concerns over rabies. But the move had the unintended effect of paralyzing dog rescue organizations across the globe and leaving many canines stranded, including 120 that survived the meat trade and remain stuck in China.
“The CDC ban does not recognize the complexities of international dog rescue transport,” said Deutch, the congressman for Coral Springs and Parkland. He was among 57 U.S. House of Representatives members from both parties who sent a letter to the CDC this week opposing the suspension.
“We can protect public health while allowing rescue groups to continue their work,” Deutch added. “American families should be able to save animals from abroad, as long as we guarantee they do not carry any diseases that pose a threat to those families or to their other furry friends.”
The CDC said the suspension would remain in place for at least a year because of a dramatic increase in puppies being imported to the U.S. with fake rabies vaccine certificates.
But the bipartisan congressional group said the suspension has gone too far.
“Dogs destined for American adoption can be safely imported by requiring confirmation of rabies vaccination by a licensed veterinarian in the country of origin, followed by rabies serology testing at least 30 days post-vaccination,” the representatives wrote.
Jackie Finnegan, Vice President & CEO of USA Operations at No Dogs Left Behind, said the CDC policy has left 120 of the rescue organization’s dogs – all dog meat trade survivors – stranded in China “with no way to get home to the American families who have adopted them.”
According to the anti-animal cruelty group Animal Wellness Action, about one million dogs are imported to the U.S. annually. But just three cases of canine rabies have been recorded among imported dogs since 2015, each of them from Egypt, the organization said.
“This strong bipartisan appeal for the CDC to rescind its policy to ban dog imports…is just the latest indicator that Congress is fed up with the agency on this issue,” said Marty Irby, Executive Director of Animal Wellness Action.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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