In an early release of a June 1 notice, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced an extension and modification of the July 2021 temporary suspension of the importation of dogs from countries classified as high risk for canine rabies. Based on improvements in its ability to track and monitor dog imports from canine rabies virus variant (CRVV) high-risk countries, and the significant decrease in the dog importation issues that existed prior to the suspension, CDC is taking this action to allow for more dog imports from countries classified as high risk. CDC believes that the change will not divert public health resources away from COVID-19 pandemic responses.
During the temporary suspension, eligible importers, including owners of service dogs, US and foreign-government personnel, and persons permanently relocating to the United States, could apply to import their personally owned pet dogs. People were also permitted to import dogs for science, education, or exhibition (not including dog shows) purposes. To receive a permit, eligible importers had to provide a rabies vaccination certificate prior to the dog’s arriving in the United States that met certain criteria, as well as rabies serologic titers from an approved laboratory if the dog was vaccinated outside the United States. Dogs were also required to be at least six months of age and have a microchip implanted prior to arrival in the US.
CDC has been exercising its enforcement discretion to allow dogs six months of age or older that are microchipped and accompanied by valid US rabies vaccination certificates to reenter the US without a CDC Dog Import Permit. Because these dogs had been previously vaccinated in the US, CDC determined that allowing them to enter without a CDC Dog Import Permit would be unlikely to endanger the public’s health.
For dogs vaccinated outside the US, CDC also expanded the number of approved rabies titer labs–from five to 60–and reduced the timeframe between when a sample is collected and when a foreign-vaccinated dog is eligible to enter the US, from 90 to 45 days. CDC also increased the number of ports of entry for such dogs, from four to 18.
NEW CHANGES FOR US-VACCINATED DOGS:
US-vaccinated dogs returning to the US from high-risk countries with a valid US-issued rabies vaccination certificate will be allowed to enter without a CDC Dog Import Permit if the dog is six months of age or older; has a microchip; arrives at one of the 18 CDC-approved ports of entry, and has a valid US rabies vaccination certificate issued on or after the dog was 12 weeks of age.
NEW CHANGES FOR FOREIGN-VACCINATED DOGS WITH A CDC DOG IMPORT PERMIT:
All importers are now eligible to import dogs.
Importers of personal pet dogs from high-risk countries are now eligible to apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit, and may receive up to two permits (i.e., permits for two dogs). Personal pet owners no longer need to provide documentary proof of eligibility. Foreign-vaccinated dogs arriving from high-risk counties with a valid permit will be allowed to enter if the dogs are six months of age or older (photos of dogs’ teeth are required for age verification), have a microchip, have a valid rabies vaccination certificate from a non-US-licensed veterinarian issued on or after the date the dog was 12 week old and at least 28 days prior to entry, have a serologic evidence of rabies vaccination (titer) with the sample collected between 45-365 days before entry; and arrive at one of the 18 CDC-approved ports of entry. Within 10 days of arrival, foreign-vaccinated dogs with a CDC Dog Import Permit must receive a USDA-licensed rabies booster vaccination by a U.S. veterinarian.
Commercial dog importers are not eligible for a CDC Dog Import Permit. Instead, all commercial dog importers from high-risk countries may now import dogs provided that the dogs, upon entering the United States, are examined, revaccinated, and have proof of an adequate titer from a CDC-approved laboratory upon arrival or are held in quarantine at a CDC-approved animal facility until they meet CDC entry requirements. (Importers of personally owned pets may also choose to use this pathway in lieu of obtaining a CDC Dog Import Permit.)
Foreign-vaccinated dogs without a valid CDC Dog Import Permit must also enter at a port of entry with a CDC-approved animal facility, must be six months of age or older at time of entry, must have a scheduled examination date and time and reserve space with a CDC-approved animal facility prior to arrival, must have transportation arranged by a CBP-bonded transporter to a CDC-approved animal facility upon arrival, and undergo veterinary examination and revaccination upon arrival at a CDC-approved animal facility at importer’s expense. Such dogs will be held at the CDC-approved facility until multiple additional entry requirements are completed, including but not limited to veterinary health examinations and vaccination against rabies.
The new rules go into effect on June 10, 2022, and will remain in effect at least through January 31, 2023.
The American Kennel Club’s Government Relations Department (AKC GR) encourages everyone who may be impacted by the rule update to carefully review the information contained in CDC’s June 1 notice. Table 2 of the notice (beginning on page 37) summarizes the entry conditions for dogs under the new guidelines. Those needing additional information on proper importation are encouraged to call Dr. Emily Pieracci, D.V.M., of the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at 1-800-232-4636; or email AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.