Animal rescue groups in Belize fear drop in dog adoption after US ban

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Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2021. 8:45 a.m. CST.

By Aaron Humes: Animal rescue groups in Belize, particularly those who care for dogs, have raised concerns about a one-year ban issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that will go into effect on July 14, according to the Associated Press.

They say many of the dogs they rescue are adopted by Americans, but that trade will fall for the duration of the ban.

The AP says the ban has to do with the risk of rabies and affects more than 100 countries. Dogs from these countries already needed proof of rabies vaccination. The ban is being imposed due to a spike in the number of puppies being refused entry because they weren’t old enough to be fully vaccinated, the CDC said.

Douglas Kratt, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, applauded the decision. “We want to make sure we’re bringing healthy dogs into the country — especially if they’re going to be pets,” said Kratt, a veterinarian in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

The ban applies to dogs entering or returning to the country, including pets or those brought for sale or adoption. An American couple who brought their dog to Belize on vacation could not bring the dog back to the United States unless it was first taken to a country with no high risk of rabies and spent six months there. month.

According to the authorities, only a small percentage, 4 to 7.5% of the million dogs brought in each year, will be affected by the ban, and there will be exceptions for foreign owners and guide dogs for the blind. Three countries – Russia, Ukraine and Colombia, are responsible for the majority of rejected participants, but the ban was prompted by other rejections caused by fraudulent documents claiming the dogs were over 4 months old. According to an expert, dogs under 4 months old are not allowed because rabies vaccines do not take full effect until a dog is that age.

Rabies, a viral disease attacking the central nervous system, is fatal to humans and animals unless vaccinated; there is no cure otherwise. The canine variant of rabies was eliminated in the 1970s and the most common form now comes from Mexico, causing a second wave that took 19 years to eliminate.

Demand for dogs is thought to have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as Americans seek furry companionship; but some canine rabies vaccination programs had to be suspended or canceled during the pandemic, increasing the risk of bringing in a rabid dog.


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