Commercial dogs from countries that are considered high risk for rabies will no longer be allowed to enter Canada beginning September 28.
the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has announced the measures in an effort to protect Canadians and their pets “to reduce the risk of introducing canine rabies” into the country.
According to the Government of Canada, “commercial dogs may include, but are not limited to, dogs for resale, adoption, fostering, breeding, show or exhibition, research and other purposes.”
Dozens of countries, including Ukraine, Jordan, and Vietnam have been designated as high risk.
“It has to be regulated, it really is,” Susan Patterson of the Vancouver-based Thank You DOG I Am Out rescue society.
“What was easier 13 years ago, because there weren’t as many organizations, is now probably clearly more difficult to monitor.”
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In February, a planeload of animals rescued from Afghanistan arrived in Vancouver.
Afghanistan is on the list of banned countries as of September 28.
Patterson told Global News that he knows animals will suffer as a result of this decision, but understands the reasoning behind it.
“If maybe everyone does a better job or understands importing a little better, then I’m sure this will make everyone a better rescue organization. That’s really, really important to protect Canadians and Canadian dogs… to make sure the animals that you bring in are safe.”
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However, not all rescue organizations agree with the new measures, saying there should be regulations rather than bans.
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“You have to realize that it’s something that already exists here in our foxes, bats, rats, raccoons, cats and horses,” said Jesse Adams of the RainCoast Dog Rescue Society.
“All kinds of animals can get this already, so are you really preventing something from stopping these animals from getting in as far as the rabies aspect goes? I do not think so at all. But is more extensive documentation needed, is more extensive investigation needed for these animals to enter the country? One hundred percent agree with that.”
Adams added that better documentation is especially important when it comes to disease control.
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Canada does not currently have any active cases of canine rabies, but dogs with the disease were imported into the country last year.
“One of the dogs showed no clinical symptoms of rabies for six months from the time of importation,” Dr. Christiane Armstrong, director of the BC College of Veterinarians, told Global News.
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“Which to me is scary because obviously both dogs came in presumably with rabies shots, and I say presumably because that’s not always true.”
Canine rabies kills about 59,000 each year worldwide, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
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The ban goes into effect on World Rabies Day, September 28.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said that all currently issued import permits will remain valid until the end of the validity period specified in the permit, and the import conditions contained in the import permit will continue to apply.
All import permits issued on or after June 28 will expire on September 27, regardless of when the permit is issued.
As of September 28, import permits will no longer be issued.
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