CDC Bans Dog Imports From Over 100 Countries

( In a move they say will protect the health and safety of the public, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that it won’t allow dogs to be imported from more than 100 countries.

The move was made because there is a significant increase in the number of puppies that are being imported into the U.S. that have rabies vaccine certificates that are fake.

In announcing the decision, the CDC’s Dr. Emily Pieracci said:

“We’re doing this to make sure that we protect the health and safety of dogs that are imported into the United States, as well as protect the public’s health.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans all over the country adopted puppies for companionship as they were forced to remain home. The surge in adoptions resulted in a surge in the importation of dogs from other countries.

At the same time, Pieracci says the surges were accompanied by an increase in the number of dogs that entered the U.S. that hake fake rabies certificates, or ones that were falsified.

In 2020, the CDC caught 450 dogs that arrived in America that had fraudulent or falsified rabies certificates. That was an increase of 52% over the two years before that.

She explained:

“Early on in the pandemic, the shelters were reporting record-low numbers because everybody was adopting pandemic puppies. And so there is a possibility that there may be a correlation between empty shelters here driving an increased demand to purchase puppies overseas.”

This huge increase in demand may have caused breeders to try to cut corners so they could fill the demand for puppies. In places where the pandemic was overwhelming, it was also hard to keep up with programs that vaccinated puppies for rabies.

Pieracci said:

“Given the impact that COVID has had on vaccination programs around the world, we’re not sure what the rabies landscape is going to look like in the future. But we are definitely concerned that there could be an increased risk of importing a rabid dog.”

For now, the ban is only in place for the year. The CDC said it will re-evaluate the situation after a year to see what the landscape looks like.

In the meantime, there will be exceptions given to the ban, but decisions on exceptions will be made on a case-by-cases basis. For example, Americans who are living abroad that need to bring a dog with them will be able to apply for a waiver so they don’t have to leave their dog behind.

Pieracci stressed that the ban on the import of puppies from these countries won’t cause a shortage on the number of puppies in the U.S. In fact, the countries on the banned list only account for roughly 6% of the puppies that are imported into the U.S. on an annual basis.

In addition, health officials said people shouldn’t worry if they adopted a dog from one of these countries during the pandemic. The risk to their health — and your health — is probably low at this point.