Where is your dog coming from? U.S. temporarily suspends import of dogs from countries classified as high risk for dog rabies

On June 14, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released Notice of Temporary Suspension of Dogs Entering the United States from High-Risk Rabies Countries.

Through this notice, CDC is informing the public that effective July 14, 2021, it is temporarily suspending the importation of dogs from countries classified by CDC as high risk for dog rabies AND countries that are not at high risk IF the dogs have been in high-risk countries in the previous six months.

The CDC deems this temporary action necessary to ensure the health and safety of dogs imported into the United States and to protect the public’s health against the reintroduction of canine rabies virus variant (dog rabies) into the U.S.

CDC estimates 6% of all dogs imported into the Unites States arrive from countries at high risk for dog rabies. Inadequately vaccinated dogs are not protected against rabies and are a public health threat. Rabies is fatal in both humans and animals and the importation of even one rabid dog could result in transmission to humans, pets and wildlife. Dog rabies has been eliminated from the United States since 2007. This suspension will protect the health and safety of imported dogs by preventing importations of dogs inadequately vaccinated against rabies and will protect the public’s health against the reintroduction of dog rabies. In 2020, CDC identified a significant increase compared with the previous two years in the number of imported dogs that were denied entry into the United States from high-risk countries. Due to reduced flight schedules, dogs denied entry are facing longer wait times to be returned to their country of departure, leading to illness and even death in some cases.

CDC has coordinated with other federal agencies and entities as necessary to implement this action, and CDC will review this suspension periodically.

Dogs from high-risk countries may be imported only with CDC’s advance written approval (CDC Dog Import Permit), including dogs imported from a country NOT at high risk if the dogs have been in a high-risk country during the previous six months. Such approvals may be granted on a limited case-by-case basis at CDC’s discretion. If your request for advance approval to import a dog is denied, CDC’s written denial will constitute final agency action. No appeals will be allowed.

To request advance written approval, you must follow the instructions at How to Apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit at least six weeks before you intend to enter the United States. Requests cannot be made at the port of entry upon arrival into the United States. Dogs that arrive from high-risk countries without advance written approval from CDC will be denied entry and returned to the country of departure at the importer’s expense.

All dogs from high-risk countries granted advance written approval and issued a CDC Dog Import Permit must enter the United States at a port of entry with a live animal care facility with a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-issued Facilities Information and Resource Management System (FIRMS) code. CDC will update the list of approved ports of entry at this website as they become available.

Before entering or re-entering the United States with a dog, importers should continue to check other federal regulations as well as rabies vaccination requirements of state and local governments at their final destination.

Click here to view the full CDC notice on this temporary suspension, including FAQs and additional resources.

Click here to see the CDC’s most up-to-date listing of high-risk countries for dog rabies.