With the influx of dogs traveling or being imported to the US to animal shelters, many are worried that these dogs may bring foreign diseases and rabies into the US.
In March 2007, a dog from India flew through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and was flown to its owner in Alaska before it was diagnosed with rabies.
In May 2004, a dog from Puerto Rico was taken to a Massachusetts shelter to find a new home but was diagnosed with rabies. The Massachusetts Department of Health said this was the first case of rabies in “decades.”
Due to the increase of incidences, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is becoming involved because their number one priority is canine rabies.
The CDC will draw new regulations and have systems to better screen incoming dogs in place by next year.
“It’s a ticking time bomb,” said Patti Strand, president of the National Animal Interest Alliance. “We’ve spent fortunes and decades eradicating many of these diseases, and they may be reintroduced.”
A Department of Agriculture spokesperson said that the agency has no authority to monitor people who import large numbers of dogs and sell them on their own.
They then can sell the unregulated dogs on the Internet, newspaper ads, and street corners. The executive vice president of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council said these sales make up the majority of the international dog trade.
Source: USA Today