Animal rescue groups unhappy with federal decision to ban dogs from canine rabies risk countries
Spokespersons for animal rescue and advocacy groups say they are unhappy with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s decision to ban the entry of ‘commercial dogs’ into Canada from countries at risk of rabies canine.
Jeffrey Beri, founder of No Dogs Left Behind, a dog rescue group, said the decision was terrible news. He said his group had rescued 300 dogs from Afghanistan and East Asia so far this year.
“It’s a devastating blow to rescue and it literally closes the doors to survivors who were destined for slaughter,” Beri said Sunday.
“These guys were from the wet markets. We saved them from reckless slaughter.”
In a June 28 notice to industry, the federal agency announced that dogs from a list of about 100 countries will be banned from entering Canada beginning September 28.
The agency says Canada has no active cases of “canine rabies,” which it says is a different strain of rabies typically found in wild animals, such as skunks, foxes, raccoons and bats. But he says dogs were imported into Canada with the disease last year.
“Risk to public health”
As a result, he says the Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial public health authorities have asked him to take action.
“The importation of commercial dogs from these countries poses a serious public health risk to Canadians,” the agency said.
Rabies is more than 99% fatal to humans and dogs once they start showing symptoms, but it’s nearly 100% preventable with proper animal vaccination, according to the agency.
“The importation of a single rabid dog could result in transmission to humans, pets and wildlife. If a person is exposed, they should receive serious medical treatment,” the agency said.
Karen Beck, a volunteer with No Dogs Left Behind, expressed concern about the dogs not being rescued.
“If we can’t save them, what will happen to them?”
Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice, said the federal agency did not consult with animal welfare agencies before making its decision and could have taken other steps to protect public health. Animal Justice describes itself as the only national non-profit animal rights organization in Canada.
“We can make 100% effective vaccinations. We can test for canine rabies.
In a press release, Animal Justice added, “Countless Canadian dog rescue organizations are working in these countries to rescue thousands of dogs, arrange veterinary care, air transportation to Canada, foster homes and adoption opportunities.
“Dog rescue organizations have not been consulted on the abrupt policy change, and many fear it will force them to close, robbing countless dogs of a second chance at life,” he continues.
“The list of countries affected by the ban are those that the CFIA considers to be at high risk of canine rabies, which can be prevented with appropriate vaccinations, and can also be treated through testing, quarantine and other measures.”
The organization said the new policy does not include any exemptions for rescues operating in war-torn countries, such as Ukraine and Afghanistan.
“Many Canadians are eager to adopt dogs, but this blanket ban will condemn thousands of dogs to languish on the streets or be killed in overcrowded shelters instead of finding loving homes in Canada,” Labchuk added.
“And with far fewer rescued dogs available for adoption in Canada, our puppy mill problem will get worse – backyard breeders will be pumping out as many puppies as possible for profit, born in dirty, cramped cages. “
The organization said it launched a petition asking the agency to reconsider its decision. It has already collected more than 10,000 signatures.