Mixed reaction from rescue groups as Canada bans commercial dogs from high-risk rabies countries

Click to play video: 'Canada bans rescue dogs from over 100 countries ranked high-risk for rabies'
Canada bans rescue dogs from over 100 countries ranked high-risk for rabies
WATCH: For years, countless dogs rescued from overseas have found new homes in Canada but that may soon come to an end when a new measure aimed at protecting humans and domestic canines from dog rabies goes into effect. Mike Drolet explains – Jul 17, 2022

Commercial dogs from countries that are deemed a high risk for rabies will no longer be able to enter Canada as of Sept. 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 dog rabies” into the country.

According to the government of Canada, “commercial dogs can include, but are not limited to dogs for resale, adoption, fostering, breeding, show or exhibition, research, and other purposes.”

It does not apply to people moving to Canada with their pets.

Click to play video: 'CFIA to ban imports of commercial dogs from 100 countries with high risk of rabies'
CFIA to ban imports of commercial dogs from 100 countries with high risk of rabies

Dozens of countries, including Ukraine, Jordan and Vietnam have been designated as high-risk.

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“It’s got to be regulated, it really does,” Susan Patterson from Thank DOG I Am Out Rescue Society based in Vancouver.

“What was easier 13 years ago, because there weren’t so many organizations, it’s now become probably, clearly, more difficult to monitor.”

Click to play video: 'Rescue animals from Afghanistan to land at YVR'
Rescue animals from Afghanistan to land at YVR

In February, a plane filled with animals rescued from Afghanistan arrived in Vancouver.

Afghanistan is on the list of banned countries come Sept. 28.

Patterson told Global News she knows animals will suffer as a result of this decision but she understands the reasoning behind it.

“If maybe everybody does a better job or understands the importation a bit better then I’m sure that this is going to make everybody a better rescue organization. That’s really super important to protect the Canadian people and the Canadian dogs … to be sure that the animals you’re bringing in are safe.”

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However, not every rescue organization agrees with the new measures, saying there should be regulations rather than bans.

“You’ve got to realize it’s just something that already exists here in our foxes, in our bats, and our rats and raccoons and cats and horses,” Jesse Adams with RainCoast Dog Rescue Society said.

“All sorts of animals can already get this, so are you really preventing anything from stopping these animals from coming in as far as the rabies aspect? I don’t think so at all. But more thorough documentation, more thorough vetting being needed for these animals to enter the country? One hundred per cent agree with that.”

Adams added better documentation is especially important when it comes to disease control.

Click to play video: 'Rescued dogs from Afghanistan come full circle, helping veterans deal with PTSD'
Rescued dogs from Afghanistan come full circle, helping veterans deal with PTSD

Canada does not currently have any active cases of dog rabies but last year dogs were imported into the country with the disease.

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“One of the dogs did not show clinical symptoms of rabies for six months from the time of importation,” Dr. Christiane Armstrong, director of the College of Veterinarians of BC told Global News.

“Which to me, is scary because obviously both these dogs entered presumably with rabies vaccines, and I do say presumably because that, not always, is true.”

Dog rabies kills about 59,000 every year around the world, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Click to play video: 'Rescued Afghan dogs paired with “furever” homes'
Rescued Afghan dogs paired with “furever” homes

The ban takes effect on World Rabies Day, Sept. 28.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said all currently issued import permits will remain valid until the end of the validity period specified on the permit, and the import conditions contained in the import permit would continue to apply.

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All import permits issued on or after June 28 will expire on Sept. 27, regardless of when the permit is issued.

As of Sept. 28, import permits will no longer be issued.

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