Calgary dog ​​rescue groups say new regulations will devastate their organizations

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Animal rescue groups that find foster placements in Calgary and permanent homes for dogs from international countries say a new federal ban on importing dogs from a list of countries as a control measure against rabies unfairly harms groups trying to help dogs.

“It’s a death sentence for them,” said Belinda Morrison, founder of CB Rescue Foundation.

Since September 28, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has banned the importation of dogs from a list of more than 100 countries around the world.

Commercial dogs from countries with a high risk of canine rabies will not be allowed to enter the country and permits will no longer be issued.

The CFIA defines “commercial” as dogs intended for resale, adoption, breeding, exhibition or exhibition and research.

“The CFIA has consulted with public health authorities regarding the risk to human health and has determined that it is significant enough to warrant the implementation of a measure that prevents the introduction into Canada of rabies caused by by canine variant viruses,” the CFIA said in an e-statement mailed to CTV News on Tuesday.

Morrison’s rescue organizes the transport of dogs from many countries, including the Dominican Republic which is on the list of prohibited nations.

She said stricter protocols for importing dogs for rescue groups would be welcome, but criticized the CFIA’s announcement.

Commercial dogs from countries with a high risk of canine rabies will not be allowed to enter the country and permits will no longer be issued.

“The problem is they don’t want rabies in Canada. Neither do I. I don’t know of a rescue that does. We want to bring healthy dogs to Canada,” she said. declared.

Morrison said Canada already requires mandatory rabies vaccination for rescue animals in Canada, adding that a mandatory quarantine period of at least 30 days would be a better control measure than an outright ban.

A rescue animal owner said it broke her heart to think that another dog like the one imported by the CB Rescue Foundation from the Dominican Republic might not have the chance to have a new life in the country. Canada.

“I sincerely believe in changing the lives of these dogs one at a time and we cannot do that (when) this ban comes into effect. Why do these dogs have to suffer because of this? There must be a way around it,” Alana Lemckert said.

“It’s devastating for rescuers, these animals will have nowhere to go,” said Rory O’Neill, director of Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue, adding that she and others were beyond upset by a “decision awful government.”

His colleague, Teri Harder, told CTV News that she hoped there could be some flexibility to get the rules changed or offer a workaround for relief groups.

“It’s death warrant for (dogs,” Harder said before adding, “If we can’t help them and get some here, they’ll die.”

The CFIA said canine rabies circulates more easily among dogs in the more than 100 countries listed due to insufficient access to public health resources and preventative treatments.

“The importation of a single rabid dog could result in transmission to humans, pets and wildlife in Canada. In recent years, commercial imports of dogs have increased by 400%. Shipments of dogs from countries where canine rabies is prevalent pose a high risk of introduction of this disease into Canada,” the CFIA said.

Future regulatory changes are possible, as the CFIA said it would meet with stakeholders to consider “additional and alternative risk control measures.”

These stakeholders include the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency, air carriers, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, infectious disease experts and welfare interest groups. animals.

Morrison said she is working with a lawyer in Toronto and hopes to have a seat at the table for those discussions.

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