1st note - Brian, did I understand correctly that an organization wants to bring dogs that are rescued from China to Palm Beach County? If so, this is wrong for they may bring in diseases that will affect show dogs.
2nd note - Our vets did not and could not take care of the diseased dogs that came in from Chernobyl and now we have diseases we never had before within our country. Additionally, we kill so many dogs from our own nation that needed a home. Why add to that?
Bottom Line: I received these notes after the story that Big Dog Ranch Rescue was seeking donates to make a trip over to China to rescue dogs that would otherwise be eaten during the Chinese “Meat Festival”. Before digging into this topic, it’s worth noting that Big Dog has made previous trips to China to bring rescue dogs back to South Florida from China including 37 earlier this year. Now, the concerns from the listeners starting with the question the risk of disease from these animals.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention require all dogs to be examined by a licensed veterinarian prior to being imported into the United States. So, there is a process to help safeguard against bringing diseased animals back to the US. That being said, is it always effective? No.
The CDC has issued a health risk advisory over the importation of foreign animals because often paperwork and background information on the animals is missing, incomplete and/or forged and not all potential diseases are detectable in all stages of contamination. The most notable example of this came in 2015 with dogs and cats rescued from Egypt and brought to New York and Virginia. The animals turned out to have rabies, but it wasn’t detected until adoptions started to take place. All told 18 people had to be treated for rabies and many animals which came in contact with them had to be put down.
The most recent related health warning came from the Canadian Public Health Agency just last month. A woman who rescued a dog from Mexico contracted an infectious blood disease, brucellosis, from her rescue that nearly killed her. On back of this, the Canadian Public Health Agency put out a warning about rescuing animals from foreign countries.
Is it possible that diseased animals can make their way into the country when rescued? Yes. Is it common? It doesn’t appear to be. Is it worth the risk? That’s for you to decide.
Using the most recent information from the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the key facts to consider are these:
- 151 active animal shelters in Florida
- More than 400,000 animals taken in per year to these shelters
- 73% of animals are successfully adopted out (65% of cats & 81% for dogs)
This is compelling information. Based on figures, we know that more than 108,000 animals die or are put down while in shelters per year in Florida prior to being adopted. As someone who’s passionate about animals and believes in rescues, I do have to wonder about the wisdom of raising and spending over $100,000 to go overseas to rescue animals when we have so many that need a home right here. Based on the facts, I think the resources may be better spent assisting with the adoption of animals right here at home. You’re welcome to disagree. Clearly those with Big Dog Ranch Rescue feel differently.
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