Local rescue group scrambles to bring dogs stateside before international CDC ban goes into effect

CHESAPEAKE, Virginia – Southeastern Virginia Golden Retriever, Rescue, Education and Training (SEVA GRREAT) goal is to rescue dogs and bring them to the United States for loving homes.

Right now, the nonprofit is hoping to fend off a new ban on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, due to go into effect July 14th.

“That was definitely devastating news,” said Jane Krom, SEVA GRREAT’s international coordinator. “We found out about a week ago and were quite surprised to see it coming.”

This ban would prohibit dogs from entering the US from 113 countries due to concerns about high rabies cases and inadequate rabies vaccinations. Two of the countries are Turkey and China where the group is rescuing golden retrievers.

“We just have the feeling that a blanket ban is not the way to go,” said Krom. “There has to be a better way.”

News 3 reached out to the CDC to clarify the ban. In an email response, the CDC said rescue organizations are not exempted unless they are approved by the agency. U.S. citizens and government officials returning from overseas or for academic, educational, or exhibition purposes are excluded.

“Anything we can do to protect the people who will interact with dogs,” said Dr. Annmarie Woyma, “that are imported and the protection of public health is really important.”

Dr. Woyma is the medical director of the Virginia Beach SPCA. She said the symptoms of rabies may not come on suddenly, but if they do it will be fatal by then.

“At that point, this animal was walking through the airport,” explained Dr. Woyma, “maybe someone went to a home, maybe a veterinarian’s office.”

Krom said organizations like SEVA GRREAT are taking steps to ensure the dogs they are bringing have already received their vaccinations and exams.

They showed a “passport” showing all of the vaccinations and tests a dog has received. Every dog ​​had a passport that they had to show as evidence.

Related: Advancing Coronavirus Forces, Local Dog Rescue Organization To Wait Months For Dogs Rescued

SEVA GRREAT is raising funds through GoFundMe to expedite the process for 15 dogs by July 14th. Krom said they asked elected officials for help but heard nothing.

Still, she said there was optimism.

“It looks promising to have overcome at least some things before the ban,” said Krom.