U.S. CDC ban on dog imports leaves rescued animals from China in limbo

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Poppy, a young golden retriever, was found on the streets north of Shanghai before being rescued and taken to the United States

Claire Mracek and her family mourned their child before Poppy stepped into their lives and brought them joy and comfort. But now a recent ban on imports by the U.S. Centers for Dog Control and Prevention from more than 100 countries where rabies is a problem means dogs like Poppy can no longer be imported from China.

“Our rescuer was able to pick up Poppy before she was shot,” said Stephanie Kenney, unit manager at Adopt A Golden Atlanta. Poppy was then thoroughly examined, vaccinated, and neutered by vets. After she was medically cleared, she flew from Beijing to start her new life in the United States

Claire Mracek lost her three-year-old daughter to a rare form of childhood cancer earlier this year. “The depth of that loss for our family is beyond words, especially for our two-year-old son who lost his best friend. His grief was absolutely heartbreaking,” said Mracek.

A friend recommended her son a dog for emotional support, and that’s where Poppy came in.

“We met (in Atlanta) and she immediately bonded with our son as she is loving, playful, and loves to play ball outside. We adopted her shortly thereafter and she’s already been such a blessing to our family. She has Bringing joy and unconditional love to us in our darkest days, “added Mracek.

Lauren Genkinger, the president and founder of Adopt A Golden Atlanta, said in a statement that the organization was relieved to be able to rescue these golden retrievers. “We always believed that it doesn’t matter where they come from – it just matters where they end up. We can’t wait to find a loving home for you. “


The CDC said the reasons behind the current ban are the importation of three rabies-infected dogs since 2015, some cases of fake rabies certificates and the response to the coronavirus pandemic that has been draining their resources. But this blanket decision concerns dog rescue missions that, among other things, try to rescue dogs from China.

According to Humane Society International, an estimated 30 million dogs are killed annually across Asia for their meat, of which around 10-20 million are in China alone.

“The alternative to rescuing literally tens of thousands of healthy dogs overseas is for them to continue to suffer brutal conditions overseas or become involved in the illegal dog meat trade rather than being given the opportunity to be a loved one in the family (in the US),” Peter said Fitzgerald, who serves on the board of directors of Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue and is responsible for overseeing international operations.

In Beijing, it is illegal to keep dogs over 13 inches tall, which means dogs like golden retrievers are banned and can be locked up and euthanized if caught by the authorities.

“When cute Golden Puppies grow into adult dogs, they are too big and left on the streets, where they can get sick and die or be stolen for the illegal meat trade,” added Fitzgerald.


Dog rescue organizations in the United States that bring dogs from China support the CDC’s mission to keep the country rabies-free. However, they appeal to the CDC to enable them to work together to find equally effective alternative solutions to the current import restrictions so that they can continue to save the lives of dogs.

“We would like the CDC to reopen dog imports from all designated high-risk countries for rabies to any importer who can properly document that the dogs are vaccinated against rabies with an antibody test from an approved laboratory and are immune to rabies,” said Fitzgerald. He added that the European Union and the United Kingdom are pursuing similar practices.

“With space in our kennels and adoptive parents willing to take in these dogs, it simply reflects the idea that compassion is not bound by geographic or national boundaries,” he added.

Gabrielle Petersen, Small Breed Director of Lucky Dog Rescue, said dogs of all sizes and breeds are used for meat, fur, and animal testing.

Petersen said there are many dogs waiting for their chance to come to the US for a chance at a better life. In addition to the loss of life in China, the cost of maintaining rescue buildings, dog food and grooming continues to rise without putting dogs up for adoption. “We will never abandon our dogs in China. We made a promise to them and we will never turn our backs on them,” she added.

The rescues say the dogs rescued from China were social and have grown very well into wonderful family pets in a short period of time.

The mission of China Rescue Dogs in North Carolina is to rescue dogs from the meat trade in China and provide them with loving homes in the US and Canada. They have rescued over 600 dogs in the past two years and have strict protocols to ensure they bring healthy dogs with them.

“We are their only hope. We are the voice of the voiceless. There are no animal rights in China, there is no hope for these dogs,” said Jill Stewart, president of China Rescue Dogs. She added that the rescue ensures that the dogs in China are properly vaccinated, well looked after when they come to the US, and meet all CDC requirements.