Monday, January 12, 2015

Two sets of rules

Coming back from the holidays we came across an article entitled: With Rescue Dogs In Demand, More Shelters Look Far Afield For Fido.  The article discusses the growth of importation and transportation of dogs around the US and also being brought into the country from other nations.  The concept of bringing dogs to places where there is a demand and easing the pressure on areas where there is an over population is a good one, but one fraught with challenges.  The main concern with this practice is spread of disease.  For example moving an animal from a region where rabies is endemic to a rabies free area has the potential of introducing the disease into the local population. 

If we take a look at Canada, Canadian Kennel Club registered breeders who sell their dogs to families in the US must meet stringent health protocols including vaccination and overall health check for each and every animal entering the US.  Conversely, since 1995 dogs from registered breeders entering Canada from the US must also have the required paperwork and pups are checked before crossing the border. 

Rescue groups who transport dogs into Canada from the States or other countries are not subject to the same stringent protocols.  In other words, potentially, a plane transporting dogs from Louisiana or Mexico can enter Canada, be picked up by the rescue organization and leave the airport without ever having the animals examined.  The concern is diseases such as rabies, leptospirosis, heartworm and ringworm to name a few.  If dogs infected with any of these diseases are brought into community spaces such as a dog park, it puts other canines and in some cases the people taking care of them at risk.  We applaud organizations who, despite not being required to do so, follow all health protocols to make sure the animals they transport are healthy, unfortunately this is not always the case.

The Government of Canada does have requirements in place but does not enforce them when it comes to rescues and shelters.  PIJAC Canada has always supported and lobbied for all sources of pets to be governed by the same set of rules whether retail store, shelter, breeder or rescue as this puts the health of the animals and pet families at the forefront.  We encourage pet businesses and organizations to work together in an effort to improve the wellbeing of pets, remembering the best place to start is with research.  As many have done before, building trust through collaboration is a key to effecting positive change.

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