P. 638

An Urban Experience
Risk of animal disease transmission
A major counterargument against international adoptions is the potential for disease spread and transmission. If animals are shipped, careful management is required to minimize the risk of disease.
This risk is magni ed when animals of unknown disease status are co-mingled or group-housed prior to or during transport. In August 2010, 221 rescued dogs ranging in age from 4 weeks to > 1 year arrived by cargo plane from Puerto Rico to Orlando, Florida. The dogs were destined for transport to New York for a national adoption event following a 4-day layover in Florida. Unfortunately, several of the imported dogs were incubating parvovirus and distemper virus which led to the Florida State Veterinarian declaring an of cial quarantine due to diseased dogs, the  rst state-mandated quarantine for dogs.
limited resources at ports of entry to inspect dog shipments. In May 2014, the US CDC issued the health alert noti cation “Imported Dogs with Questionable Documents” due to ongoing concerns with dogs’ entry documents listing incorrect ages and rabies vaccination status.
Similarly, falsi ed documents have been reported in relation to the sale of puppies from intensive breeding operations to supply the demand for certain pure breed dogs. While the US requires that animals form rabies- endemic countries not be imported until one month after they receive their rabies vaccination (3 months of age), puppies younger than 3 months can sell for a higher price. As a result, importers may falsify documents to make the dogs’ age older than what they really are. There are also reports of falsifying breed registration and birth location.
Rabies titer tests can also be falsi ed. Serum can be banked for animals already known to have adequate antibody titers and submitted in the place of another dog who may have failed the titer test previously.
The risks and bene ts of transport programs both in the area of export and import must be carefully considered. As a general rule, international transport programs should be a last resort after all efforts for local adoption, transfer, and welfare promotion in the local community have been exhausted.
1. Hsu Y., Severinghaus L, Serpell J. Dog keeping in Taiwan: Its contribution to the problem of free-roaming dogs. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. 2003; 6(1): 1–23.
2. Min-hee J. Pet transport by air doubled in six years [Internet]. Business Korea. 2017 [cited 3 May 2017]. Available from news/insight/17848-travel-pet-pet-transport-air-doubled-six-years.
3. Wallace R, Gilbert A, Slate D, Chipman R, Singh A, Cassie Wedd et al.
Right place, wrong species: A 20-year review of rabies virus cross species transmission among terrestrial mammals in the United States. PLoS ONE. 2014; 9(10);e107539.
4. Sinclair J, Wallace R, Gruszynski K, Freeman M, Campbell C, Semple S et al. Rabies in a dog imported from Egypt with a falsi ed rabies vaccination certi cate — Virginia, 2015. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2015;64(49):1359-1362.
Public health concerns
The most signi cant zoonotic risk is the importation of a dog or cat incubating rabies. Rabies, the deadliest of all zoonotic diseases accounts for over 50,000 human deaths around the world annually. The introduction
of any non-endemic rabies viruses into a naïve
animal population has the potential to change the epizootiology of rabies in-country leading to severe health consequences and economic losses (3).
In June of 2015, a free roaming dog and her puppy were captured in Cairo, Egypt. Her vaccination certi cates were forged to avoid exclusion of the dog from entry under the US CDC’s current dog importation regulations, and she was transported to the U.S. by an animal rescue organization in a shipment that included seven other dogs and 27 cats (4). Following her arrival and placement in a foster home in Virginia, the rescue dog developed signs and symptoms classic of rabies. The dog was quickly euthanized and trace-back steps were implemented to assess exposure and risk.
Responsibilities of those involved
It is critical that those involved in transport are familiar with the import and export requirements for all relevant countries as well as airline requirements to ensure safe and responsible transport. To learn about quarantine policies, documentation and other requirements, organizations must check with the appropriate agency (typically the Department of Agriculture) in their country. It is particularly important that all health conditions of the animal are properly documented.
Falsi cation of documents
The US CDC and state agencies have received reports of invalid or questionable health and rabies vaccination certi cates for imported dogs. Further complicating matters is the fact that importation regulations may
be dif cult to enforce in certain countries due to

   636   637   638   639   640