Flying With Your Pet? It Just Got a Lot More Difficult.

Vivian Harvey, 81, goes to Guatemala every winter, where she spends five months tutoring children. And for 11 years, she has brought her dachshund, Sadie, along for the trip.

But this year, because of a new ruling from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sadie can’t come. A ban on the import of dogs into the United States from 113 countries has forced Ms. Harvey, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, to rework her plans. The ban applies to foreign dogs as well as those traveling with American owners and re-entering the country after a trip abroad.

As a result, Ms. Harvey is now heading to Guatemala for only a quick two-week trip, while Sadie stays behind with a sitter.

The ban, which went into full effect Oct. 14, is intended to prevent animals at high risk of rabies from entering the country. It comes, the federal agency says, after the pandemic surge in dog adoptions led to a spike in falsified health documents from international pet importers.

The C.D.C.’s ruling has arrived at a time when pet owners are already navigating new restrictions on pet travel in the airplane cabin, reduced options for shipping pets as cargo, and cascades of flight cancellations and scheduling shifts. If the pandemic, with its vaccine mandates and testing requirements, has made air travel difficult for humans, it’s made it infinitely tougher for our furry friends.

The C.D.C. says it has intervened in more than 450 dog importations with falsified or incomplete rabies vaccination certificates in 2020, and it has begun issuing a small number of permits to dogs coming to the United States from high-risk countries, like Guatemala, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, among other places. But requirements are steep: The permits demand microchipping, a valid rabies vaccination certificate and blood work from an approved serology laboratory.

Dogs must also be at least six months old, and rabies serologic titers must be drawn at least 30 days after rabies vaccination and 90 days before entry into the United States. And after Jan. 7, the C.D.C. will also reduce the number of ports where dogs from countries on the C.D.C.’s list can enter the United States, to three from 18: John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Before the C.D.C.’s ban, the United States “was probably the most lax country to send a pet into,” said Mandy O’Connell, regional director for North America for the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association.

But Lori Kalef, the director of programs for SPCA International, said that the ban, no matter how well-intentioned, may actually exacerbate the global incidence of rabies in dogs. Many places that could once find homes in the United States for abandoned dogs are now finding that their own resources for neutering and vaccination are overstretched.

Operation Baghdad Pups, an SPCA International Program that helps U.S. service members reunite with animals they adopt on deployment, currently has close to 30 military personnel waiting to reconnect with a pet.

Sgt. John Weldon is one of them. While on deployment in Syria earlier this year, the infantryman was given an abandoned week-old puppy. He named the pup Sully, went online to learn how to make puppy formula and nursed him to health. In July, when the C.D.C. announced the ban and Sergeant Weldon, who is now based at California’s Camp Pendleton, realized he wouldn’t be able to bring Sully home, he put the dog on a convoy headed for Iraq. Three months later, the dog is still there.

“The entire time I was in Syria with him, he never left my side,” Sergeant Weldon said. “I just want to get him home.”

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Vivian Harvey, 81, goes to Guatemala every winter, where she spends five months tutoring children. And for 11 years, she has brought her dachshund, Sadie, along for the trip. But this year, because of a new ruling from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sadie can’t come. A ban on the import of dogs…

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