Washington, D.C. – Late last night, the U.S House Committee on Rules advanced an amendment led by Reps. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon, designed to fund better inspections and streamline operations fulfilling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declaration in the federal register that more resources must be provided for FY22 to lift a ban on canine imports from 113 countries. The measure is amendment number 39 to H.R. 4502, the federal spending bill that will fund the CDC for 2022, being voted on later today.
The bipartisan measure, cosponsored by Reps. Maria Salazar, R-Fla., Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., Bill Posey, R-Fla., Dina Titus, D-Nev., Fred Upton, R-MI, Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., Lance Gooden, R-Texas, Ron Estes, R-Kansas, and Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y. would provide $3 million in funding to better streamline inspections and processing of canines seeking entering the U.S.
“Animal Wellness Action is grateful to members of Congress who responded to our request to assist the CDC during these unprecedented times,” said Jennifer Skiff, director of international programs at Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy. “We must act aggressively and urgently on zoonotic diseases. This amendment is an important action that supports global health for people and animals.”
The amendment, recognizing the value of good rabies prevention work, provides capacity for CDC to work with other federal partners for a proper screening program to keep dogs safe on the domestic front while not impeding vital animal rescue work abroad.
“We applaud Reps. Rice, Fitzpatrick, and Schrader for championing this effort and the Members of Congress who joined in cosponsoring – there are countless rescue dogs in limbo all around the globe as a result of the CDC’s new policy.” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action. “Our American heroes should not be separated from their pets, especially in post-combat situations where their dutiful service has kept Americans safe from harm. This amendment will provide much-needed funding to properly streamline canine imports into the U.S.”
U.S. Diplomats working abroad who did not return before the July 14th suspension deadline are being forced to consider leaving their pets behind in foreign countries if the CDC does not grant them exemptions.
“U.S. service members frequently adopt dogs they befriend while deployed abroad; SPCA International has helped to safely bring more than 600 such dogs into the United States to live with their service member,” said Lori Kalef, Director of Programs, SPCA International. “These rescue dogs can be a lifeline, bringing service members joy and respite during long deployments. We support the modernization of the dog importation process to ensure the health and safety of all dogs in the U.S., and we thank Representative Rice for her leadership on this issue. We urge Congress to work with the CDC and adopt this amendment swiftly.”
“We’ve been working with Representative Rice on this issue and applaud her efforts in taking the lead on the Amendment,” Jeffrey Beri, Founder, No Dogs Left Behind. “No Dogs Left Behind fights on the front lines every day in East Asia, rescuing dogs from terrible situations. The CDC’s dog import suspension is a catastrophic blow to rescues who have made it their mission to help animals globally.”
“The announcement of a bipartisan amendment to end the CDC ban on animal imports will allow us to get back to work saving lives internationally as well as uniting service men and women with the dogs they’ve rescued while deployed,” said Zach Skow, founder and director of communication at Marley’s Mutts.