Canadian animal protection organisations filed a regulatory complaint with the Complaints and Appeals Office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) over its decision to ban the import of rescued dogs from over 100 countries. However, the ban went into effect on 28th September 2022. The government has said the ban is necessary to prevent the spread of rabies. The CFIA said dog rabies kills 59,000 people every year in countries affected by the ban, including Afghanistan, the Philippines, Ukraine, and mainland China. Canine rabies has become a growing concern in Canada since the U.S. implemented a similar ban last year, which may have led to some rescue groups sending more dogs to Canada.
Soi Dog Canada, Rescue Dogs Advocacy Coalition (RDAC), and their international partners rescue countless dogs each year from neglect and abuse and bring them to Canada to find forever homes. But this ban has ended dog rescue from countries like Ukraine and Afghanistan that are embroiled in conflict.
Lindy Lystar, Baladi Dog Rescue of Ontario co-founder, said to CBC, “It’s very disheartening…We have some very close friends in Egypt that are out there on the street every day and they see the horrors that these dogs have to go through.” Sam McElroy, from Soi Dog Foundation, said to Dailyhive, “a similar albeit temporary ban was introduced in the United States in July 2021, but has now been revised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to accommodate the same titer testing method as implemented successfully in other first-world countries. Talking about puppy farms in Canada, he said, “We know how unsanitary, inhumane, and unsafe many of these puppy farms are…This would be far worse than healthy, pre-screened dogs being imported to Canada.” Animal Justice has an official Parliamentary e-petition calling on the government to work with affected dog rescues and animal advocates to ensure government policy on dog importations keeps Canadians safe, without increasing the number of animals in shelters or on the streets globally.