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Issuance and Enforcement Guidance for Dog Confinement Agreements

Globally, canine rabies viruses are responsible for the vast majority of the estimated 55,000 human rabies deaths worldwide each year. These rabies viruses remain a serious public health threat in many countries where rabies surveillance and vaccination programs are not strong.

To protect public health within the United States, all people who bring dogs to the United States must make sure that their dogs are adequately vaccinated against rabies before arrival. Importers who are unable to provide a valid rabies vaccination certificate upon arrival in the United States should contact CDC at as soon as possible in advance of the dogs’ planned arrival. Confinement agreements may be approved on a limited and case-by-case basis. Dogs that are not adequately vaccinated might be denied entry to the United States and returned to the country of origin at their owners’ expense.

Since 1956, federal quarantine regulations, under 42 CFR 71.51, have controlled the entry of dogs into the United States because of the risk for importing rabies and other diseases that can infect people. Today, preventing the entry of dogs infected with canine rabies or other diseases that can infect people in the United States continues to be a public health priority. This guidance describes the factors that HHS/CDC will consider in deciding whether to approve a dog confinement agreement or deny entry of a dog being imported into the United States that has not been adequately vaccinated against rabies. This guidance becomes effective on August 11, 2014 (30 days after publication).

Please see the docket details for more information or view as a PDF file [PDF – 4 pages]. The Issuance and Enforcement Guidance for Dog Confinement Agreements is effective beginning August 11, 2014.

For questions about this notice or CDC’s dog importation regulations, contact CDC’s Importation and Animal Contact Team at