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Experts say new border rules for dogs will cause chaos, confusion, frustration

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If you ever have, or will, take a dog across the border into the United States, you’re going to want to bone up on some new rules taking effect this summer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced stricter stipulations will be in place for dog imports starting August 1 — all in the name of keeping rabies out of the country.

“What do I think's going to happen August 1? I think chaos and confusion,” said V. Victoria Shroff, KC, an animial law expert.

Currently, dogs require a rabies vaccine to enter, but under the new rules you’ll need to have proof of that inoculation signed by a veterinarian within 30 days of your crossing.

For Windsor-area residents who cross frequently, that means monthly trips to the vets for those forms.

Dogs must also be six months old and microchipped.

Even once you have gotten all that in order, it’s up to each individual border agent to determine whether or not the dog appears healthy and is allowed into the U.S.

“I'm not really sure that much subjectivity is warranted here,” she said.

Shroff said she doesn’t think the information around the changes is being communicated properly, and expects to hear from lots of folks being turned back when they take effect.

The changes apply to all dogs entering the U.S. — even service dogs and American dogs returning home.

Shroff said the adjustment to the new rules is going to be hard on veterinarians too.

“It just seems like a lot of extra paperwork for the vets who are already overstretched seeing, you know, doggy and kitty patients,” she said.

Veterinarian Clayton Greenway, who hosts Animal House on NewsTalk 1010, said the veterinarian community is buzzing about the changes.

He hoped dog owners would study up on the changes before coming to a veterinarian with their forms.

“There’s not a lot of information that gets out to vets,” he said. “We are in the same boat. We have to learn about it.”

He said most owners should be able to navigate any changes with the right research, but said he does expect some growing pains.

“I think it will result in some frustrated appointments,” Greenway said.

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