Costa Rican Stray Dogs are Hard to Resist at Times.
Many visitors are heart broken by the sight of stray dogs and cats when visiting Costa Rica. Although not categorized as a third world country anymore, attitudes towards pets vary greatly here, and there are still far too many abandoned and maltreated animals thrown into the streets and/or abused. So it is not unusual to hear stories of people, coming here on vacation that fall in love with a street dog or cat; what happens next? What are the procedures?
If you are going back to the States, or Canada, it is actually very easy. The dog, or cat, will need to receive all the required vaccinations, including rabies. Any vet will know what to do, and they will then provide you with a certificate that you will need to present at the airport, prior to your trip. Upon arrival on U.S. or Canadian soil, domestic dogs or cats must be free of evidence of diseases that can be contracted by humans. If the animal is not in apparent good health, further examination by a licensed veterinarian may be required at the owner’s expense.
The animals must be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before entering the United States. This requirement does not apply, however, to puppies less than three months old. The certificate issued by the licensed veterinary should be in English of course, or at least in Spanish with an English translation, however this translation would need to be certified, so it makes sense to find a vet who can do it in English. It should identify the animal, with the dates of vaccination and expiration. If no expiration date is specified, the certificate is only acceptable if the date of vaccination is no more than 12 months before the date of arrival, so make sure you have this right!
If you did not have the time to vaccinate the animal, or if the certificate is not valid for any reason, the animal may be quarantined immediately upon arrival at a place that you will be able to choose. The animal must be vaccinated within four days after arrival at your final destination, but no more than 10 days afterwards. The animal will have to remain in quarantine for at least 30 days after being vaccinated.
If the vaccination was performed less than 30 days before arrival, the animal may be admitted but must be confined in a place of your choice for a minimum of 30 days. Young puppies must be confined at a place of the owner’s choosing until they are three months old, then they must be vaccinated. They must remain in confinement for 30 days following the vaccination.
Basically, find a good licensed vet, get the paper work done and everything should be OK. For those who are going back to Europe, things get a lot trickier, and a quarantine that can last up to six months will be required. It may be necessary to think twice, as many dogs do not survive the quarantine, which is also exceedingly costly. Maybe, trying to get the dog adopted in Costa Rica would be a better way to help! Cats seem to do better in quarantine, but this depends really on their present health, and, state of mind!
|Written by Mireille|
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Filed under: Travel on May 26th, 2008