On September 28th, the federal government’s ban on dogs coming from countries considered to be high in rabies will come into effect until further notice.
These “commercial dogs” are those that are considered to be “intended for purposes such as being given/transferred to another person, resale, adoption, fostering, breeding, show or exhibition and research.” according to the Canadian Government.
Some BC businesses and organizations who deal in taking these dogs off of the streets in their home countries, then finding them homes with grateful owners, will have to halt operations and may end up going out of business as a result.
Fur Bae is just one of those organizations that operates in and outside of BC. It’s a volunteer based, non-profit organization that brings dogs from Qatar to the west coast.
In Qatar’s capital, Doha, there are many dogs needing homes and Fur Bae’s co-founders, Laura Elliott and Jenni Baynham recognized the symbiotic relationship they could garner between Qatar and North America.
Qatar is a dangerous country to be a dog—many animals Fur Bae tries to assist have been victims of stoning, shootings and general abuse.
They began by just bringing dogs into Vancouver, but have since expanded to also have representation and adoptable pets in Victoria, Montreal and Seattle.
However, with the soon-to-be commercial dog ban, Fur Bae and many other international rescues will have to cease operation.
“What happens in Qatar is that the dogs are taken off the street into the shelter, for safety,” said Lizzie Parrot, Fur Bae Volunteer Co-ordinator for Vancouver Island.”
“The new ban is heartbreaking.”
“Rescues like us will take the dogs from the shelter and find homes for them, whether it’s foster homes to begin with and then adoption homes after that. So essentially, what is happening with the ban is that no dogs can be taken from the shelters. Which means those dogs will die or be killed.”
In BC and most of Canada, skunks, raccoons and bats are the leading causes of rabies. Organizations like Fur Bae were struck with confusion when the US banned commercial dogs for the same reason on June 10th.
Since that time they knew it was a possibility that Canada would impose a similar ban on commercial dogs.
“We just wish that international rescues could have been consulted on the responsible structure,” Parrot told Victoria Buzz. “We would’ve been, as a rescue, more than happy to work with the CDC on achieving this.”
Parrot said as an organization, Fur Bae wants to urge the CDC to work with the rescue community on the process instead of the current blanket ban on animals from the designated countries of which there are over 100.
International rescues like Fur Bae are worried that once the ban takes effect and they can no longer fill the need for ethically sourced dogs in safe homes, puppy mills will fill that void and won’t do so with any responsible practice or checks and balances.
“We’ve got veterinary care from start to finish. They’re fully vaccinated before they come in. Um, we’ve got behavioural trainers, we always offer complimentary, free training to help dogs settle in,” said Parrot.
“It’s a community.”
Fur Bae has safely found compassionate homes for over 340 dogs from Qatar and in the short time before the ban comes into effect on September 28th, they’re focussing on finding safe housing as many more as they can.
Currently, Fur Bae hasn’t had the difficult conversation as to what their next steps as an organization are. However, Parrot said they would ultimately, “help where they’re needed most.”