Source: United States Department of Homeland Security via

Almost every day on American TV, one sees reports about the southern border crisis.

It is easily one of the biggest issues in the presidential race this year.

According to reports, 3.2-million migrants arrived at the border illegally last year, many of whom are released into the country because the system can’t keep up with the volume of asylum claims.

Border towns in Texas have had a tough time subsidizing the shelter and care required for these migrants.

In recent days NYC mayor Eric Adams, also dealing with a huge influx of migrants, suggested in the media that some of them would make good lifeguards this summer because they are “excellent swimmers.”

That didn’t go over well.

Reports have also documented the kinds of diseases migrants have brought into the U.S., including measles, chicken pox, polio and leprosy.

But never mind that.

In the midst of this crisis, it seems the powers that be in the United States can find time to manage pets coming into the U.S., in particular those who accompany Canadian snowbirds.

Legal pets, I should clarify.

This week I received an email from the Canadian Snowbird Association advising me that effective August of this year, all dogs entering the U.S. must have a permit to enter, something akin to a doggy passport.

The information provided from the CDC indicates that the purpose of this new policy is to prevent rabies from reentering the U.S. The CDC says dog rabies was eliminated in the U.S. in 2007 but there have been “challenges” with international dog importations.

But instead of finding a solution for those challenges, the CDC has decided to inflict its laborious rules on every dog owner — a recipe for complete bureaucratic chaos.

Up to now, when we bring Fritzy, Monty and Frida across the border en route to Florida — and when we return — we are asked to show border officials their up-to-date rabies certificates.

Honestly, what responsible pet owner wouldn’t vaccinate their dogs?

When we took Frida down to Florida at three months in the winter of 2023, she had not yet been vaccinated as she was too young. We were not permitted to vaccinate her until she was six months old.

But according to the new rules, a new puppy would not be able to enter the U.S. until six months, the earliest rabies vaccination date.

They will also be required to appear healthy to border officials — although I’m not sure how an untrained eye could tell if they’re carrying a contagious disease.

Besides, I’m willing to bet most responsible pet owners would not be traveling with a sick pet. I know we wouldn’t.

As an owner, I will need to fill out an import permit form for each dog. Without it we won’t be able to bring Fritzy, Monty and Frida back into the U.S.

The intrusive dog import permit application doesn’t just ask owners for proof that the dogs have been vaccinated and microchipped, or their name, breed, age and sex.

But we will be required to provide photos of each dog — because they might be impersonating a cat or iguana after all. 

In addition, we are asked to include pictures of the dog’s teeth — for whatever reason I don’t know.

The form — which asks more questions about our dogs than of us when we book our own flights — will make us provide our passport number and a copy of the photo page of our passports, the address where the dogs will end up in the U.S., and what date they intend to join us on our road trip to the U.S.

I hate to think what would happen if that date got changed at the last minute.

I have read through the materials several times and can only say that the forms and the questions asked about our four-legged friends are pretty ridiculous considering that U.S. border officials can’t manage the influx of illegals on two legs or figure out where many are once they arrive in the U.S.

To repeat, they appear to be punishing lawful and responsible dog owners for the transgressions of a few.

But governments of all stripes — both in the U.S. and Canada — are adept at crafting a solution in search of a problem.


  • Sue-Ann Levy

    A two-time investigative reporting award winner and nine-time winner of the Toronto Sun’s Readers Choice award for news writer, Sue-Ann Levy made her name for advocating the poor, the homeless, the elderly in long-term care and others without a voice and for fighting against the striking rise in anti-Semitism and the BDS movement across Canada.