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Letter to the Hon. Robert Redfield, Dir. of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Kathleen Rice, Long Island Delegation Demand Immediate CDC Intervention to Prevent Death of Veteran's Service Dog


Dear Director Redfield,

We write to you today regarding a dog brought to this country from Jordan by Paws of War, an organization that matches rescue dogs with American veterans experiencing the emotional effects of war. On August 24th, a young dog named Harley arrived at JFK International Airport from Amman, Jordan. CDC authorities at JFK denied Harley entry, citing possible exposure to rabies and invalid vaccination paperwork at the time of arrival.

On August 25th, Paws of War submitted an appeal, including a corrected document from the administering veterinarian. Harley, a one-year-old puppy, did indeed receive a thorough examination and all required vaccines from Dr. Irina Dymova, a veterinarian in Jordan. Due to a small clerical error, the veterinarian's name, address, and contact information was omitted from the initial vaccination history, which, according to prior CDC correspondence, called into question the legitimacy of the document. Paws of War included this information with their appeal, but CDC denied the appeal on the grounds that any paperwork that did not arrive with Harley at JFK was invalid.

The veteran who adopted Harley met her during a combat tour in the Middle East. Harley was the joy of the military base and quickly formed a strong bond with this young solider. Now, the solider and his wife wait anxiously as they try to secure Harley's return home. If Harley is sent back to Jordan, she will almost certainly will be euthanized. Paws of War is happy to provide any clarifying documentation that the CDC deems necessary. Additionally, they are willing to organize for a veterinarian to administer an additional rabies vaccine in airport quarantine, just to be safe. As Harley was designated to be a companion to an American veteran and given her likely death without your intervention, we ask that you strongly consider making an exception for Harley so that she may continue on to her new home.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.