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Tsunami rescue dogs delayed by red tape

Dozens of search and rescue dogs from around the world are arriving in Japan to help find survivors of the tsunami — but some of the teams have been delayed from getting to the quake zone by the country’s stringent customs regulations on importing animals.

“There are many rules here. So it’s taking a long time,” a member of the Swiss team told ABC News.com in the customs area of Narita International Airport, just after an aftershock rolled through the airport.

The 25-member Swiss team, among the first to arrive, said bureaucratic delays kept them and their nine search and rescue dogs — retrievers, Australian collies and border collies — from arriving at the quake zone quickly.

U.S. officials said they are working with the Japanese to expedite approval of dog teams from Virginia and California who arrived in Japan today. About 150 American rescuers and their 12 dogs were sent from Los Angeles and Fairfax County, Virginia.

(That’s one of the Fairfax team’s  canine members above, just prior to departing yesterday.)

As of Monday, 91 countries and nine international organizations have offered to assist with relief efforts from last Friday’s earthquake and tsunami, according to the Japanese government.

(Photo: Courtesy of Fairfax County)

Comments

Comment from Peggy @Peggy’s Pet Place
Time March 14, 2011 at 10:37 am

I hope those dogs get in there to help soon. They are such an asset to the search teams.

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