WACO, Texas – Temple dog trainer Isabella Carruth is living a nightmare, as she is stuck on the island of Roatan, Honduras with her service dog.
Two days after arriving she learned the CDC would be banning dogs from returning to the U.S. because of the country’s high risk for rabies. Now she is wondering when she and her service dog will return home.
“I didn’t tell my family bye,” Carruth said. “I was expecting that [it] was supposed to be a quick trip, a vacation, and go home and continue what I do!”
Carruth was full of emotions while talking about her trip with her service dog. She went to transport another dog she was training for a family, not expecting her world to be turned upside down in the process.
Carruth says things went downhill when she received an email two days after she arrived, saying “pets and service dogs” were banned from entering the U.S.
“I was a little anxious, but I was like, ‘I don’t think this really pertains to us because we were approved,'” Carruth said. “I had everything. All the veterinarian documentation. And I submitted both forms to travel.”
Carruth says she filled out the Department of Transportation form and the United Airlines form – but with the CDC’S new temporary rule, even with up-to-date vaccines – a Dog Import Permit would be required, which she didn’t have.
“I received a second email stating that they had been trying to contact me in regards to my flight, and that’s when the panic came in. I can’t make calls, and it’s a 1-800 number,” Carruth said.
She was having a hard time reaching United Airlines by phone, so she sent a message on Facebook – and they told her the dog was unable to return with her.
Carruth began to explore other options, and says she could apply for a permit because of the timeframe her flight fell under.
“What they don’t tell you, or a lot of people don’t see, is that the acceptance can take up to six weeks or 30 business days,” Carruth said. “The ban was for a year, and it is currently still listed as a year. So if they deny the permit, Dante will be stuck here for a year.”
According to the CDC, the permit has to be filled out before traveling for the dog to return back to the U.S. – and Carruth says she is not leaving without Dante.
Carruth has disabilities such as autism, PTSD and POTS, and Dante is trained to help her with every day tasks – such as retrieving medication and helping with her clothes.
“Just because we are stuck here does not mean we can’t make the best of it, but my main concern is running out of my medication, and Dante’s low on his food,” Carruth said.
Carruth shared her story in a Facebook post hoping the community can help her get some answers to the many questions she has.
“I am not asking for a freebie,” Carruth said. “I am just asking for the chance for the CDC to review our permit, and just tell me if I am going to be here for six weeks or a year. That’s all, and the waiting is killing me!”
FOX44 reached out to the CDC and United Airlines, and we were told they are looking into the issue.