U.S. ban on imported pets may block rescue group from reuniting soldiers with dogs

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — Outside the McDonald’s in West Memphis, Arkansas, a dog named Julie is entering the next leg of her long journey from Afghanistan with Pen Farthing.

“Julie dog was actually rescued by a soldier seven years ago,” Farthing said.

The former British Royal Marine runs an animal rescue group out of Afghanistan called Nowzad. It’s named after the dog that he rescued from a fight in 2006 while on patrol. The two became best friends.

“I didn’t realize that dog would actually bond with me while I was serving in Afghanistan,” Farthing said. “He was just that. An escape. I thought I was the only soldier doing that. What I didn’t realize there were so many others from America, Canada and across Europe.”

But a new ban on importing pets by the Centers for Disease Control could keep soldiers from being reunited with the dogs they bonded

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