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USDA Proposes to Strengthen Health Requirements for Imported Dogs

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Contact:
David Sacks   (301) 734-5271
Lyndsay Cole (970) 494-7410

USDA Proposes to Strengthen Health Requirements for Imported Dogs

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2011--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing to prohibit, with certain exceptions, the importation of dogs into the continental United States for purposes of resale, research and veterinary treatment, unless they are in good health, have received all necessary vaccinations and are at least six months old.

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 added a new section to the Animal Welfare Act to restrict the importation of certain live dogs from any part of the world, and APHIS is seeking to implement that amendment with this proposal.  Under the proposal, individuals who fail to comply with these provisions are subject to fines, and must, at their own expense, provide for the care, forfeiture and adoption of each applicable dog.

The proposal requires that live dogs imported into the continental United States or Hawaii for purposes of resale, research or veterinary treatment be accompanied by two certificates:  An original health certificate and a valid rabies vaccination certificate.  These certificates must bear the signature and the license number of the veterinarian issuing the certificate.  Also, these dogs must come with an APHIS-issued import permit.

In the health certificate, the veterinarian must specify the name and address of the person intending to import the dogs, identify each dog by breed, sex, age, color and markings, and certify that:  1) the dog is at least six months old; 2) the dog was vaccinated, not more than 12 months before arriving at the U.S. port, for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and parainfluenza virus; and 3) the dog is in good health--free of any infectious disease or physical abnormality that would endanger the dog or other animals or endanger public health, including parasitic infection, emaciation, lesions of the skin, nervous system disturbances, jaundice or diarrhea.
           
In the rabies vaccination certificate, the veterinarian must specify the name and address of the person intending to import the dogs, identify each dog by breed, sex, age, color and markings, and certify that:  1) the date of the rabies vaccination is at least 30 days before the date of arrival of the dog at a U.S. port; and 2) the expiration date of the rabies vaccination is after the dog arrives at a U.S. port.  If no date of expiration is specified, then the date of vaccination shall be no more than 12 months before the date of arrival at a U.S. port.

Limited exceptions will be made for both the health certificate and the rabies vaccination certificate requirement for dogs that are coming into the country for veterinary treatment or for research purposes.

An exception will also be made to the six-month age requirement for dogs that are lawfully imported into Hawaii from the British Isles, Australia, Guam or New Zealand, provided the dogs are not transported out of Hawaii for purposes of resale at less than six months of age. This is because Hawaii is the only state in the United States that is rabies-free, and all of the above listed areas are rabies-free countries.

Dog importers subject to the new provisions contained in APHIS’ proposal must still abide by all other applicable regulations or statutory requirements.  These importers must also adhere to the appropriate state statutes and regulations, including any applicable health, quarantine, agricultural or customs laws.

This action is published in today’s Sept. 1 Federal Register.
             
Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Oct. 31. You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal:  Go to www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0053.
  • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2009-0053,  Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at
www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail; D=APHIS-2009-0053 or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC.  Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.  To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.  To file a complaint of discrimination, write:
 USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC  20250-9410 or call
 (800) 795-3272 or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).



 

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