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.
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.
Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at
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