AVMA backing helps reignite push for stronger dog import standards

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Legislation that would help ensure dogs are in good health when imported into the United States has been introduced into Congress with support from the AVMA.

The Healthy Dog Importation Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this month and in the House of Representatives on Friday. The bill would strengthen importation standards to ensure that all dogs entering the country are healthy and not at risk to spread dangerous diseases. Among its provisions:

  • Every imported dog would need a certificate of inspection from a licensed veterinarian confirming it is in good health and not at risk of spreading diseases that could endanger animal and public health. The health certificate must certify that the dog has received all required vaccinations and demonstrated negative test results required by the United States Department of Agriculture.
  • Dogs entering the country for resale, transfer, or donation would have to be at least 6 months of age and accompanied by a USDA import permit.
  • The bill requires that necessary resources be allocated for federal agencies to responsibly screen the large number of dogs entering the United States each year. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 1 million dogs are imported into the U.S. every year. Currently, fewer than 1% of these dogs are inspected by any federal agency. In the past, diseases such as rabies, canine influenza, canine distemper, leptospirosis, screwworm, and canine melioidosis have been diagnosed in imported dogs, which are often distributed to homes and farms throughout the country.

The AVMA worked with congressional offices and other stakeholders to reintroduce the bipartisan legislation. Gaining momentum from the previous Congress, the bill was introduced by Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Annie Kuster (D-N.H.).

Help get the bill passed

You can help protect animal and human health by asking your senators and representative to back this important bill. Use this quick form to show your support for the Healthy Dog Importation Act.

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Gail A Nichols, DVM
February 28, 2023 Permalink

Dog Importation standards!

With the Southern Boarder being open to illegals who have diseases that have not been examined for by doctors why are we more worried about the importation of canines?

There are no "open borders",…

There are no "open borders", Dr Nichols, do not worry. You were provided with misinformation. Try crossing into Mexico and returning without your passport or ID, or arriving from Haiti or Cuba in a port. You will not even be granted political asylum if you qualify, and sent back while waiting.

Dr Nichols, there are NO …

Dr Nichols, there are NO "open borders" so do not worry! If you have been misinformed, just go out of the country, by air, boat or car and try to get back without a passport or ID. Not all the information published or aired now a days is correct, beware

clinton groover
February 28, 2023 Permalink

this bill should not be…

this bill should not be passed unless Canada is excluded pets should be allowed to come and go with a current rabies vaccination as has been the case for 50 plus years some people with pets travel back and forth across the border once a week wolves cayotes stray dogs cross at will lot of people cross border both ways to go to a veterinarian

It should not exist, this is…

It should not exist, this is an absurd bill, why exclude Canada? Why not exclude all other countries that require an OCVI with their vet and dept of ag prior to export?

Waste of taxpayer money

This is ABSURD and will diverge the already scarce veterinarian resources. Why just dogs? Not cats? birds, exotics, etc? If the animal has a dept of agriculture veterinarian export exam and certificate, there is no such need. If not then it should not have been exported. I am not worried about dogs but livestock and BIRDS.

The bill will just punish the law abiding consumer who travels often or the ethical breeder or show handler who import purebred, health tested dogs.

This bill is another political maneuver aiming at decreasing import/export relations with countries that the US can't place more sanctions and has nothing to do with protecting the country. It seems as absurd as the original "rabies country ban" which only banned import of dogs, not cats, from countries that DO NOT have endemic rabies (while excluding many that do) just for political jabbing....

The funding should be instead used nationally to prevent the rampant overbreeding of mixed "designer" breeds, by backyard breeders, sold nationally illegally without an OCVI even in states that require one, often sick, without any prior health testing, who often cross state borders and even fly without OCVI, and nothing happens. The eager new puppy consumer has been paying large sums (often over US $10k) for these illegal, mixed, inbred, and often sick puppies and there is no public campain or bill to avoid this scamming. Also should be used to legalize the commerce of "rescue" puppies who are very profitable to many "not for profit" entities.

Ethically purebred, health tested and veterinary approved dogs would not have to face any more barriers as there is a high demand by the consumers who have been turning to the designer breed market instead

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