By Sheila Goffe, Director of Government Relations, AKC; with Patti Strand, President, NAIA
The American Kennel Club welcomes new regulations released this week by the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) that address public health concerns about the large numbers of puppies that are imported into the United States with little oversight each year for the purpose of resale or adoption.
The regulations specifically restrict the importation of puppies younger than 6 months of age into the continental United States for the purpose of resale, research or veterinary treatment. The new regulations do not restrict individuals who wish to import a dog they intend to keep for themselves. Puppies that will be trained as service animals and certain other types of working dogs are also exempt.
The new regulations implement federal importation requirements long advocated by AKC and the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) that were established in federal law as part of the 2008 Farm Bill. They represent years of work by animal experts concerned about the harmful impacts of importing and placing potentially sick or dangerous dogs in pet homes in the United States.
“We are very pleased about these new regulations,” said AKC CEO Dennis Sprung. “This is the culmination of years of effort by animal welfare groups such as the AKC and the National Animal Interest Alliance to protect the health of canine populations in the United States while supporting our excellent American breeders.”
The AKC supports strong enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act and shares concerns with other animal experts about the large number of puppies that are being shipped into the United States, bypassing the federal welfare regulations and standards required of U.S. breeders. In many cases, these animals come from unknown origins (strays or street dogs) or unregulated high volume commercial breeders and may pose health and temperament risks to potential owners. On a larger scale, diseases borne by such animals create public health risks for both animal and human populations.
“Without these new regulations, the US would become the dumping ground for the world’s stray dogs. In 2006, the CDC estimated that 297,000 were imported into the US, about 199,000 of them smuggled across the Mexican border. Until the finalization of this regulation, and the tightening of confinement agreements there was little in place to stop dogs from entering,” said Patti Strand, global pet trafficking expert and president of NAIA.
Click here to learn more about the new regulations.