Reasonable people might have differing views on the effectiveness of protectionist policies when it comes to protecting the country’s economic health; no one should differ when it comes to installing protectionist policies to protect the health of the country’s dogs!
Currently there is no unified policy ensuring the health of dogs imported into the United States. In case you don’t think this is a big deal, according to a 2019 USDA report, an estimated 1.06 million dogs are imported into the United States each year. The ONLY requirement for these dogs is that the dog “appears” healthy and, depending on where the dog is coming, have a valid rabies certificate. While states can add requirements for dogs imported into their state, none have done so.
For those of you long time readers of our blog (thanks mom!) you’ll know that this is our third blog (one from 2019 and one from 2017) calling for increased regulation and care when it comes to imported dogs. Well, don’t let people say that the folks in Washington don’t listen, because on May 19th, 3 Representatives (representing both parties) introduced the Healthy Dogs Importation Act (HR 6921).
HR 6921 requires:
- every dog entering the country to be permanently identified, in good health, and accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection
- a health certificate certifying that the dog has received all required vaccinations and demonstrated negative test results required by the USDA
- dogs entering the country for resale, transfer, or donation be at least 6 months old and accompanied by a USDA import permit.
Dogs being used for research purposes or needing veterinary treatment are excluded from these requirements. Lastly, the bill would streamline federal oversight, ensuring documentation and import permits are shared electronically among the USDA, the CDC, and Customs and Border Protection, and clarify USDA’s key enforcement authority.
Like all bills and laws, HR 6921 is not perfect. It is not a complete answer to dog protection (some of the language is pretty vague) but it’s a great first step. HR 6921 has a wide range of public support including the American Veterinary Association and the American Kennel Club. Please take a quick moment and drop your Representative an email asking that they support HR 6921 and dog health.
Thanks for reading and for supporting dog health.