Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
The American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges and several state VMAs are among dozens of organizations voicing support for the Healthy Dog Importation Act.
“Strengthening our animal health infrastructure by improving the country’s dog importation standards is essential to maintaining public health,” said AVMA President Lori Teller, DVM, DABVP.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 1 million dogs are imported into the United States annually, with more than 90% entering with minimum oversight.
The legislation, which has bipartisan support, was reintroduced by Sens. Tina Smith of Minnesota and Chuck Grassley of Iowa and representatives Dusty Johnson of South Dakota and Annie Kuster of New Hampshire.
“Human and animal health are inextricably linked,” Sen. Smith said. “Mitigating the spread of foreign diseases in dogs helps keep domestic and wild animals healthy and can also help prevent illnesses and disease outbreaks in people.”
In a letter to Sens. Grassley and Smith, supporters said, “In the absence of proper health requirements, imported dogs have been responsible for the introduction and transmission of diseases and pests into the U.S., including rabies, canine influenza, leptospirosis, melioidosis, onchocercosis and screwworm. There is also growing concern that imported dogs will transfer a foreign animal disease that will devastate the U.S. livestock industry.”
The Healthy Dog Importation Act imposes requirements on the importation of live dogs entering the country. Specific conditions include:
- A USDA-accredited veterinarian must determine that the dog is in good health.
- The dog must receive all necessary vaccinations and be certified by a licensed veterinarian that it tested negative.
- The dog must be officially identified by a permanent, USDA-approved method.
“We have seen several disease outbreaks in animals and humans in the past few years,” Rep. Johnson said. “The Healthy Dog Importation Act would slow and prevent the outbreaks of some of these diseases. We want people in good health when they enter America. It should be the same for dogs.”