USDA - Imported Dogs - Proposal
  • USDA Proposes to Strengthen Health Requirements for Imported Dogs
    Areyarisu Shikoku Kenimage

    Kotomi | Maika | Zoey | Asra | Ranala

    Other Canine Members of The Airreyalis Crew: Zander (Alaskan Klee Kai) | Saphira (Belgian Groenendael) | Izanaiya, Sanosuke & Okiana (Yakutian Laika)
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    Well, that stinks. Here are just a few negatives that comes off the top of my head:

    -more shipping costs
    -harder to integrate into an existing dogpack
    -relying more on the breeder socializing the pup
    -harder to socialize to an individual home's particular set-up (ie. cats, livestock, etc.)
  • MirkaMMirkaM
    Posts: 1248
    And I thought we have strict importing laws :o. I really don't understand why the dog has to be six months old when imported... This really complicates breeding, especially rare breeds, there :(.
    Kai will lay down its life to protect its master.
    photo banneri_zpsc6e1d74e.jpg
    Kennel Gekkoo No:
  • That does suck, and you know, given how absolutely useless the USDA is with shutting down puppy mills, and in fact, is pretty much complicit in their business, I have to write them off entirely. They're not helping dogs and good dog breeders at all, but they certainly are allowing the bad (millers) to stay in business.

    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3977
    I don't see how it really affects importing a dog for breeding purposes. It says that "proposing to prohibit, with certain exceptions, the importation of dogs into the continental United States for purposes of resale, research and veterinary treatment". If you are keeping a dog to breed you are not reselling it, if the pup is healthy and going to a home (instead of a lab, zoo, vet, etc) then it's not considered research or vet treatment. I can see how this could be a gateway to other restrictions though.

    Seriously the USDA should try to put at least a little focus on the mills first and worry about the sick, poor quality dogs produced by breeders registered with them.
    Post edited by Calia at 2011-09-06 16:41:12
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    The definition of "resale" needs to be pinned down. A regulator on a bad day could construe the placement of Tora, Tyson, Chibi, and Ame into a second home as a resale.

    The same goes for fostering rescue dogs brought in from a foreign country.
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    Forward from NAIA (very long):

    Last week, we sent out an announcement of USDA APHIS’s proposed rule regarding the importation of certain dogs into the United States. This week, we want to provide some background to let you know why this issue is so important, and why your comments as hands-on experts are needed to assure the best outcome and prevent unintended consequences.

    Americans have imported dogs into the United States for over two centuries. Arriving as family members, working animals, or as part of a breeding program, dogs have always played their special role in America’s melting pot, and our laws have recognized this.

    But over the last decade, there has been a massive increase in the number of dogs imported into the United States for the purpose of resale, both for retail and adoption transfers. These dogs commonly arrive without health certificates, from parts of the world that are rife with diseases that pose risks to both dogs and humans.

    According to the United States Public Health Service, Chicago O’Hare was the destination airport for 10,125 dogs imported in 2006, over half of which were not vaccinated. That same year, a multi-agency sting operation revealed massive smuggling of dogs into the United States, leading scientists from the CDC to estimate that over 199,000 dogs – 38,100 unvaccinated – had come into the country through the Mexican border in 2006 alone!

    This unprecedented surge in foreign dogs can be broken down into several categories:

    •Dogs deliberately bred in Europe for the U.S. commercial pet trade, coming from countries where there are few – if any – regulations on dog breeding. Unlike the United States, where breed enthusiasts have worked for several decades to reduce genetic diseases, few of these dogs come from lines that are tested for health, and they often arrive with undisclosed communicable diseases and/or genetic defects.

    •“Roadside dealers,” trading in dogs that come mostly from Mexico. These dogs – some deliberately bred, others street dogs – are typically smuggled in, regularly unvaccinated, and end up sold through flea markets, out of the back of vans in parking lots, or become part of the rescue/shelter/pet trade business. Like their European counterparts, they often carry undisclosed diseases and health problems.

    •Puerto Rican street dogs: dogs that are flown in for the rescue/shelter pet trade between Puerto Rico and the continental U.S., with thousands of street dogs distributed to non-traditional shelters, rescue groups, and pet supply super stores each year.

    The idea that we’d have thousands of dogs pouring in from all over the world to be sold or adopted to American consumers was inconceivable just a decade ago. That is why U.S. laws have not regulated dogs as an internationally traded commodity like livestock; our laws regarding canine importation have always been geared toward privately owned dogs: US citizens who travel with their pets, working dogs brought over for training, or single dogs imported by individuals to become household pet or used as breeding stock.

    But things are starting to change. To keep up with the burgeoning global pet market, the Food, Conservation, and Energy act of 2008 (widely referred to as the 2008 Farm Bill), added a new section to the Animal Welfare Act restricting the importation of certain live dogs. APHIS has drafted proposed rules in order to implement this amendment, and they are asking for comments.

    Giving Dog Importation Regulations Some Teeth

    APHIS’s proposed rules are as simple and straightforward as they are necessary.

    First and most important, is the requirement of an import permit issued by APHIS for dogs entering the United States over the age of six months for purposes of resale, research, or veterinary treatment. This permit requires individuals importing dogs to identify themselves and their dog(s), list ports of departure and arrival, and the date of arrival into the United States. Dogs under the age of six months cannot be imported for resale at all.

    To clarify: the statute defines the term “resale” to include any transfer of ownership or control of a dog to another person, for more than de minimis consideration. This does not limit the ability of an individual to import a dog under the age of six months for their own use (e.g. as companion animals, working dogs, or for a breeding program). These rules apply to people who bring dogs into the country with the intention of transferring them to yet-unnamed consumers.

    These rules also place more stringent health requirements on dogs being imported, and provide penalties for noncompliance. Health certificates and proofs of rabies vaccination must now be written in English by a licensed veterinarian (having a licensed veterinarian handle these responsibilities should be important for obvious reasons), while dogs refused entry can be removed from the United States or seized by an APHIS official, with the person importing the dog held liable for the cost of caring for the animal – something that can become extremely expensive when veterinary and boarding fees are taken into account.

    Having these common sense regulations in place is vital from both a public health and animal welfare standpoint. Currently, unvaccinated dogs are not refused entry or forced into strict quarantine; instead they are sent home with their importer who is supposed to confine the dogs according to existing laws. This isn’t safe, intelligent, or humane, but under current rules, the oversight agencies have neither the resources nor authority to handle the situation any differently.

    We have an opportunity now, while the proposed rules are available for comment (until October 31), for our voices to be heard, a chance to ensure that the new law is enforced as intended. and move our regulations on dog importation into the 21st century. Providing reasonable vaccination and health requirements for dogs entering our country’s resale market – and more importantly, enforcing these requirements – is a huge step in the right direction. These proposed rules, if enacted properly, will:

    •Reduce the risk of spreading infectious and zoonotic diseases such as distemper, parvo, canine brucellosis, and even rabies among the domestic canine, wildlife, livestock, and human populations.

    •Protect the integrity of America’s ethical, dedicated breeders who have worked so hard to reduce disease and genetic problems in their bloodlines.

    •Limit the flow of puppies into this country from foreign breeders who do not abide by the same federal, state, and local regulations that are required of the US commercial pet industry.

    •Reduce the number of unethical shelters and rescues that import hot-selling puppies from foreign countries, while local dogs are euthanized for lack of a home.
    This is a call to action. It is vital your voice is heard! Read the proposed rules and comment on them here. If you have concerns that this is going to limit your ability to import dogs for your own use (e.g. for your working dog or breeding program) be sure that you spell out your concerns and your recommendations. APHIS needs to hear from the stakeholders!

    To comment on this important rule, write Dr. Gerald Rushin, at:

    Dr. Gerald Rushin, Veterinary Medical Officer
    Animal Care, APHIS
    4700 River Road Unit 84
    Riverdale, MD 20737-1231
    Phone (301) 734-0954
    Post edited by ayk at 2011-09-07 15:16:57
  • Wow I'm having dejavou. Years ago I had to deal with the importation of JDM cars, now I'll be dealing with importation issues with JDM dogs. I dont know why but I have a feeling that this probably started the similar way with how the restriction came about with grey market cars. Years ago many of the big european car manufacturers saw that Americans were buying the same exotic cars cheaper in europe and asia. Well with big money and push by Mercedes, BMW, Ferrari, and other highend car maneufacturrers, they were able to lobby to get the importation of cars for private parties to be come extremely difficult to almost impossible.

    I wonder if the same thing happened with US breeders seeing the increase in dog importation and lobbying government officials to make restrictions. It really resembles the early stages of the vehicle importation laws that we have today. It could be nothing but I have a really eerie feeling about this.
    Gen, Ami, Kaylynn, Trinity, Yusuke......Riki, Hana, Sammi, Taro, and the newest addition Koyuki.
  • I am completely astounded that APHIS cares at all about "Dogs deliberately bred in Europe for the U.S. commercial pet trade, coming from countries where there are few – if any – regulations on dog breeding [...] to reduce genetic diseases, few of these dogs come from lines that are tested for health, and they often arrive with undisclosed communicable diseases and/or genetic defects." As if USDA breeders do such a great job adhering to our awesome standards of commercial breeding care.

    It really makes me wonder what's the motivating factor for proposing these changes. Is it really about controlling disease, or is it about protecting the domestic market for commercial dog breeders? This is just from where I stand, but I don't feel like imports overwhelm or hurt the domestic market in any way, *rescue* operates on a different track, and these fears that unchecked foreign dogs will zOMG! spread disease and pestilence smacks of xenophobic rhetoric that does nothing to address problems that are already endemic at some local shelters and commercial breeding institutions.

    I would be interested in studies that demonstrated that imported dogs are a greater vector for parvo or distemper or any other non-communicable genetic diseases (and I would like to see it broken down by area of origin) than domestic puppy mills.

    Overall, it doesn't seem like it would affect US breeders who want to import dogs for their own breeding programs. I do find it interesting that they specifically name Puerto Rico street dogs and Mexican border-crossing dogs in their report. I don't know anything about the latter, but I do worry how this would impact rescue operations for the former. Because if Puerto Rican rescues are going to be affected by changes in legislation, I can think of other international dog rescue operations that *may* also be at risk. In my case, I'm thinking specifically of dog rescue operations in Taiwan, though the ones that I know of are relatively small-scale, relying on the good will of private sponsors and fosters to make overseas matches. Though they will sometimes send entire litters of puppies, the vast majority of cases are dogs over 6 months old. And the paperwork that they describe doesn't seem to be appreciably different from what is required now, except for this ominous-sounding "APHIS-issued import permit" that would be needed Stateside.
    image M.C. with Bowdu (Shiba Inu) and Bowpi (Basenji) at The House of Two Bows
  • I'm with you, MC. I feel like this has more to do with protecting US commercial dog breeders, because the USDA has a pretty shitty track record with actually protecting the health of dogs already in the country; in fact, they seem to have bent over backwards to help commercial breeders here. They should apply some of these policies (ie. concerns about health issues) to the USDA licensed facilities already in operation in the US.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    Back when I was scanning the local mall pet store for Jindos based on an unconfirmed report of one in them, I saw a Shar-pei from Hungary in the windows along with the usual Missouri pups. Don't know why, but pet stores are already importing from overseas.

    Don't know how widespread abuse is in mills overseas (ie. former Soviet countries), but the few cases that are publicized are just as awful as those in the US.

    I think the Puerto Rico dogs are specifically mentioned because back during the last couple of rounds of mandatory spay/neuter, the proponents were saying that we have a pet overpopulation problem, breeders are bad, etc.

    The counter was 'Why are we importing these santos if we truly have a pet overpopulation problem in shelters? What's wrong with the ones in the US? Why can't we ship the ones from overcrowded shelters to the ones that have low capacity? What we have a PR image problem of the dogs already in shelters, not a pet overpopulation problem. We have an owner retention problem, not a pet population problem." Etc.

    Post edited by ayk at 2011-09-08 10:22:18
  • "This does not limit the ability of an individual to import a dog under the age of six months for their own use (e.g. as companion animals, working dogs, or for a breeding program). These rules apply to people who bring dogs into the country with the intention of transferring them to yet-unnamed consumers."

    So according to this, I can still buy a JA from japan and have it imported under six months because it is my pet. However looking over the USDA page that was posted, I do not see anything that would allow me to do that. They spelled out the other exemptions, why not take the time to spell out that exemption?
    Post edited by *JackBurton* at 2011-09-08 11:24:44
  • Typical bureaucratic bs. Just watch, this is the start and I bet the hsus has some push on it too. Similar things has happened with other things imported so its only time when the grip of the restrictions gets tighter and tighter.
    Gen, Ami, Kaylynn, Trinity, Yusuke......Riki, Hana, Sammi, Taro, and the newest addition Koyuki.
  • We have until the 31st of October to cover why this proposal is not good. Thus why it needs to be amended. Let our voices be heard!

    *** If we all pool together, we can fight this.
    Areyarisu Shikoku Kenimage

    Kotomi | Maika | Zoey | Asra | Ranala

    Other Canine Members of The Airreyalis Crew: Zander (Alaskan Klee Kai) | Saphira (Belgian Groenendael) | Izanaiya, Sanosuke & Okiana (Yakutian Laika)
    Post edited by ShikokuSpirit at 2011-09-08 14:06:22
  • tjbart17tjbart17
    Posts: 4055
    As if USDA breeders do such a great job adhering to our awesome standards of commercial breeding care.

    @curlytails I'm with you on this one! There's a bit of hypocracy to this policy that is pretty apparent. I think it just slapped me in the face. However, I'm not convinced it isn't a bad one. Even up here in No. Cal we see a lot of Mexican dogs in shelters or dogs from down South who may have had a bed in one of their shelters but imported dogs from Mexico have taken them. The local flea market has dogs every weekend that are for sale from Mexico.

    Then again Mei's from Taiwan. I would give up the world for her. I love that little girl!
  • jan3tjan3t
    Posts: 133
    I have burn out from over half a century of trying to stem the growing pace of harm done by people who just do not care about life in any form outside of their own.

    I think that its cheap and easy to pass more regulations and have some guy who is checking documentation anyway check even more paper trails - compared to trying to corral puppy mills already inside US boarders. But there ARE problems with mass importation from puppy mills.

    The frustrating thing is that the "bad guys" always find a way around the regulations while the "good guys" pay the price. The "bad guys" probably were greasing the wheels in their favor long before the proposed regs were posted.

    How can we affect the regs so they negate inhumane practices while protecting ethical practices.
    Greetings from the 3rd sunniest city in the US
  • HeidiHeidi
    Posts: 3386
    Yep, I'm with you guys. All I see is protectionist policy that has nothing to do with animal welfare.
    Dogs: Rakka (shikoku), Sosuke (kai), Effie (bc/kelpie)
    Cats: Hester, Batgirl, Stephanie, Harley
  • @tjbart17 - Mei wouldn't be covered by this regulation. She was a rescue, not "bred for resale" in the U.S. I do see your point though. To stem the flow of commercially bred mill dogs into the country, rescues may take a hit too.

    Truth be told, I struggle a lot with rescue. Having volunteered in a shelter for a few years, I know there are way too many dogs right on our doorstep that are in need of a good home. Yet there is a whole market for transporting pets across the country, or even in from other countries. It baffles my mind a bit. On the one hand, I wonder why people won't just drive down to their local shelter and adopt a dog. And on the other, I remind myself that every dog deserves a good home, regardless of where it is located.

    Anyway, my point is this: Even if some rescues don't make it into the country because of a regulation like this, there are still more dogs than can possibly have homes available right here in our backyards.
    Dave, proudly owned by Joey (Shiba Inu), Tyson (Kai Ken), and PRG's Mason Julien McDieserton III, a.k.a. Diesel (Labrador Retriever).
    "My opinion may have changed, but not the fact that I'm right"
  • There are a lot of questions that come up in my mind after review of the plan...

    --I am with Jack B. on this one. Maybe I missed it or missing the point...I see no recommendation for the average companion or breeding dog, only import for "resale" and "research" or specialized veterinary treatment, which in fact have exceptions and exemptions. If I am confused I am sure a lot of other people will be too.

    -- also confusing... appears this legislation assumes any dog imported is "resale" under the new provisions??.... But that makes no sense, and there isn't clarity how "imported dog" or "resale" is defined or categorized...or defining of accompanied or unaccompanied or companion canine etc for air travel (I am assuming international travel only?). It certainly appears that any canine will now have to be over 6 months of age to be imported or travel by air (no mention of other transport??) since the rabies vacc is mandatory before air travel, with the exception of those coming in from four regions or from exempted research facilities.

    --It also appears the enactment is pretty close to being a done deal given it is in the Federal Register and will be voted on soon. Sad but based on the quotes below, it seems legislation makes the assumption it does not matter what the general consensus is for a smaller responsible operation that has young dogs to place.

    "The only entities that may be adversely
    affected are those that currently import
    dogs, or purchase imported dogs, that
    do not meet the new requirements,
    particularly those that import or
    purchase from importers dogs that are
    less than 6 months of age." (p. 4).

    --The vague statements appear ignorant if there are no facts or figures .....

    "Imported dogs comprise a
    very small fraction of the U.S. dog
    population, well under one percent. It is
    therefore highly unlikely that any
    change in the number of imported dogs
    would significantly affect those
    domestic markets." (p. 4)

    --Yet somewhat contradictory to the above since those recommending or drafting of the bill do not really have an idea what the actual stats are before developing a plan!

    "there are no available data regarding the age of dogs
    that are currently imported for resale, so
    we are unable to estimate the effects of
    the AWA prohibition on the
    importation, for resale purposes, of dogs
    less than 6 months of age." (p.4)

    --Now this is a bit overinflated as well, if not distorted rhetoric.

    "We believe that the benefits of this
    rule, including the unquantifiable
    enhancement of animal welfare, justify
    the costs. Benefits of the rule include
    promoting the humane treatment of
    covered imported dogs in keeping with
    the requirements of the Animal Welfare
    Act (AWA) and with standard health
    practices for dogs in the United States." (p.4)

    --Why even bring up "unquantifiable enhancement" if it is not quantifiable? Are they on glue...animal welfare has not been achieved for the vast amount of USDA regulated breeding operations or delivery of healthy dogs within/around the continental U.S. so the blah blah blah on justification on importation in regard to animal welfare seems like pathetic fluff.

    -- Basically as I gather based on the whole melange of text in the Federal register...the implementation or changes relate to rabies and dogs as vector carriers of communicable disease. I guess someone developed panic over the Iraqi rabies dog delivered to U.S. and decided to legislate without looking at stats and getting a handle on numbers or methods for animal handling etc etc.

    --In their decision making, there appears to be a complete disregard and lack of provision for animals coming from smaller kennels under the care of registered licensed vet in a hobby home, i.e. kennels that have been rabies free with dogs born from rabies free animals. Surely there can be an exemption for those animals under the age of 6 months that are transported in low numbers??? I can see there may be some hot countries where tighter control is needed for those coming from a hazard region, similar to export control, only in reverse. However, you can not tell me that all regions but four are extremely high risk as rabies vector areas.

    A few clauses need to be changed to benefit the hobby breeder or organization who has and maintains all the medical on their dogs or has quarantined animals prior to birth of any puppies. I think altering of clauses could be done with some discourse. More clarification is needed as well on how all of this changes travel with a puppy as accompanied pet also. Again it doesn't seem really clear.


    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2011-09-09 14:46:22
  • Maybe I missed the point....

    Honestly I think most regulators are thinking of the Agriculture business and the benefits to commercial goods and sales. The mindset is that of large scale operations and the advantages to domestic trade and fear of competition along side security and global threats.

    Small quantity and quality hobbies are kicked to the side as the economic contribution is seen as miniscule to other goods and services.

    The bill if left in its current state, is gonna be a headache and paperwork nightmare. My fear is it will take a "gazillion" yrs for airport inspectors to comprehend IACUC, FDA, USDA blah blah blah. There will be a lot of right hand not knowing what the left is doing for some time. Some poor person is going to get caught up in this with a dog hanging in no mans land as veterinarians in other countries try an figure out the documentation necessary. Those that push or bunch dogs will find one way or another health or not. All the regulations have not reduced the exotic animal trade, illegal or otherwise or the introduction of diseases the come with them. I know for a fact if some regulators that work with wild and domestic import had their way, travel and trade of animals would be banned. What these individuals fail to realize is they would be out of a job too.

    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2011-09-09 12:44:00
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 12224
    I've been following this thread, but it upsets me a bit... I don't want to think about it (especially since I might have some Kai pups arriving this fall). Pisses me off a little. *puts head back in sand*

  • Not sure when it is to go in to effect. There may be time to ask questions and gain clarification or to ask for revision or additional review. Never say it is over until it's over.
    As a club or individually it is beneficial to contact and ask questions etc or make suggestions.

  • I saw this on another list. The ASPCA is trying to drum up support for the USDA proposal by encouraging people to act in favor of "banning puppy imports." They're sidestepping the nuances of 'import' and framing this as a puppy mill issue:

    There was a forwarded e-mail from the ASPCA that was attached to this link that began by contextualizing the proposal: "A few years ago, the United States was becoming flooded with designer puppies purchased from foreign puppy mills." I am skeptical about the terms 'flooded' and 'designer puppies' here because I have a hard time believing that's really what this is all about. The e-mail was also really crudely playing up the foreign fear factor: "We all know that puppy mills are inhumane—now imagine what they’re like in China and Eastern Europe!" I'm not copying the text of the e-mail because I found it insulting.

    And since they're simplifying it as a puppy mill issue, nobody is going to vote in FAVOR of either foreign puppy mills OR domestic mills. The difference is that the USDA can actually do something about monitoring the mills within its own jurisdiction, yet they're kidding themselves by lauding their own track record while presuming to police the regulatory policies of other countries.
    image M.C. with Bowdu (Shiba Inu) and Bowpi (Basenji) at The House of Two Bows
  • funny how people is dying and getting sick from food poisoning, not dogs.
  • Does anyone know what is going on with this and if any petitions have gone in or input has been made to the committee voting on this?


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