This week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) passed a new amendment under Section 18 of the Animal Welfare Act prohibiting the commercial import of puppies to the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) until fully vaccinated and 6 months of age. This regulation applies when importing a pet intended for resale or transfer of ownership for more than insignificant consideration from any country in the world including Puerto Rico and all US territories. It does not apply to personal pets or those entering the US for veterinary treatment not available in the originating country or puppies intended for research.
This regulation is directly related to the ongoing problem of internet puppy sales and to the risk to the welfare of the puppy. It also serves to protect buyers who think they are purchasing a puppy from the states, only to find out that the puppy has traveled from Asia, has not been cared for and developed health issues that either require additional veterinary treatments or, in some cases, caused the death of the puppy.
In addition to the age requirement, a commercial transport involving a puppy will require an import permit as well as a health certificate, rabies vaccination certificate and proof of required vaccines for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parovirus and parainfluenza virus. (DHLPP).
This is the second time the USDA has passed regulation directed to controlling puppy mill puppies. Last year, it required any breeder who sells puppies over the internet sight unseen to be licensed and inspected.
Early signs from the airlines are that they will fully abide by the new regulations. This is very good news for consumers and everyone concerned with the welfare of puppies. The ordinance will be effective November 17, 2014.