If you are a passionate dog breeder, concerned about the protection and preservation of your breed, or someone working with a responsible rescue organization, you are probably aware — acutely so — of the dangers posed by the irresponsible importation of pets.*
While the general public lags behind the organized dog community in their understanding of this issue (some even romanticize such importation or tie it to virtue), it is good to see that several federal agencies are working to make sure that imported pets meet the minimum requirements necessary to enter the United States: Pet import laws are severely outdated, but it’s good to see that the agencies take the issue seriously and are doing all they can within their current statutory authority to prevent dogs carrying contagious (sometimes lethal) diseases from entering the US:
CBP, CDC, USDA Eye Puppy Imports**
This is excellent to read. The language is academic, mild even. But it is also quite obvious that they understand the health threat posed to animal and human populations through importing pets — dogs, typically — that aren’t properly health-checked, vaccinated, and old enough. Further, they are aware of importers trying to circumvent the system and falsify records — an issue raised by the shipment of rescue dogs from Egypt that included a rabid puppy, leading to a six-state investigation (and a lot of shots for the people who needed PEP regimen).
*For many, the idea of importing a dog from another region or country to “save” it has a gut-level appeal. Unfortunately, the reality of this is that doing so without appropriate health checks and vaccinations — especially when importing from countries with large street dog populations where rabies and other diseases are still endemic — poses serious dangers to local dog and human populations.
** yes, we’re aware this article was written before the shutdown, no we don’t expect the lapse in funding to last forever.