In recent months, the AKC Government Relations team has received numerous questions about requirements for importing/exporting and traveling internationally with dogs.
In July, recent incidents of rabid dogs being imported into the U.S. for rescue markets, combined with a shortage of customs staff to assess the health status of dogs coming into the U.S. caused the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to suspend import permission for dogs from over 110 countries. In the case of the CDC’s action, the catalyst was an increase in animals from countries determined to be at high risk for the spread of the canine variant of rabies, a disease that was eliminated from the U.S. a generation ago.
AKC has concerns about a long-standing blanket prohibition on the import of dogs based on the country of origin. AKC supports the passage of H.R. 4239/S. 2597, the Healthy Dog Importation Act (HDIA), which focuses instead on improved oversight and verifiable health certifications from veterinarians accredited by a competent veterinary authority.
H.R. 4239/ S. 2597 recognizes the grave threat to U.S. pet and public health by unchecked imports of dogs from random sources -- not only from rabies but also by a variety of other zoonotic diseases or pathogens such canine influenza, brucellosis, screw worm, new strains of distemper and other viruses. The HDIA offers a valuable solution to addressing a possible public health crisis by requiring all dogs entering the U.S. to have a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian accredited by a competent veterinary authority recognized by the USDA, necessary vaccines, and permanent identification.
The United States isn’t alone in these concerns. Similar requirements are already standard practice for many other countries. View an illustrative map of other countries’ requirements here.
For more information view an updated fact sheet about the Healthy Dog Importation Act.