USA’s ban on imports of sick, young puppies likely to hurt puppy mills in Europe, Ukraine

Move aimed to safeguard the imported dogs, the public, and pets and other animals in USA, says APHIS

Bidhu Bhushan Palo | @TheDollarBiz Puppies-The-Dollar-Business The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has made it mandatory that live dogs that are imported into the country for resale must be vaccinated, in good health, and over six months of age. The move follows continued criticism by animal welfare organisations that not enough was being done to stop the suffering of imported dogs. The Humane Society of United States says that prior to the ruling, thousands of puppies, often a few weeks old, were made to suffer while being transported to USA and many died during transit. The new rule is expected to address such concerns. According to Kevin Shea, APHIS Administrator, the amendment reflects the new requirements in the Animal Welfare Act and will help safeguard the imported dogs, the public, pets and other animals in USA. About 43,169 live dogs were imported into USA during 2009-13, and imports had declined from around 14,568 in 2009 to around 6,030 in 2012. However, live dog imports surged over 21% y-o-y in 2013 to 7,302, according to US Census Bureau. Actual numbers are estimated to be much higher as the available figures include only those imports with a fair market value of at least $2,000. It is expected that the changes will discourage imports from puppy mills in Colombia, the Netherlands, Germany, and also Ukraine, which together account for more than 75% of all live dog imports into USA. “Nations will no longer be able to raise tens of thousands of dogs in puppy mills and flood the U.S. market with them,” says Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). However, the new rule will not affect private ownership, Tanya Espinosa of APHIS told The Dollar Business. “In those cases where the ownership of the pet changes (e.g. businesses sending dogs to pet stores, breeders, etc.), people will have to wait until the dog is six months old prior to sending the dog to the US and ensure it has all vaccines and is in good health,” she said. The new rule does not apply to dogs that are imported for research purposes, veterinary medical treatment, or for personal companions as well. Wondering about imports from India? According to the US Census Bureau, there were no live dog imports from India during 2009-2011, three in 2012, and one in 2013 (all with a fair market value of $2,000 or more).