Dog News

The USDA Cracks Down on Importation of Puppies

by Fred

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The United States Department of Agriculture is cracking down on the illegal importation and distribution of young and sick puppies brought into the US from other countries.  Starting this November, you will only be able bring pups in to the country that are over six-months-old, are in good health and they must have proof of vaccination.  As always, we at Life with Dogs recommend adoption over purchasing puppies from breeders inside or out of the United States.

As the law on the books currently states, with some exceptions, you can get just about any dog into the country with a health certificate.  Any person unable to prove vaccination has to confine the dog to their property for a set period of time, but the onus is on the pet owner, and it’s rarely checked on after admittance.

According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), this has caused an influx of sick and/or unvaccinated dogs to be brought in from other countries.  They often will use invalid or faked certifications to enter the country and then are sold to unsuspecting would be pet owners across the states.

“There’s no question this process of raising them in puppy mills in foreign countries and long distance transport without people properly caring for them during transport puts them at great risk,” said Wayne Pacelle.

Pacelle is president and CEO of the HSUS.  By the HSUS’s estimation, thousands of puppies have dies during or soon after the importation process.  Over the summer, a team of news investigations found two specific cases out of Dade County, Florida where two dogs were brought into the US from Colombia by one person, Juan Gomez.

In June alone Gomez admitted to importing about 24 pups a month out of Colombia.  Under current law, that makes him a “puppy dealer.”  The county cited him for being an unlicensed dealer in the US whose puppies were sold without vaccinations and valid health checks.  Gomez had at this point exhausted his appeals, and now owes the county over $3,600.

Gomez explained why going to Colombia was so attractive when it comes to buying dogs for importation.  In Colombia, you would usually pay around $250 for a dog that goes for between $1,000 and $1,200.  The “mark-up” as one might say, is a bit steep.

Even though importers are making tons of money on the deal, it’s coming with a very high cost to the animals and those buying them.

Pacelle said, “There are stresses, disease-related issues and that’s going to produce sick animals who sometimes die very soon after purchase.”

The new laws take effect across the United States starting the 17th of November.  This is more than six years since Congress first authorized the USDA to regulate imports, and after years of cracking down on domestic puppy mills.

Once again, we here at Life with Dogs always prefer adoption over buying from breeders or pet stores.  There are so many really great dogs available at your local shelters and rescues looking for that forever family and forever home they truly deserve.