ASPCA Commends Gov. Jerry Brown for Signing Bill to Protect California Animals and Consumers

New law will require out-of-state sellers to submit health certificates for imported dogs
September 21, 2014

NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) commended Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday for signing AB 1809, which requires out-of-state animal dealers who sell dogs to California consumers or retailers to submit health certificates to county health departments.  Previously, California was one of only two states that did not require dogs to be both inspected and issued health certificates upon entry into the state. Sponsored by Assemblyman Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego), AB 1809 will go into effect on January 1, 2015.

“AB 1809 aims to reduce the threat to animals and consumers posed by importing potentially sick dogs from other states,” said Kevin O’Neill, senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Western region. “It’s surprising that California has languished behind 48 others states in protecting our communities, but thanks to the leadership of Assemblyman Brian Maienschein and Governor Brown this common sense protection is now law.”

The rise of online puppy sales has made importing dogs from other states directly to consumers easier than ever before. Due to a lack of import reporting requirements, local governments have been kept in the dark about how many dogs are entering their communities and the status of their health. This critical information is needed to ensure the effectiveness of sheltering, spay/neuter and dog licensing programs.

“Health certificates are legal documents signed by veterinarians who have evaluated the health of dogs and can attest to the accuracy of the information,” said Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA Puppy Mills campaign. “If you purchase a dog from a pet store or online retailer, you aren’t able to see where the puppy originally came from, so you could unknowingly be supporting puppy mill cruelty. This new law will reduce the likelihood that imported dogs bring contagious diseases into California and protect consumers from purchasing sick dogs. We thank California lawmakers for passing this important legislation.”

AB 1809 does not apply to family dogs where ownership is not changing, dogs visiting California with their families or dogs participating in dog shows. This new law comes on the heels of federal efforts to regulate the foreign puppy trade, as the USDA issued a new rule requiring non-U.S. breeders to provide certification that each dog is in good health, has received all necessary vaccinations and is at least six months of age. It specifically targets dogs meant for resale in the commercial pet trade and will not prevent individuals from transporting their own pets.

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