U.S. Bans the Import of Sick and Underage Puppies for Pet Trade

ASPCA applauds federal ban on the importation of puppies for commercial pet trade
August 15, 2014

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) welcomes the new federal rule issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulating the importation of puppies. The new rule requires 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.

“Every year, thousands of puppies are brought into the United States from foreign countries, even though they may be too sick or young to endure the transport,” said Deborah Press, senior regulatory affairs manager for the ASPCA. “With this new rule, the USDA has taken significant steps towards ensuring that the United States is not importing sick puppies and supporting animal cruelty in puppy mills overseas.”

In 2008 Congress amended the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to prevent, young, unhealthy puppies from being imported into the U.S. for the commercial pet trade. Though the law was to go into effect immediately, it has not been enforced. Many of the puppies coming into this country are raised in inhumane conditions, and they are frequently taken from their mothers before they are old enough to be weaned, to be transported long distances in cramped conditions and extreme temperatures. Because of their young age, many of these puppies already have weak immune systems and easily pick up diseases during their long travel. American consumers who purchase these puppies often end up with a sick animal.

“We welcome this new rule as it will reduce the suffering of thousands of animals by curbing the importation of sick puppies from overseas,” said Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign. “Breeding facilities in foreign countries are not subject to oversight by the United States government, so the conditions under which many of these dogs are bred and raised are substandard. The new rule means that the U.S. no longer provides a friendly marketplace for these suffering animals.” 

The ASPCA’s “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign aims to reduce the demand for puppy mill puppies by urging consumers to pledge not to buy any items—including food, supplies or toys—from stores or websites that sell puppies. To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to eradicate puppy mills, please visit www.NoPetStorePuppies.com.