The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposed a rule Wednesday that would require any dogs imported into the United States be accompanied by rabies and health certifications along with an APHIS-issued permit.
A 2008 amendment to the Animal Welfare Act required that all imported dogs to be in good health and at least 6 months old and to have received all necessary vaccinations. The amendment did not specify how the regulations would be administered, and the task fell to APHIS.
The rabies and health certifications would have to include the signature and license number of the issuing veterinarian as well as the name and address of the person intending to import the dog. Limited exceptions would be made for dogs entering the United States for veterinary treatment or research purposes or into Hawaii.
From 2005 to 2010, an average of 17,000 dogs a year were imported into the United States, accounting for less than 1 percent of the nation's total dog population, according to APHIS.
Comments on the rule change can be submitted until Oct. 31, 2011, at www.regulations.gov.