Welfare of puppies prioritized through new import rules

Beginning May 15, dogs entering Canada will require rabies vaccinations, parasite treatments, and more

Protecting the health and welfare of puppies living in and entering the Great White North is the driving force behind a recent announcement from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Photo ©BigStockPhoto.comProtecting the health and welfare of puppies living in and entering the Great White North is the driving force behind a recent announcement from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

The agency has implemented changes to the commercial importation of dogs younger than eight months for the purpose of breeding and resale (including adoption). The updates, CFIA says, improve compliance with humane transport and animal health requirements.

Effective May 15, these changes include:

  • Multiple-entry permits will be replaced with single-entry permits, and importers will have to specify the number of dogs to be imported.
  • Dogs will require rabies vaccination at least 28 days before export to Canada (with an exception for recognized breeders) and will need to be treated for internal and external parasites prior to export.
  • Importers will be required to provide information about the travel route from the country of origin to the final destination in Canada (including the airport or land border crossing that will be used to enter Canada). They will also be required to schedule a CFIA inspection at the airport or land border crossing where the animals will enter Canada before the shipment leaves the country of origin.
  • Importers transporting dogs by air must have a post-import quarantine facility that has been pre-approved by CFIA available in case arriving animals require further inspection and/or quarantine.

“These changes are designed to crack down on those involved in shipments of puppies that don’t meet Canadian animal health and certification requirements,” says the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food. “They provide additional tools for the CFIA to take appropriate actions against non-compliance. The new rules raise the bar on preventing potential animal abuses and make it clear they will not be tolerated.”

The review was initiated following the June 2020 inspection of an air shipment of puppies, which revealed a number of dead and sick dogs along with other non-compliance issues. The ongoing investigation into the incident ultimately led CFIA to take certain enforcement actions, the agency reports.

The move has been praised by animal health groups, including the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada (PIJAC Canada).

“We are pleased to work with CFIA to encourage Canadians to make informed choices about responsible dog ownership and to promote the benefits of buying a purebred dog from an accountable Canadian breeder,” says CKC’s executive director, Jeff Cornett.

“The regulation goes a long way to improving the safety of transportation and the welfare of these animals coming into Canada,” added PIJAC Canada in a statement. “Today is a win for dogs and the beginning of a new direction for animal importation in this country.”

As CFIA prepares to implement these changes, no new import permits for commercial dogs younger than eight months of age for breeding and resale (including adoption) will be issued between May 4 and 14. The agency will resume issuing import permits on May 15 under the new measures.

CFIA also clarifies the requirement related to the certification for kennels of origin. The requirement for a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Kennel License will continue to apply for dogs imported for resale (including adoption) from the United States, for example.

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