The Puppy Import Trades Dirty Little Secrets, continued
Section 71.51(c)(2)(ii) of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations provides
that dogs less than 3 months of age may be imported into the United States, but
must be confined by the importer until vaccinated against rabies at 3 months of
age and for at least 30 days after the date of vaccination. Accordingly, the
minimum age at which an imported puppy may be sold is 4 months of age, assuming
that it is vaccinated against rabies on the day it becomes 3 months old. Since
California fixes 4 months as the minimum age for vaccination against rabies,
puppies imported into California may not be lawfully sold until they are at
least 5 months old.
Puppy importers are required to sign Form CDC 75.37(E) when they import puppies.
That form contains the above regulation, and adds the following Notice:
“NOTICE TO OWNER: You are expected to observe this
requirement as a safeguard against the introduction of rabies. A person
violating U.S. Foreign Quarantine Regulations which provide for this requirement
is a subject to a fine up to $1000 and /or imprisonment up to 1 year.”
By signing the form, the importer agrees to abide by the Regulation AND any
additional measures required by State to which the puppies are being imported
(such as California’s rule that the minimum age of vaccination is 4 months):
“I certify that I am the owner, or authorized
representative of the owner, of the above listed dog(s). I further certify that
I acknowledge and will comply with the restrictions checked above. Also, I will
be responsible for complying with any additional measures that may be required
by health departments or other authority in the State of destination.
How do the importers get away with selling young puppies in violation of law?
They are able to do so because the Government has not allocated funds for
enforcement of the regulations. There just isn’t enough money to keep these
puppies, and their uninformed purchasers, safe. Knowing that, the importers sign
Form CDC 75.37(E) and then ignore the Regulation and other laws with which they
have agreed to comply. Why do they put these tiny puppies at risk? The reason
they do so is greed. It costs money to feed and care for puppies until they
reach the age at which they can be sold lawfully, and older puppies usually do
not have the same product appeal as younger puppies. That’s all these poor
little puppies are, product.
Even worse, that’s not the only federal Regulation these greedy import brokers
ignore, to the detriment of their tiny victims. Under Section 2.130 of Title 9
of the Code of Federal Regulations, it is illegal to transport puppies less than
8 weeks of age. Many of the puppies imported to the United States are evidently
only 5, 6 or 7 weeks old. How do these greedy import brokers get away with
shipping such tiny, vulnerable puppies, many of whom die enroute or shortly
after arrival? Violating this regulation is even easier than ignoring the
confinement regulations. The person shipping the puppies from abroad just lies
about the age of the puppies. If the paperwork says the puppies are 8 weeks old,
the airlines have no method of verifying the authenticity of the paperwork and
no reason not to accept them for shipment.
Please remember, if you are considering buying a puppy from an import broker,
and we certainly hope you are not considering any such action, and that puppy is
less than 4 months old (or less than 5 months old from a California seller) you
are actually encouraging importers to continue violating U.S. law.