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.