Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Importing Sick Dogs Into the US a Problem

Here's an article on ABC about puppy mills being run overseas. Sometimes animals come in with rabies or other health problems. This part caught my eye:

When alerted of a shipment, the Department of Agriculture inspects the conditions of puppies arriving at U.S. ports. The department took pictures of inhumane conditions, including a carrier meant for one dog with a makeshift shelf to hold multiple puppies and plastic bags around dog crates that ended up suffocating the animals.

First of all, the Dept. of Agriculture doesn't inspect much of anything coming in, unless it's something like seeds (at least at the airport). Customs and Border Protection Agriculture, maybe, but that's part of Homeland Security. They wear the same uniforms as Customs inspectors, but don't pack heat.

Secondly, I've cleared rescued dogs through Sea-Tac Customs, and even CBP Agriculture didn't look at them as far as I know. The regular Customs officers went over and looked at the dogs, and they made sure they either had a rabies vaccine form or filled out a CDC form promising to keep the dog separate and get it vaccinated within a certain time period. CBP Agriculture mainly cares about bugs (like wood boring beetles), mad cow or bird flu.

Part of the problem at least in Seattle is that Customs inspectors in places like Chicago were just clearing the dogs with no paperwork (Chicago happened to be the first US port of entry). By the time they got to Seattle, they were all cleared and people were going to the airline and picking them up. When they got a new supervisor here, he freaked out and demanded they be cleared properly (with proper documentation). He backed off a bit (this was an animal rescue group that I was dealing with), but they still had to have the proper documents.

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