Centers for Disease Control – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced an extension of current requirements for the import of live dogs from countries at high risk for rabies. Under current requirements established in June 2022 all categories of importers are eligible to import dogs from high-risk counties. Commercially imported dogs are required to enter the U.S. at a port of entry with a live animal care facility. CDC’s list of approved ports of entry includes 18 airports with a CDC quarantine station for imported dogs with a valid U.S.-issued rabies vaccination certificate or a CDC Dog Import Permit. Importers with dogs that are at least six months old, are microchipped, and have a valid U.S.-issued rabies vaccination certificate may enter the U.S. without a CDC Dog Import Permit at one of the 18 approved airports provided the dog appears healthy upon arrival. The new extension is set to expire on July 31, 2024. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov.
CDC also announced a new proposed rule that outlines requirements regarding an importation system to reduce fraud and improve the U.S. government’s ability to verify U.S. entry requirements and mitigate the introduction of dogs infected with rabies. If adopted, the proposed rule would mitigate the need for further extensions of the temporary suspension. AKC supports efforts to address the serious public health issues related to the proposal, and is offering additional recommendations, including support for Option 2-less restrictive” in Table 4 Summary Table of Important Changes to Regulatory Requirements. The public comment period closed on Friday, September 8. The pending rule is available at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-07-10/pdf/2023-14343.pdf.
For more information, visit AKC’s Regulatory Resources Center.
USDA APHIS/Regulatory – The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) has announced future proposed changes to the federal Animal Welfare Act’s (AWA) rules and standards, including adding regulatory requirements to address species-specific environmental enrichment for all regulated animals, including dogs. Currently, AWA rules only contain environmental enrichment requirements for non-human primates and marine mammals. APHIS is considering expanding those requirements to better address the needs of species known to exist in social groups; species-specific feeding, foraging, and food acquisition behaviors; and enclosure space, lighting, and design that allow for species-specific behaviors. In its announcement, APHIS notes that because licensees would be able to use their own expertise to determine the specific enrichment measures to implement, the future regulations could be implemented on an individual basis. Under this “performance standard” approach, licensees would be required to develop and implement a written plan specifying measures they would take to provide for environmental enrichment, which would have to be approved by an attending veterinarian. Licensees would be required to monitor the plan on an ongoing basis to ensure compliance and to make adjustments if needed.
USDA APHIS – On July 12, USDA APHIS published its 2022 Impact Report. The report provides an overview of APHIS’ activities and successes. 2022 highlights include: (1) Conducting 10,595 site inspections (approximately 3,000 more than was conducted in 2021)—including 1,248 unannounced at research facilities—to assess the health, care, and treatment of more than 1.4 million animals and found 96% of licensees and registrants in substantial compliance with the AWA. (2) Issued 3,167 import permits covering 15,412 dogs for resale in the United States. (3) Took civil and administrative action to address alleged AWA violations, including opening 262 cases, issuing 204 official warnings, obtaining 17 administrative orders, and permanently revoking seven other licenses to support AWA compliance and deter future violations. All of these statistics are significantly higher than what was reported in 2021. The full APHIS 2022 Impact Report is available at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/aphis_general/2022-impact-report.pdf.
Oklahoma – In August, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry adopted a final rule that allows for the seizure and impoundment of animals kept by commercial pet breeders and animal shelters in cases where the animals’ health, safety, or welfare is endangered or believed to be in imminent danger. AKC remains concerned that the rule may allow veterinarians to perform medically unnecessary spay/neuter procedures on seized animals. AKC believes that because ownership of seized animals is to remain with the licensees, they should be entitled to determine whether their animals are sexually sterilized if not based on medical necessity. AKC GR will continue to monitor how this rule will be enforced.