Search Menu

The American Kennel Club welcomes the introduction today of the Healthy Dog Importation Act of 2020  in the U.S. House of Representatives.

AKC is grateful for the bi-partisan leadership of Congressmen Abraham (LA-5), Schrader (OR-5) and Yoho (FL-3) in sponsoring the bill, and believes this will go a long way to addressing concerns about recent documented incidents of unhealthy dogs being imported into the U.S.

“In the last several years, zoonotic diseases such as rabies, canine influenza and distemper have been carried into the U.S. by dogs imported without basic veterinary checks or valid health certificates. With an estimated one million dogs entering the U.S. annually, this represents a ticking time bomb for animal and public health,” said Dennis Sprung, AKC President and CEO.

“The basic health certifications that this bill requires for every dog imported will protect the health and wellbeing of all dogs in our nation – and the humans who care for them.”

AKC also thanks the National Animal Interest Alliance for their long-time leadership on the issue, and the American Veterinary Medical Association for their support.


The U.S. demand for pet dogs—without accounting for population growth—is more than 8 million dogs annually. U.S. Breeders are unable to meet this demand. Instead, approximately one million dogs are imported annually into the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Exponential growth in the import of dogs – particularly from unregulated sources – has resulted in dogs with non-native parasites and zoonotic diseases such as rabies, viral infections and brucellosis being imported and passed into the general public, creating a significant threat to the health of other dogs, animals and the humans who care for them.

The American Kennel Club recognizes the value of importing breeding stock from overseas, freedom of choice in selecting a pet, and ensuring that people may travel with their pets with a minimum of disruption. However, we are also concerned about the increasing documented incidences of the importation of unhealthy random-source pets, particularly for transfer, where public and pet health may be inadequately protected.

Current pet import oversight mechanisms administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Customs were established prior to the exponential growth in imports and are unable to adequately check canine health upon entry or protect against the public and animal health threat this represents.

AKC supports efforts to ensure that all dogs imported into the United States are fully immunized; free of infection, parasites and contagious diseases; and are individually certified as such by a qualified veterinarian. We look forward to working with the sponsors to advance this important safeguard for pet and public health.

Additional Information:

View AKC letter of support to bill sponsors

View AKC  position statement on Pet Imports: Protecting Pet and Public Health  

For more information and background, visit AKC GR’s Key Issues page  on Pet Imports: Protecting Pet and Public Health.

AKC Government Relations will provide ongoing updates for how you can help support this important measure.   For more information contact AKC GR at