According to a May 18, 2020, article, as Vermont begins to re-open from the COVID-19 pandemic, animal importers have asked Governor Phil Scott to authorize the resumption of interstate pet transports to supply Vermont shelters with dogs sourced from outside the state. The article also details how some shelters are considering breeding dogs themselves to meet the demand for pets. Vermont statutes previously required registration and regulation of animal importers and shelters, but those laws were amended in 2016 by Act No. 149 to eliminate oversight by the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets. This lack of substantive oversight increases the risk of diseased animals entering the state and exposing other animals and Vermonters.
Importation of rabies-positive dogs resulted in the United States Center for Disease Control issuing a ban on the importation of dogs from Egypt in May 2019. Last February, veterinarians from Tufts University, New England’s only veterinary school, published preliminary findings from a study on animal rescues noting, “…not everyone transporting dogs are doing basic things you assume everyone would do—sometimes not even vaccinating animals, which is a significant public-health concern.” As a result, the general public has been put at multiple risks, including acquiring dogs that lack reliable background or health information, consumers not being provided the same mandated consumer protections when dogs are sourced from breeders or pet stores, and an increased risk of zoonotic disease transfer to humans or other animals (including livestock) from animals imported without substantiated health clearances or other verified precautions taken.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: The American Kennel Club and the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs believe Governor Scott ought to include basic public health and safety criteria in any emergency order that would permit the resumption of animal imports into the state for shelter distribution, and remove a shelter’s charitable organization status if it breeds and sells dogs. f you agree, email the Governor’s office to request that:
(1) animal importers and shelters register with the state, and
(2) animals coming into the state have a current certificate of veterinary inspection, received all required vaccinations, and demonstrated no signs of infectious disease for at least 48 hours prior to placement.
Email the Governor with your concerns from this page https://governor.vermont.gov/email.
AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will provide additional information as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.