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CDC Issues Health Alert on Imported Dogs
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 06/04/2014

Animal health officials at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture are reminding consumers and veterinarians to verify paperwork accompanying a new puppy. The prompting comes as a result of a U.S. Centers for Disease Control Health Alert issued recently reporting an increasing number of dogs shipped to the United States with questionable documentation of prior rabies vaccination.

"In order to ensure that you are purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder, we recommend that you purchase from a local breeder that will allow you to see the puppy before you make the final purchase," says Dr. Yvonne Bellay, humane animal program manager for DATCP.

According to the CDC, the dogs are being sold online, by independent sellers or in pet stores or adopted through both U.S. and international sources. They include purebred, hybrid or mixed breeds and some distributors are providing breed registration papers. Dogs are being imported from rabies-endemic countries and in several instances importers have provided inaccurate rabies vaccine certificates.

Documents also state that the puppies are older than four months of age and fully immunized against rabies. Upon examination, these animals are found to be younger than four months old and sometimes as young as 4-8 weeks of age. Documentation may also claim that the puppy was born and raised in the United States.

In 2011, DATCP implemented a law that requires some dog breeders and others involved in dog sales, adoptions and sheltering to be inspected and licensed to ensure the safety and well-being of the dogs and ensure that purchasers are protected as well. The law requires the department to inspect and license every dog seller and dog facility in the State of Wisconsin that sells more than 25 dogs a year from more than three litters.

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