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Last week, two U.S. Senators reintroduced a bill to tighten oversight on dogs imported into the United States, reported RadioIowa.

Aptly named the Healthy Dog Importation Act, the bill was co-written by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.). Importantly, the bill seeks to “keep a closer eye on the million-plus dogs” imported every year. Interestingly, Senator Grassley says being vigilant on biosecurity is a high priority for his state’s livestock producers. Additionally, the senator also believes it should be an important issue for all pet owners.

What Does the Bill Do?

More explicitly, the bill requires all incoming dogs to have a certificate from a recognized veterinarian in their home country. Whether it’s a show dog or a rescue, the bill aims to put a vital barrier against infectious diseases including influenza and canine distemper virus.

According to a release from Senator Smith’s website, the bill would provide the Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (USDA-APHIS) program with tools to monitor and safeguard imported dogs’ health.

Encouragingly, Senator Smith said, “Mitigating the spread of foreign diseases in dogs helps keep domestic and wild animals healthy. It can also help prevent illnesses and disease outbreaks in people”.

Read more: Heroic dog saves 1-year-old baby from house fire

Prioritizing Health for Imported Dogs Helps Get Them Into Homes

Significantly, the bill enjoys strong bipartisan support, as well as backing from several large names in the pet industry. Specifically, DVM360 named The American Veterinary Medical Association, the Pet Food Institute, and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture among the bill’s supporters.

Notably, during its initial introduction, the American Kennel Club welcomed the bill. Sheila Goffe, Vice President of AKC Government Relations said, “The Healthy Dog Importation Act brings U.S. standards into line…and demonstrates U.S. commitment to responsible care and healthy environments for dogs  — and those who love them”.

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