Pandemic Puppy Craze Spurs pushes for new animal import standards

An increase in imports of pandemic puppies and other pets has prompted calls for new standards as animals pass through customs.

A House spending panel today approved a provision that would call on Customs and Border Protection and the Agriculture Department to draft regulatory guidelines for facilities that keep animals.

CBP holds animals imported with inadequate vaccination certificates in bonded facilities until health authorities can examine them. The agency “lacks adequate facilities and procedures to respond” to the surge in animal imports that began during the pandemic, the report Accompanying the House Homeland Security Appropriations Bill cautions, calling on CBP to set new standards.

Photo: Apu Gomes / AFP via Getty Images

A volunteer kisses one of the 29 rescued dogs that arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on February 13, 2021.

As families searched for new pets during the pandemic, many shelters were “emptied by adoptions,” Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Who has been pushing for the provision, said in an emailed statement. “Unfortunately, this also means that some Americans have turned to unsavory foreign breeders for their pets, which has resulted in an increase in animal imports over the past year.”

Quigley began advocating for regulations on standards of care and additional animal care facilities at CBP after learning of the “obnoxious conditions” that more than a dozen French Bulldogs faced during their stay. traveled to the United States via Chicago last year.

A group of 18 dogs from Jordan were quarantined with air cargo service after arriving at O’Hare International Airport with incorrect vaccination documents. The dogs were left in cages without food or water for days, and at least one died.

“There is currently no CBP practice in place to require every bonded warehouse to maintain a level of care for live animals that exceeds the basic requirements of the Animal Welfare Act,” Quigley said during ‘a home security credit subcommittee hearing in May.

There is only one CBP-linked facility with the resources to care for live animals for the duration of the quarantine, Quigley added.

The report would ask CBP to assess the need for more facilities.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicole sadek in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sarah babbage at [email protected]; Robin meszoly at [email protected]

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