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USDA Meets with State Professional Breeders Organizations

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) held a meeting with delegates from state professional breeders organization throughout the United States.  On July 17th, 2015 meeting was held the USDA government building located in Kansas City, Missouri.  Chairing the meeting was Dr. Nora Wineland, Director, USDA Center of Animal Welfare.

Gary Phillips, (President, OKPP) represented the Oklahoma Pet Professional.  Other industry leader present in the photo were:

Front Row (L to R): Betty Goldentyer, DVM (USDA); Nora Wineland, DVM (USDA); Robert Gibbens, DVM (USDA)

Middle Row (L to R): Belinda Donley (MNPBA-Minnesota); Nancy Magnusson (IPBA-Iowa); Barb York (MAHA-Missouri); Karen Strange (MOFED-Missouri); Cathy Griesbauer (PPA-Missouri); Maria Stille (PPA-Missouri); Lorilee Thomas (KPP-Kansas); Kyle Haag (MNPBA-Minnesota); Gary Sanborn (DPBA-South Dakota) 

Back Row (L to R): Karen Highland (NEMPP-Nebraska); Vicki Tidwell (PPB-Texas); Daniel Reece (IPBA-Indiana); Gary Phillips (OKPP-Oklahoma); Bob Yarnall, Jr. (PPDBA-Pennsylvania); Craig Mabray, DVM (USDA); Denny Neises (DPBA-South Dakota); Victor McShan (Louisiana)

Also present at the USDA-APHIS meeting were representative of the Breeders Associations of New York, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.

One of the many highlights from this meeting was the in-depth discussion of the importation of puppies into the United States by rescue organizations.  The United States Animal Welfare Act (AWA) generally prohibits the importation of any dogs under 6 months of age.  However, animal rights rescue organizations have been importing puppies under 6 months of age using a provisional exception of “need for veterinary care.”

Dr. Gibbens said: “The USDA-APHIS will actively investigate any individual or organization violating the AWA.  However, the USDA-APHIS does not have the personnel or funding to set up drag-net teams along the US borders.”  Dr. Gibbens also said the USDA-APHIS would have to rely on case by case reported incidences of violations.  The same type of discussion regarding the USDA-APHIS definitive policy was also made for retail rescues selling dogs over the Internet.

The bottom line is that if we (the pet industry) wish to curtail the supply of rescues’ imported puppies and rescue retailing... each of us must be vigilant in looking for animal rights groups violating the AWA and we must report any violation(s) to USDA-APHIS!