Four years ago in 2006, nearly 300,000 dogs were estimated to have crossed United States’ borders, and the problem is growing.
Consumer demand for pure-bred and cross-bred puppies coupled with strict new domestic breeding laws is believed to be driving importation numbers even higher than four years ago.
Federal regulators have no real way of tracking exactly how many dogs are brought into the country, where they come from, where they are going, and whether importers are following up on vaccination requirements for underage puppies.
"One thing that really concerns veterinarians is, underage puppies come in and not only are they at greater risk of zoonotic diseases, but also other canine diseases," says Nina Marano, DVM, of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division of Global Migration and Quarantine. "It is a concern. It's a consumer issue; it's a public health issue; it's a veterinary issue. Really, it's a moral and ethical issue."