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Leising: Bill to address animal importation issue passes House committee

Contact: Lindsey Ross, Senior Press Secretary

STATEHOUSE (March 21, 2019) – A bill authored by State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) that would help address an animal importation issue facing Indiana today passed the House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development unanimously.

Senate Bill 533 would require a person who transfers a domestic dog or cat from a foreign country to Indiana to provide a copy of the animal’s veterinary inspection or official health certificate to the recipient of the animal. The recipient then must submit a copy electronically or on paper to the Board of Animal Health within 30 days.

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), globally, dogs remain the principal source of human rabies infections. While the United States eliminated the canine rabies virus variant in 2007, since then, four cases of canine rabies were reported in dogs imported to the U.S. Additionally, the CDC estimates that more than one million dogs are imported to the U.S. each year. As of Jan. 31, 2019, the CDC does not require any documentation from Mexico or Canada.

“We do not know if most of the animals coming into the United States are even vaccinated,” Leising said. “This issue could lead to a serious public health crisis, as regulations are not strong enough to prevent dogs and cats with rabies from coming into our country. This legislation, if passed, would help keep Indiana residents safe by requiring those who import dogs and cats to our state to have paperwork that proves the animals have been vaccinated and have good health.”

SB 533 will now move to the full House for consideration.


For a high-resolution photo of Sen. Leising, click here.