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Leising: Bill to address animal importation issue passes Senate

Contact: Lindsey Ross, Senior Press Secretary 

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 25, 2019) – A bill authored by State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) that would help address an animal importation issue facing Indiana today passed the Senate by a unanimous vote.

Senate Bill 533 would require a person who transfers a domestic dog or cat from a foreign country to Indiana to provide an electronic or paper copy of the animal’s veterinary inspection or official health certificate to the recipient of the animal.

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, three cases of canine rabies were reported in dogs imported to the U.S. Additionally, the CDC estimates that more than 1 million dogs are imported to the U.S. each year. As of Jan. 31, 2019, the CDC will 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, including proving rabies vaccination and their good health.”

The bill would also require the person who receives the animal to submit a copy of the veterinary inspection or official health certificate to the State Board of Animal Health within 30 days of receiving the animal.

SB 533 will now move to the House of Representatives.


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