Dear Daisy Dog
I live in Pennsylvania, where many puppy mills have recently closed. Nevertheless, the pet stores seem to be as well stocked with puppies as before. Where are they coming from?
Many are imported from countries where regulations on commercial breeders and exporters are lax.
Hundreds of thousands of dogs enter the United States every year. While some are traveling with their families, most are puppies destined for pet stores, Internet sales companies, animal brokers and research facilities.
Too often, imported puppies become ill soon after arrival in this country and have genetic problems that manifest later in life. In addition to inherited abnormalities, imported puppies have higher-than-normal incidences of parvo virus, pneumonia, rabies and ringworm.
Veterinarians and public health officials worry that some of these puppies carry serious, exotic diseases that may spread to domestic pets and humans.
For example, a pup imported from India exposed eight people and one dog to rabies. The humans received injections to prevent rabies infection, and both dogs were euthanized.
In addition to disease risk, imported puppies are usually not well socialized with other dogs or humans. To meet market demand, pups are shipped when very young, and importers don’t take the time to socialize them as a conscientious breeder would.