The demand for dog ownership is higher than the supply, and those who breed dogs are facing more regulation.
As people consider having a pet before they have kids, the U.S has been cracking down on imports of dogs. This is because rabies and other types of diseases that spread to humans can return in places where it was all but eradicated due to the dog population.
This bill deserves attention! It would require every dog coming to the U.S to have a health certificate with proof of vaccinations issued by a USDA accredited veterinarian.
This year, the American Pet Products Association released a biennial survey showing that over 70% of households in America now own a pet, an increase from 67%. Over 1 million dogs are imported into the United States each year.
Millennials had the largest number of pet owners, at 32%, followed by Boomers and Gen X with numbers 27% and 24%.
What they’re saying: “People are shocked when they hear that a large percentage of dogs come from overseas,” says Sheila Goffe, Vice President for Government Relations for the American Kennel Club.
In fact, 37% of them come from China and 23% from Mexico or Brazil. The global demand has encouraged animal trafficking around the world, according to Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society of the United States.
“Some of them are going to pet stores, some of them are going to shelters, a lot of them are being sold online.”
Goffe says the USDA and U.S. Border Patrol are poorly equipped to monitor dogs that arrive in batches as big as 40 or 50 with fake health certificates that have been photocopied.
The number of dogs going to shelters and being euthanized has drastically declined over the last 50 years, thanks to spay/neuter programs and responsible dog ownership.
“There just aren’t enough dogs entering shelters,” said Patti Strand, president of National Animal Interest Alliance, who breeds Dalmatians for 52 years.
Even though there may be ethical puppy mills that exploit animals, most domesticated animals are bred by more ethical farmers.
Unfortunately, these farmers are probably going to come under fire in a few states or countries because of new laws which limit the conditions they can house and breed their animals in.
The “canine freedom trail” is one of many programs through which people transport dogs from states where shelters are full or crowded to states where there aren’t enough adoptable dogs.
Dog shelters in these Southwest countries have been facing overcrowding. As a result, more than 1,000 pups leave the Lone Star state every year and head north.
In the U.S, states like North Carolina and Utah are considering bills that would outlaw dog mills.
This is a bipartisan effort to help dogs who need better conditions than what they’re living in now, and it has support from animal rights activists across the country.
Today, it is primarily ugly or dangerous dogs that are euthanized.
And when you “rescue” a dog from an animal shelter, the animal may simply be a foreign import that was brought to America for profit.
Mark Cushing predicts that the lack of available dogs will worsen, as well as shortages in veterinarians and veterinary technicians. He also believes that pet ownership offers mental health benefits, which are “inexpressible.”
“Pets are here to stay,” he said. “We’re still early on this surge for demand for pets.”