Make sure new puppy has papers
June 3, 2014
CDC issues health alert about imported dogs with falsified
Date: June 2, 2014
Media Contacts: Jim Dick, Communications Director,
MADISON, Wisconsin – Animal health
officials at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer
Protection (DATCP) are reminding consumers and veterinarians to verify
paperwork accompanying a new puppy. This
reminder comes as a result of a U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Health
Alert issued recently reporting an increasing number of dogs shipped to the
United States with questionable documentation of prior rabies vaccination.
“In order to ensure that you are
purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder, we recommend that you purchase
from a local breeder that will allow you to see the puppy before you make the
final purchase,” says Dr. Yvonne Bellay, humane animal program manager for
According to the CDC, the dogs are being
sold online, by independent sellers or in pet stores or adopted through both
U.S. and international sources. They
include purebred, hybrid or mixed breeds and some distributors are providing
breed registration papers. Dogs are
being imported from rabies-endemic countries and in several instances importers
have provided inaccurate rabies vaccine certificates. Documents also state that the puppies are older than 4
months of age and fully immunized against rabies. Upon examination, these
animals are found to be younger than 4 months old and sometimes as young as 4-8
weeks of age. Documentation may also claim that the puppy was born and raised
in the United States.
some things you can do to protect yourself, Bellay says. You should be wary if the breeder from whom
you are considering purchasing a puppy does any of the following:
let you see where the puppies or dogs are kept. If the breeder refuses to let you see where
the puppies are kept or offers to meet you in a parking lot instead, be
suspicious. They may not want you to see the conditions of the facility where
the dogs are kept.
or unwilling to provide information about veterinary care. Breeders and shelters are required to provide
a certain level of veterinary care to animals in their possession. If they are either unable to provide
documentation of such care or are unwilling to provide the information to you,
be suspicious. A dog seller should be
able to provide you with detailed documentation of the dates of care and the
care given. Also make sure to ask about a health guarantee. What will the breeder do for you if the puppy
gets sick or, worse, dies?
Advertisements do not list a license
A licensed breeder will have a valid license number and it will be
listed in any advertisements or on their website. Not all breeders are required to be licensed
if they sell fewer than 25 dogs per year, but it is prudent to look for a license
number which will look like this: 123456-DS.
Does not have the parent on site.
If you can't see at least the dam of the litter, forget it. Breeders will often seek a stud that will
best match their dam, so they may not have both parents, but they should at
least have one.
For your own protection and for that
of your new puppy, do your research and know what to look for when shopping for
a puppy or dog.
“We have many resources available on
our website to help with the responsible purchase of a new puppy including
questions you should ask and tips for internet shopping,” Bellay says.
DATCP implemented a law that requires some dog breeders and others involved in
dog sales, adoptions and sheltering to be inspected and licensed to ensure the
safety and well-being of the dogs and ensure that purchasers are protected as
well. The law requires the department to
inspect and license every dog seller and dog facility in the State of Wisconsin
that sells more than 25 dogs a year from more than 3 litters. It also requires
that the dogs be examined by a veterinarian before they are sold or adopted and
prohibits the sale of puppies until they are at least 7 weeks old.
Link to the DATCP website here for questions to ask before you buy a puppy, a list of licensed dog sellers in
Wisconsin, and background information on the Wisconsin law. If you’ve run across
a breeder that has caused you concern, you are urged to report them to DATCP at