The information below provides general rules for importing any animal into Wisconsin. Species-specific information and other references regarding the movement of animals are listed in the left menu. Reminder, you cannot sell, move, or dispose of any animal tested for a reportable disease (refer to Appendix A and Appendix B) until the results of the test are known.
Importing Animals Into Wisconsin
Animal imports must comply with regulations established by the State of Wisconsin and the federal government. If you are importing animals from another nation, please contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture or other appropriate agency for more information.
If you are moving animals out of Wisconsin to another state or nation, you must meet the import requirements of the place where the animals are being sent. Animal movement rules are determined by the destination state or country. Wisconsin has no animal export regulations, although animals being exported will still need to meet requirements for movement within the state. Animals leaving and then returning to Wisconsin will need to meet the Wisconsin import requirements for its species.
With very few exceptions, all animals brought into Wisconsin need a certificate of veterinary inspection, also known as a CVI or health certificate. This is an official document that says a licensed veterinarian has examined the animals and found them to be healthy for travel. In some cases, the veterinarian must also attest that the animals have not been exposed to disease or must provide proof of negative tests or vaccinations for specific diseases. This applies to all types of animals, from livestock to wild species and menagerie animals and pets brought into Wisconsin in personal vehicles and animals purchased from sources outside the state. Per federal law, the veterinarian must issue the CVI within 10 days of examining the animal, and CVIs are good for 30 days from the date the animal is examined (not the date the CVI is written).
Imports that do not require a CVI are:
- animals being brought to a veterinary facility for treatment that will return to the state of origin with no change of ownership;
- animals returning to their place of origin after receiving treatment at a veterinary facility in another state;
- equines from Minnesota participating in a trail ride or other event that will be in Wisconsin for less than seven (7) days with no change in ownership (see the equine page for additional information); and
- animals sent directly to a slaughter establishment.
If tests are required for animal movement, the test results must be current and complete; not out-of-date or "pending."
Some imports also require an import permit. The import permit process involves faxing or emailing to the import coordinator the appropriate, completed permit application form and a copy of the CVI. You can download a permit application form here or request a permit application by calling (608) 224-4874 weekdays between 7:45 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Central Time. Import permits are issued during the department’s regular business hours. There is no option for obtaining permits after-hours or during weekends or furlough days, so please plan ahead.
Importing Animals from Outside the United States
Animals shipped to Wisconsin from outside the United States must meet the import requirements established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). That information can be obtained from the appropriate agency.
The following species are known carriers of highly contagious diseases and may not be imported to Wisconsin:
- Prairie dogs
- Tree squirrels
- Rope squirrels
- Gambian giant pouched rats
- Brush-tailed porcupine
- Striped mice
Importation of native wild species and species classified as a harmful wild animal by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources must be approved by the WDNR. Please go to the WDNR website for more information.