Operation Santa Paws under way at U.S. points of entry

CBP, CDC and USDA work together to ensure animals imported to the United States meet federal regulations.

Operation Santa Paws under way at U.S. points of entry

CBP, CDC and USDA work together to ensure animals imported to the United States meet federal regulations.

Operation Santa Paws under way at U.S. points of entry

CBP, CDC and USDA work together to ensure animals imported to the United States meet federal regulations.

 
   The number of animals imported to the United States as cargo increases as the holidays near.
   U.S. Customers and Border Protection, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working together to ensure that animals imported to the U.S. meet federal regulations designed to protect consumers and animal health.
   “On average, we see 80 dogs imported as cargo weekly,” said Houston Area Port Director Raymond S. Polley. “In the months ahead of the holidays, the number increases about 30 percent.”
   When animals are imported to the United States, they may be met by representatives of several government agencies, including CDC representatives who ensure that requirements for regulated animals are met to prevent the importation of disease.
   According to the USDA, puppies can be imported for resale or adoption if they are in good health, have been vaccinated for rabies, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and parainfluenza virus, and are at least 6 months of age.

   “Sometimes, we see these puppies arriving from terribly long flights,” Polley said. “They are tired and in such a state. Our experienced officers work closely with CDC and USDA to ensure the imported puppies are in good health. This partnership yielded a turnkey operation that is replicated across the country.”
   In Houston in 2017, 108 dogs were denied entry and in 2018, 57 dogs were not allowed entry into the country. The work started in Houston has led some importers to try to circumvent authorities by sending their imported puppies through other international airports.
   “CBP, USDA and CDC across the country are enforcing federal regulations,” Polley said. “This time of year we dub our work Operation Santa Paws. We recognize that importers may try to meet the holiday demand by manipulating the animal’s records. It puts the consumer at risk and it definitely puts the animal at risk.”
The fear of U.S. tariffs pushed short-term demand and air freight rates in the transpacific this peak season, but rates have also been remarkably strong in the transatlantic and Europe-to-Asia routes this year.
Spot container rates from Shanghai to Los Angeles were $2,274 per FEU as of Jan. 17, while rates from Shanghai to New York were $3,245 per FEU, up 67 percent and 13 percent year-over-year, respectively, according to Drewry’s World Container Index.
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