These are just two of the hundreds of horror stories we have encountered here at The HSUS, but we are now hopeful that things will take a turn for the better. Under the USDA final rule, which goes into effect in 90 days, dogs cannot be imported for resale unless they are at least six months of age, in good health, and have all necessary vaccinations.
This is a long-awaited victory for us at The HSUS and for our affiliated political arm, the Humane Society Legislative Fund. The decisive moment in this battle came six years ago when we succeeded in persuading Congress to add a provision to stop puppies bred in foreign puppy mills from being imported into the United States, as an amendment to the 2008 Farm Bill. Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who chaired the Senate Agriculture Committee, championed the language in the bill. The USDA did not issue a proposed rule until September 2011, and then it took three more years for today's announcement.
Despite our frustration with the delays, we acknowledge the USDA's action today and celebrate it. We salute our supporters who kept pressing the case: more than 53,000 of you wrote to the USDA to encourage them to finalize the rule as quickly as possible. We are also grateful to other lawmakers who urged the USDA, time and again, to adopt the rule, including Senators Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and David Vitter, R-La., and Reps. Sam Farr, D-Calif., Jim Gerlach, R-Penn. and Dina Titus, D-Nev.