Recently, an issue that could lead to a health crisis, if not addressed, was brought to my attention.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dogs remain the principal source of human rabies infections across the globe, and it is estimated that more than 1 million dogs are imported to the United States each year. While the U.S. eliminated the canine rabies virus variant in 2007, since then, three cases of canine rabies have been reported in dogs imported to the U.S. Additionally, as of Jan. 31, 2019, the CDC no longer requires any documentation from animals coming from Mexico or Canada.

To help protect our communities and state, I authored Senate Bill 533 this session, which would require a person who transfers a domestic dog or cat from another country to Indiana to provide an electronic or paper copy of the animal’s veterinary inspection or official health certificate to the recipient of the animal.

Right now, it is hard for us to know if many of the animals coming into our country are vaccinated. Since some diseases that affect dogs and cats can be transferred to humans, it is important Indiana has measures in place to ensure animals have a clean bill of health before entering our state.

SB 533 recently passed the Senate unanimously and will now be considered by the House of Representatives.

As an added protection, SB 533 would also require the person who receives the animal to provide the State Board of Animal Health with a copy of the veterinary inspection or official health certificate at least 30 days after receiving the animal.

SB 533 recently passed the Senate unanimously and will now be considered by the House of Representatives. If passed by the House and signed into law by the governor, I believe this legislation would give Indiana the protection we need to help prevent certain health scares.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding this issue or others, contact me by email at Senator.Leising@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.

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