Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Veterinarian's Perspective on Health Certificate Laws

 (Posted with permission from Dr. Hreiz)

Dear ________,

Eric forwarded me your e-mail regarding concern over the requirement of a health certificate for rabbits crossing into the state.  As a veterinarian that routinely writes health certificates, I thought I would share my perspective with you over this requirement.

Believe it or not, this law is in place in almost every single US state requiring all companion animals and a myriad of exotic species to have a health certificate when crossing state lines.  Is this law strictly enforced?  Not at all.  I live in North Carolina and work right over the border in South Carolina.  There are many mornings I bring my retired racing Greyhound to the clinic for the day.  Do I prepare a health certificate for this 25 minute journey?  Absolutely not.  So from a legal standpoint I've broken this law at least 25 times.  The average rabbit breeder breaks this law every single weekend when driving to a show in another [state].  The typical family traveling home for Thanksgiving breaks this law multiple times as they cross over into each state on the way.  Simply put, there is virtually no way to enforce this law the way it is written.  The law is broken probably a million times per day.  

These laws are in place primarily for shipment of animals via air.  I routinely write health certificates for stray dogs in South Carolina that are being shipped via air to the northeast and placed into adoption homes.  So while I think the law looks alarming upon first inspection, it is important to realize the the enforcement of this law is not done.  Most US states do not have an inspection station when you're crossing state lines.  The only caveat to this would be a toll booth I guess - but even there a toll worker is clearly not interested if your beloved dog is in the back seat with the kids.

I hope this helps!


Jay Hreiz
Chair, ARBA Rabbit & Cavy Health Committee

1 comment:

  1. So because a law is poorly written and not enforced we shouldn't worry about it? That seems like shaky logic at best, all's good until one person gets pulled over by a cop with an AR agenda, to bad for that poor sucker huh?