Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGrassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment MORE (D-Ill.) declared “victory for dog lovers” on Monday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued rules on the importation of puppies.

“The long awaited decision by the USDA is a victory for dog lovers, dog owners and the many dogs imported to the United States each year,” Durbin said.

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The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced final regulations to ensure puppies being imported to the United States are healthy and safe.

The new rule — which Durbin said is based on his legislative language — ensures dogs imported for resale are vaccinated, in good health and under six months old.

“In 2007, I introduced an amendment in the Farm Bill to help close a loophole that allowed puppies to be shipped into the United States for resale even when they were in poor health or far too young for travel,” Durbin said. “I thank Secretary [Tom] Vilsack for his efforts to ensure all dogs are treated with compassion and in a humane manner.”

Durbin said the rules were needed because veterinarians report that imported puppies suffer from higher than normal incidences of pneumonia, parvovirus, rabies, ringworm and severe congenital defects. He said there have been instances where puppies sent from Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Columbia and Mexico are being shipped when they’re too young and their immune systems haven’t fully developed.