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New W.Va. law gives horse owners a leg up

July 25, 2006

West Virginia horse owners may find it simpler to show their animals out of state, thanks to a new law that makes equine health certificates issued by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture good for six months.

The certificate was good for just 30 days in the past.

The change was for the convenience of horse owners, according to state Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglass.

"The equine industry is a significant and growing sector of the agricultural economy and it's important to encourage the industry while still protecting the health of all animals."

The new law also puts West Virginia on par with 12 other southern states.

"Uniformity of law among these states will make it a lot simpler for horse owners to move their animals across state lines for shows," said WVDA State Veterinarian Joe Starcher. "However, owners will still have to have their animals examined and have a Coggins test for equine infectious anemia."

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To legally cross state lines with their horses, owners must provide WVDA with:

· An "Equine Interstate Event Permit" application form (available at local veterinarians' offices).

· A photocopy of a certificate of veterinary inspection issued within 30 days of the application date.

· A photocopy of a current Coggins test that does not expire during the time the health certificate is valid.

· Digitized left, right and front photos so that the animal can be positively identified.

While traveling, horse owners must also maintain a travel log that includes in-transit stops, so that tracebacks are possible in the event of an animal disease outbreak.

Other states with equivalent laws and a memorandum of understanding with West Virginia include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

For more information, contact WVDA's Animal Health Division at 304-558-2214.

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