CDFA Policy on Pet and Exotic Birds. Etc.

Policy on Pet and Exotic Birds Housed in Cages within Enclosed Structures
Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) is a highly contagious, often fatal viral disease of birds. END may cause respiratory, digestive, and nervous signs. Some pet bird species show few clinical signs but shed the virus and can spread the disease to other susceptible birds. There is no treatment for the disease and vaccination is of limited value.

An outbreak of END is currently occurring in Southern California. The disease eradication program includes surveillance for infected birds, and euthanasia of all birds on premises either confirmed positive for END (infected premises) or that have a direct epidemiological link to an infected premises (dangerous contacts).

The best way to stop END is to euthanize all birds on infected premises and all those that are dangerous contacts. Pet and exotic birds “enclosed” (or housed) in cages within enclosed structures or housed in outdoor caging under specified conditions may be exempted from euthanasia according to the following policy. This policy will be reviewed if there is a change in the role of “enclosed” birds in this outbreak.

Birds considered for exemption from euthanasia include:

A. Endangered species (protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act) assessed in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is authorized to quarantine, seize, or destroy endangered species.

B. Rare and/or threatened species as listed in the CITES Appendices, I & II.

C. Genetically significant species or strains of exotic or domestic avian species as determined by the END task force.

D. Caged birds with an effective biosecurity program that protects them from END.

• An appropriate biosecurity program includes: avoiding contact with affected birds; isolating birds from loose birds in the neighborhood; preventing people from spreading the disease on contaminated clothing, shoes, and vehicles; and cleaning and disinfecting all equipment and supplies in contact with affected birds.

• Owners who do not have outside birds will be considered at lower risk than those who have outside birds.

• If birds are housed outside other risk factors will be considered including:

  • Are birds caged, with covering over the feeding and watering areas?

  • Are birds isolated from potential END carriers (including rodents and free-ranging birds)?

  • Are there free-ranging poultry in the neighborhood?

  • Is there a fence that separates the property from free-ranging poultry and other vectors?

  • Birds included in categories A-D will be evaluated and either euthanized, quarantined on the premises in a manner prescribed by the END task force, or taken to a USDA quarantine station at the discretion of the END task force Incident Commander.

    Any birds exempted from euthanasia will be tested, examined, and isolated at the owner’s expense and in the manner prescribed by the END task force. Isolation facilities must provide secure bio-containment against END.

    If the bird is quarantined the owner/operator must:

    i. Sign a compliance agreement (attached).

    ii. Provide a biosecurity plan that meets the standards required by the END task force.

    iii. Allow cloacal swab samples to be taken by a state or federal animal health official for virus isolation. A minimum of two consecutive negative samples at least 15 days apart are required.

    iv. Agree to additional guidelines for determining when the quarantine can be removed as discussed at the time the compliance agreement is signed.

    The quarantine will remain in place for a minimum of 30 days. The quarantine will not be lifted until surveillance has been completed in the neighborhood around the quarantined premises (in an approximately 1-kilometer zone) and until there are no infected premises within a 3-kilometer zone around the quarantined premises.

    Birds will be euthanized if test results show that an exempted bird is infected with END.

    [Pursuant to Food and Agricultural Code Section 9562]


    1. California Department of Food and Agriculture (hereinafter “the Department”)
                 Contact: Dr. Richard Breitmeyer, State Veterinarian
                                Telephone: 800-491-1899
    2. Owner of Bird(s):
                 Name:             ___________________________________
                 Address:          ___________________________________
                 Telephone:       ___________________________________


    1. On October 1, 2002, an outbreak of Exotic Newcastle Disease (hereinafter “END”) was confirmed in Southern California. END is a highly contagious and often fatal viral disease that affects most species of birds. END is especially virulent, with many birds dying without showing any clinical signs of the disease.

    2. Food and Agricultural Code section 9562 provides the Department with the authority to order the movement, segregation, isolation, or destruction of animals or food products during quarantine.

    3. Food and Agricultural Code section 9574 provides that any person who negligently or intentionally violates quarantine shall be civilly liable in an amount not to exceed $25,000. Food and Agricultural Code section 9701 provides that a first quarantine violation may be cited as an infraction, with second and subsequent violations constituting misdemeanor offenses.

    4. Owner acknowledges that he/she has been personally served with an Animal Health and Food Safety Services quarantine due to the possible exposure of birds on the premises to END.

    Quarantine Number     _____________________________

    Date                          _____________________________

    5. Owner further acknowledges that he/she will execute and comply with the terms and conditions of this compliance agreement with the Department.


    As Owner, I certify that I understand and will comply with the following conditions for home quarantine of my bird(s).

    1. Birds and associated equipment will not be moved in or out of the quarantined home located at:
    Address:     _____________________________
    2. The following bird(s) will be home quarantined according to this compliance agreement:

    Breed/Species Number Physical Condition Identification

    3. Owner will do the following to minimize the potential risk of spreading disease (Biosecurity):

    a) Keep bird(s) confined and in an enclosure (e.g. within a cage which is inside a residence or secure aviary).
    b) Prevent free-ranging poultry from entering the property.
    c) Isolate the bird(s) from visitors.
    d) Do not share birds, equipment or feed with other bird owners.
    e) Avoid unnecessary contact with other people’s birds. Infected birds may not look sick! f) Prior to coming in contact with birds:
    •Hands: Wash your hands in soap and water for 10 to 20 seconds.
    •Feet: Remove or thoroughly clean your shoes, paying particular attention to the soles. Spray soles with a disinfectant or use a disinfectant foot dip at the entrance to your property.
    •Other: Shower and change into clean clothing.
    g) Keep visitors to your property to a minimum. If you have visitors, they should wash their hands and clean their shoes and do not let them near your birds.
    4. Owner will permit the bird(s) to be tested for END at a minimum of two times at least 15 days apart. The final test will occur after the area is considered free of END. Additional tests may occur.

    5. The owner will call the Department at (800) 491-1899 immediately if bird(s) are showing signs of illness or have died.

    6. If any bird on the quarantined premises is diagnosed with END, all birds on the premises will be humanely euthanized. If a regulatory veterinarian determines that the quarantined bird(s) have been exposed to END all birds on the premises will be humanely euthanized. Exposure may be due to non-compliance with the biosecurity practices listed above.

    7. Owner acknowledges that he/she has been provided with a copy of Food and Agricultural Code section 9562, and accepts the State Veterinarian's authority to act thereunder without consultation with Owner. Such authority includes, but is not limited to, decisions related to the need to quarantine poultry, poultry products and any associated equipment and property for isolation, depopulation and destruction. Owner further acknowledges that the State Veterinarian may require amendments to this compliance agreement at any time.

    Date: ______________                                                      ____________________________________

    Date:______________                                                      ____________________________________
                                                                                                California Department of Food and Agriculture
                                                                                                (Print name)___________________________
                                                                                                (Title)______________________ __________
                                                                                                Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force
                                                                                                Animal Health and Food Safety Services

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