[ OUR OPINION ]
can rejoice for
PETS arriving in Hawaii will be liberated under rules approved by the state Board of Agriculture, as long as their owners plan ahead. The rules will allow people moving to Hawaii to breeze through the airport without having to see their dogs and cats placed in Halawa Valley cages not far away from more deserving human prisoners. The new policy reflects advances in medical technology that should keep Hawaii rabies-free by requiring vaccinations, blood tests and identifying microchips. This is a major change that is cause for celebration by animal lovers.
The state Board of Agriculture has agreed to lift the quarantine for vaccinated pets arriving in Hawaii.
Before 1997, all incoming pets faced four months of incarceration in state animal quarantine. The quarantine period then was reduced to 30 days for pets that had undergone rabies vaccinations and met other requirements. The new rules, after being reviewed and approved by various state departments, will eliminate quarantine entirely for pets that passed blood tests 120 days before their arrival and meet further requirements.
STAR-BULLETIN / 1997|
Siblings cuddle their quarantined dog in a scene that may become history for many incoming pets.
Animals will continue to face the four-month quarantine if they fail to meet the requirements or 90 days if they were a month late preparing for the move. People who send proper documentation to the state before their arrival will be allowed to take their pets with them directly from the airport; those carrying the documentation with them will have to wait five days before being reunited with their pets.
Travel agencies should advise visitors about the new rules. Families planning their vacations at least four months in advance will be able to bring their pets with them, at a cost of $165 per animal, if they follow the required procedures. Hawaii residents also will be allowed to bring their pets with them on trips to the mainland if they take the same steps.
Chris Quackenbush, who heads a group that has been lobbying for change, complains that most people moving to Hawaii from the mainland don't have enough lead time to meet the requirements. However, most military personnel and others who relocate to the islands on short notice will gladly turn their dogs or cats over to friends and relatives on the mainland for a few months rather than place their pets in quarantine at a cost of more than $1,000.
About three-fourths of the 4,681 pets brought into the state last year qualified for the 30-day quarantine. State Veterinarian James Foppoli says he expects more than half will qualify for confinement of five days or less.
Britain, which used to have a six-month quarantine for incoming animals, relaxed the requirement for vaccinated pets arriving from Europe three years ago and extended the rules to North America in December. President Bush soon will be able to take his Scottish terrier, Barney, and springer spaniel, Spot, with him to London or Honolulu as long as he keeps their medical records current.