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Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Sunday, May 9, 2004


Most airlines prohibit pets
in cabin on way to mainland


Question: The airlines tell us we cannot fly our pet from San Antonio to Hawaii in the baggage compartment during the months of May through September due to high temperatures. We want to know if there is any reason that we could not have our 14-year-old dog, a 12-pound Jack Russell Terrier, fly with us in the cabin when we relocate to Hickam Air Force Base in July. According to her vaccination records and what the Hawaii Department of Agriculture quarantine office tells us, she will be eligible for direct release from the airport if she arrives after July 16. Our problem is, can we get her there from Texas?

Answer: It appears most airlines will not allow pets -- no matter how small -- to fly in the cabin between the continental United States and Hawaii.

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the International Airline Transport Association set guidelines on pet travel, individual airlines may have different policies.

We did a quick check of American, Continental, Delta and United airlines and found that none allow pets in the cabin area for flights to Hawaii, although United makes an exception for guide dogs.

Continental says it allows "domesticated cats, dogs, pet rabbits and household birds to be carried in the aircraft cabin on all domestic flights (except to/from Hawaii)."

American says it allows checked or carry-on pets on domestic flights in the 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, while Delta says, "Due to the duration of the trip, pets to Hawaii are not permitted in the cabin and must travel along with baggage."

United says, "The State of Hawaii has a quarantine for all pets entering the state as either checked baggage or cargo. No pets in the cabin are permitted except for certified guide dogs."

The USDA notes that while some airlines allow passengers to carry their pets in the cabin of a plane, if they can fit under the seat, "Carry-on pets are not protected under the (Animal Welfare Act)."

The department also says that airlines that do accept animals must comply with federal guidelines, but "airlines are not required to carry live animals, and they reserve the right to refuse to carry an animal for any reason."

While each airline may have its own special regulations for carrying pets -- either as checked baggage, cargo or in-cabin -- the general guidelines are that the pets must be at least eight weeks old and weaned; and their travel crates must meet certain standards, including being large enough for the pet to lie down, turn around and stand freely.

We also checked with the local airlines about their pet polices on mainland flights.

Aloha Airlines' policy is simple: it does not accept pets on flights to and from the mainland or on the mainland, said spokesman Stu Glauberman.

Hawaiian Airlines, citing Hawaii animal quarantine laws, says it accepts only service animals (dogs or other animals for the blind, deaf, or disabled; dogs to detect explosives) in the cabin on flights to and from Hawaii "because they have an exemption from confinement at the Hawaii quarantine facility."

During the hotter summer months, Hawaiian will not carry any pets to and from Sacramento, Phoenix and Las Vegas, said spokesman Keoni Wagner. It will, however, carry pets to and from its other mainland destinations.

You should check with individual airlines, but two good sources for advice and information about airline pet policies is pettravel.com, which bills itself as "the worldwide travel guide for pet owners," and petsonthego.com, "the definitive e-guide for pet travel information."

Q: What is the law regarding raising livestock, a pig in particular, in a suburban neighborhood? The pig is being kept in a small enclosure in the back yard and the stench from its feces and urine is very powerful.

A: You can keep pigs and other farm animals in residential areas, but only if general and special requirements are met.

For example, under Sec. 7-2.4 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, a general requirement is that enclosures for farm animals (as well as other animals and poultry) meet all applicable zoning and building code requirements for structures; not be located within any required front, side or rear yard setback; and meet all other applicable sanitation requirements.

A special requirement is that "enclosures for farm animals shall not be located within 300 feet of any property line."

The Honolulu Police Department, not the Hawaiian Humane Society, is responsible for enforcing the city's animal nuisance laws.


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