Honolulu Star-Bulletin Local News

Pet owners rejoice:
Quarantine is cut to 30 days

By Harold Morse

Dogs and cats entering Hawaii will be quarantined 30 days - instead of the current 120 days - provided several conditions are met.

The state Board of Agriculture voted for the change yesterday. But if any one of the prescribed conditions are not met, the pet will be quarantined the full 120 days, the longtime requirement.

The new quarantine plan now goes to the governor for his signature. If he signs it, the measure will become effective 10 days later.

At earlier public hearings, 161 people testified on the issue, said Ann Takiguchi, spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture, with 143 favoring the reduction and 18 opposing it.

The board unanimously approved the proposed 30-day quarantine program with several conditions:

Two rabies vaccinations must be administered at least 90 days before the pet leaves for Hawaii.

Two serological tests must be administered, one at least 90 days before the pet leaves for Hawaii and another upon arrival.

A microchip issued by the state of Hawaii must be implanted in the pet at least 90 days before it leaves for Hawaii.

A valid health certificate in English must be available when the pet arrives.

Sometime during the first 90 days following the 30-day quarantine, state inspectors must visit the animal to check on its well-being.

At yesterday's meeting, state veterinarian Calvin Lum summarized the testimony and discussed the risk.

At earlier hearings, veterinarians and other professionals said the 120-day quarantine is necessary to keep Hawaii rabies-free. But pet owners said they think that, with new technology and prevention techniques, a 30-day quarantine is enough.

Lum said at the final hearing that the incubation time for rabies may range from a few weeks to a year, and this poses the dilemma.

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