Honolulu Star-Bulletin Local News

By Rod Thompson, Star-Bulletin
Rena Harper visits her dogs Booboo, Nosey and Snooper
at the state's first satellite animal quarantine facility,
in Orchidland on the Big Island.

State’s first satellite
quarantine facility is
‘a blessing’

The Bar-King Dog Kennel
is ‘heaven’ for owners of pent-up pets

By Rod Thompson

ORCHIDLAND, Hawaii -- Kelly Marie Spaur's tiny Yorkshire terrier, Michael Blue, is at the "Bar-King Hilton."

Michael is among dogs and cats taking advantage of the state's first satellite quarantine facility.

Relaxed quarantine rules haven't been approved yet, and most arriving animals must still spend 120 days in quarantine to assure they don't have rabies.

When Spaur and her husband, Jeffrey, recently arrived on the Big Island from California, they had to quarantine Michael 200 miles away at the state facility in Halawa Valley.

"It was like putting your child in prison for four months," Spaur said.

To see Michael, the Spaurs had to fly to Oahu, rent a car or take taxis, and generally stay overnight at a hotel, all for a maximum three-hour visit on weekends or Tuesdays through Thursdays.

It was traumatic.

"It was so tough that my husband would have to make me leave first because I was in tears," Spaur said.

Then Sarah Scanlon, who has operated the Bar-King Dog Kennel since 1981 in rural Orchidland, 14 miles south of Hilo, opened the new, private satellite quarantine this month.

The Spaurs transferred Michael, halfway through his quarantine period, to the new facility just mauka of their home in Hawaiian Paradise Park. Spaur can now visit Michael every day during her lunch hour.

"This has been a blessing for us. We're just in heaven," she said.

Rena Harper, a recent arrival from Washington state, has to make a bigger commitment to visit her Labrador-shepherd, Booboo, and two dachshunds, Nosey and Snooper.

Living in Waikoloa in west Hawaii, Harper has to drive two hours to Orchidland while her husband Frank stays in Waikoloa building their house.

It's still more convenient and cheaper than a flight to Honolulu.

And while everyone agrees the Oahu facility is well run, Harper says Bar-King is nicer.

For one thing, the Oahu facility has about 900 animals. Bar-King has 42 dog runs (four for quarantine) and 28 cat enclosures (12 for quarantine).

"It's a lot less noisy here," Harper said.

Bar-King also has an exercise yard, which the Oahu facility doesn't have.

Scanlon said the Legislature approved satellite facilities about three years ago, and she expected veterinarians to open some on the neighbor islands.

But there were so money requirements -- high land costs, double and triple entry gates, 24-hour staffing, etc. -- that most just gave up, she said.

Scanlon invested more than $100,000 for just 16 animal enclosures.

She couldn't have afforded the project without her nephew flying in from New Mexico to do the extensive masonry work, Scanlon said.

"It still for us is a big risk," she said. "It's not going to come back to us right away."

There are extra touches too, like hanging plants and ornamental ironwork.

"We did extra things that the dogs and cats don't care about. The people do. If the people aren't comfortable, it isn't going to work," she said.

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Community]
[Info] [Letter to Editor] [Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1997 Honolulu Star-Bulletin