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Thursday, May 4, 2000

Hawaii Pet Quarantine

Military may get help
on pet quarantine fees

By Gregg K. Kakesako


Congress is moving to bring relief to military personnel who bring their pets to the islands.

Hawaii Rep. Neil Abercrombie today said the House Military Personnel Subcommittee adopted his proposal -- to be included in the 2001 Defense Authorization bill -- that would authorize a $275 reimbursement for state pet quarantine fees. Pet owners now have to pay $655 for a minimum 30-day stay in quarantine for a cat or dog. For those who do not meet specific pre-quarantine qualifications, the cost is $1,080 for a 120-day stay.

The military estimates that 1,645 military pets are brought into the islands annually.

The budget bill, with Abercrombie's proposal, now goes to the full House Armed Services Committee, which will meet next week to begin final deliberations. It then will be sent to the House floor for a vote.

Abercrombie said he views his proposal as an interim effort, pending a recommendation from the Pentagon to fully compensate military owners for quarantine costs.

"That is what I am pushing for," he said. "Pet owners don't have a choice, they are assigned here and pets are part of their family. This is an enormous morale problem, not only in Hawaii, but also on Guam ... The expense is just killing people."

Abercrombie said proposals to offset the costs of animal quarantine fees for military personnel include full reimbursement or the state could be authorized to bill the Pentagon for sheltering pets.

Hawaii lawmakers this session also worked to try to bring relief to military pet owners.

Sen. Cal Kawamoto proposed a discount of 75 percent for junior officers and enlisted personnel and 50 percent for officers of higher ranks. Sen. Norman Sakamoto proposed a $300,000 a year supplement to the agriculture department's special quarantine fee fund for two years to defray the costs.

Kawamoto's office said a compromise measure was adopted that set aside $500,000 to lessen the cost of quarantining pets. A new fee schedule would have to be established.

Quarantine Info

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