Current rules call in part for a 30-day quarantine. Ashley Sandoval of Virginia visited her dog at Halawa in 1997.

State looks at cutting
time in quarantine

Pets' stay would be 5 days instead
of 30, the state vet says

By Janis L. Magin
Associated Press

The state is preparing a proposal to cut Hawaii's 30-day pet quarantine to as little as five days for pets entering the only state in the nation that is rabies-free, state veterinarian James Foppoli said yesterday.

A risk assessment looking at reducing the 30-day confinement for all dogs and cats entering Hawaii is under review, Foppoli said. It will be presented to the state Board of Agriculture at the board's July meeting if it is ready in time, he said.

The state's main goal is to prevent the introduction of rabies into Hawaii, he said.

"Our changes are being made based on science," Foppoli said. "If, based on science, we can justify further cuts in the future, then we're willing to make those kind of changes."

Tish Uyehara, deputy to state Department of Agriculture Chairman James Nakatani, said the proposal will cut quarantine time, but the number of days that will be cut has not been disclosed because it is still under review.

The earliest the change would take effect would be in February or March of next year, Foppoli said. Once the proposal clears the board, the state will hold public hearings, and the final proposal must be approved by the governor.

Hawaii's strict quarantine was imposed in 1912 to prevent rabid animals from entering the state.

Revised rules adopted in 1997 call for a 90-day waiting period before arrival in Hawaii and 30 days of confinement once the animal is in Hawaii. The animal also must undergo two rabies vaccinations.

Rules previously required a 120-day quarantine in Hawaii alone, which remains in effect for dogs and cats that do not meet the requirements before they arrive.

Hawaii's quarantine confinement has been criticized as an emotional and financial burden for families moving to Hawaii with their pets. Pet owners have to pay for the various tests and pay for their pets' stay at the quarantine station.

David Tarnas, neighbor island representative of Citizens for a Safer Quarantine, said that while his group favors controlling rabies in Hawaii, there are ways to accomplish that without confining animals, by using a combination of vaccines, tests and microchips.

"I think if you look at the way rabies is controlled internationally, Hawaii could take a bolder step and not even have the quarantine," said Tarnas of Waimea on the Big Island.

The Hawaiian Humane Society, whose Kauai facility is a satellite quarantine station, also supports finding the most humane way of keeping rabies out of the islands, said spokeswoman Eve Holt.

"The Humane Society advocates for a system that can safely eliminate or minimize the time animals spend in quarantine and cause the least disruption to the human-animal bond," she said.

E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin