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Abercrombie seeks to
aid pet owners in military

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie will explore the option of providing pet owners in the military with a reimbursement for rabies vaccination, testing and microchip requirements after the state Department of Agriculture approved new quarantine rules on April 17.

Since 2001, military personnel who are transferred to Hawaii have received financial assistance with quarantine costs.

"For several years, I have worked with Hawaii military commands in an attempt to ease the burden of pet quarantine for armed forces members stationed here. My efforts have resulted in extra funding in the Department of Defense budget to cover the costs of reimbursing each affected member or family $550 for quarantine fees," said Abercrombie, D-Hawaii.

"Even though the steep fees are of concern, the real issues at stake are the readiness and morale of our Hawaii-based troops."

An estimated 1,645 military personnel with pets relocate to Hawaii annually. About 35 percent of the 4,700 pet owners who move to the islands annually are in the military.

"Quarantine has been successful in keeping Hawaii rabies-free," said Abercrombie. "At the same times, these costs are a real burden on military families, particularly those in the junior enlisted grades. These folks have no say in where they're stationed, so it's fair that we help them with this expense of relocation."

The new rules approved by the Agriculture Board make it possible for dog and cats coming into the state to avoid quarantine or face reduced quarantine, provided their owners have met all requirements before arriving. The rules are subject to approval by several agencies and the governor.

Tony Gill will talk to ADA

Labor lawyer and Oahu Democratic Party Vice Chairman Tony Gill will speak before the Hawaii Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu meeting room, 1730 Punahou St., across from Punahou School.

The meeting is open to the public. Parking is available in back of the church.

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