Board lets isle pets
return with minimal

Dogs and cats require a
blood test no less than 14 days
before leaving the state

The state Board of Agriculture approved changes to quarantine rules that would make it easier for Hawaii residents to travel with their pets.

Members voted yesterday to drop the requirement that Hawaii pets complete a 120-day waiting period from the date of their blood test before re-entering the state. The waiting period, which is still required of incoming pets from rabies-affected areas, meant many isle residents had to leave their pets at home when traveling.

"The new rules reflect the department's position to make reasonable and scientifically based modifications to Hawaii's rabies-exclusion programs," said chairwoman Sandra Lee Kunimoto. "We will continue to look for ways to make the process less burdensome, but our foremost concern is to keep Hawaii rabies-free."

The rule changes still need to be approved by Gov. Linda Lingle, who has supported previous changes that eased pet quarantine laws.

In June, Lingle signed new rules that allow for shorter stays in quarantine for all animals coming into the state, provided those animals meet strict requirements before arriving. Those rules, which took effect June 30, have allowed pet owners to claim their animals from quarantine in five days or less.

Traveling pets that don't meet restrictions are subject to existing rules, which call for animals to be confined for 30 days if immunization and testing requirements are met, or 120 days if they are not.

Ewa Beach resident Leonard Antonio, who owns champion show dogs, said he was happy that the board voted to remove the 120-day waiting period for Hawaii pets. Antonio said he plans to register his Doberman pinscher in a Cincinnati dog show next year.

Under the rule changes, pets would be required to have a blood test no less than 14 days before leaving Hawaii to verify that they have been vaccinated for rabies.

Pets that don't pass the test will be quarantined for a maximum of 120 days when they return.

To be eligible for the state's new five-day-or-less quarantine program, all pets entering Hawaii must have two rabies shots, a current certificate of health, an up-to-date blood test and microchip implantation for identification.

Other changes that the board approved yesterday include charging owners of Hawaii pets $78 instead of $165 for the second time their pet re-enters the state and for subsequent entries during the 18-month period that the blood test remains valid. A $165 fee for the first return to the state will remain the same for Hawaii pet owners.

Board members also approved to have inspections for guide and service dogs conducted at the airport gate instead of an office to make it more convenient for blind and disabled people.

Hawaii is the only rabies-free state in the nation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Pets stay 5 days or less

Nearly 3,000 dogs and cats have arrived in Hawaii from the mainland through the five-day program since it took effect on June 30. Under the program, pets may be released at Honolulu Airport if they complete pre-arrival requirements that include two vaccinations, microchip identification and a blood test. The latest figures show a 25 percent increase of pet arrivals compared to last year's figures. Last month, about 83 percent of pets that arrived qualified to be released at Honolulu Airport.

Statistics for the first five months of the five-day-or-less quarantine

Five-day-or-less program 30-day 120-day Total

Pets held
1 to 5 days
July 278 24 240 93 635
August 366 20 120 67 573
September 409 12 47 57 525
October 491 16 57 121 685
November 427 13 25 46 511
Total by program 1,971 85 489 384 2,929


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --