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For Immediate Release: August 1, 2003



HONOLULU - The new 5-day-or-less rabies quarantine program is only one month old, but off to a strong start. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) reports that since the shorter quarantine program became effective on June 30, more than half of the 600 pets that have entered the state have qualified for the program. Further, of the 320 pets that qualified under the 5-day-or-less program, 260 pets (81 percent) qualified for direct released upon arrival at Honolulu International Airport.

The following are quarantine statistics for cats and dogs arriving between June 30 and July 30, 2003:

5-DAY-OR-LESS 36 24 60
30-DAY 65 59 124
120-DAY 104 52 156

"The statistics reflect that the majority of pet owners are able to comply with the requirements of the 5-day-or-less program and we hope that as word travels, those numbers will increase," said Governor Linda Lingle. "It has been a pleasure to hear from many happy pet owners who are just thrilled that they can take their pet home directly from the airport."

"Pet releases at the airport have been going smoothly," reported Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. "It's been a very busy time for all the staff during the implementation of this program and they should be recognized for helping make this program work for everyone."

Under the 5-day-or-less program, pets may be released at Honolulu International Airport if they complete pre-arrival requirements, which include:

· Two rabies vaccinations, with the last vaccination administered no more than 12 months prior to arrival if it was a one-year vaccine, or no more than 18 months prior to arrival if it was a three-year vaccine. (The two vaccinations may not be administered within 90 days of each other; and the last vaccine must be administered no less than 90 days prior to the pet's entry into the state);

· Microchip implantation for identification purposes;

· Blood serum test results with sufficient level of rabies antibodies;

· 120-day pre-arrival waiting period between the time the lab receives the blood sample and the earliest date the pet may enter the state under the new program. (The pre-arrival waiting period is necessary due to the long and variable length of rabies incubation, where the virus may hide in an animal before clinical signs of the disease become apparent.); and,

· Pet owners must also submit required paperwork at least 10 days prior to the pet's arrival.

Pet owners who do not submit the required documents upon arrival will have their pets held in quarantine for up to five days or until all requirements are completed and documents submitted.

The program also allows Hawai`i residents to travel with their pets and return to the state without quarantine if they follow the specified procedures before they leave.

The five-day-or-less quarantine program is a third option to the 30-day and the 120-day quarantine programs, which remain in effect for pets that do not qualify under the new rules. Fees for the five-day-or-less program are $165 if the pet qualifies for direct release from the airport and $224 if the pet must be held for up to five days in quarantine. The cost of the 30-day and the 120-day quarantine programs remains at $655 and $1,080, respectively.

For more information on Hawaii's rabies quarantine programs, please go to the HDOA website at:<> An informational brochure, checklists, forms and "Frequently Asked Questions" are available on that webpage.


For more information, contact:

Janelle Saneishi
Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Phone: (808) 973-9560