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For Immediate Release: August 23, 2005


86% of incoming pets released at the Airport

HONOLULU – Since the implementation of the Five-Day-or-Less rabies quarantine program by the Lingle-Aiona Administration two years ago, the number of dogs and cats imported into the state has risen more than 62 percent.  Statistics from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) show that during Fiscal Year 2005, a total of 7,653 dogs and cats entered the state, compared to Fiscal Year 2003 when a total of 4,771 dogs and cats were imported to Hawaii.

Today, the Hawaii Board of Agriculture approved additional rule amendments proposed by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to further refine the rabies quarantine process. Statewide public hearings were held in July and the amendments now go for final review by the Attorney General’s Office and to Governor Lingle for signature. The more substantive amendments include extending the validity of the required rabies vaccination according to the manufacturer’s label and extending the validity of a passing blood test result from 18 months to 36 months.  There was also an amendment to allow greater flexibility for law enforcement agencies to utilize working dogs in quarantine.

Two-year statistics indicate that the vast majority of pet owners are taking advantage of the newest quarantine program, which allows pet owners to qualify their pets prior to arrival in Hawaii through rabies vaccinations, blood testing and a 120-day waiting period. Entry numbers for the second year of the Five-Day-or-Less rabies quarantine program indicate that 86 percent of the dogs and cats entering the state qualify for release at Honolulu International Airport after inspection.

"The Five-Day-or-Less program offers pet owners a reasonable option to actual quarantine and the high airport release rate indicates that most pet owners are able to comply with the requirements of the program," said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.  "The whole goal of the program is to reduce the burden on pets and their owners, while maintaining our high vigilance against the introduction of rabies.”

The following is the breakdown of data for fiscal year 2003, 2004 and 2005:



FY 2003

(July 02 – June 03)

Number of dogs & cats

FY 2004

(July 03 – June 04)

Number of dogs & cats

FY 2005

(July 04 – June 05)

Number of dogs & cats

Direct release at airport

Not Applicable

5,276 (77%)

6,596 (86%)

5-days or less

Not Applicable

171 (2.5%)

225 (3%)

30-day quarantine

3,292 (69%)

599 (9%)

220 (3%)

120-day quarantine

1,479 (31%)

788 (11.5%)

612 (8%)












The Five-Day-or-Less quarantine program went into effect on June 30, 2003, with further modifications added in February 2004. 

Under the Five-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 new rules will extend the validity of the 3-year vaccine to 3 years).  The two vaccinations may not be administered less than 90 days of each other; and the most recent 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 (OIE-FAVN) rabies test results with > 0.5 U/mil 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.);

·         Health certificate issued by an accredited veterinarian no more than 14 days before arriving in Hawaii indicating the pet is not showing signs of infectious or contagious disease and was treated for external parasites with fipronil or product with similar residual activity; and,

·         Required paperwork must be received more than 10 days prior to the pet's arrival. The 120-day quarantine program remains in effect for pets that do not qualify under the Five-Day-or-Less rules. The new rules will formally replace the 30-day program with a variable quarantine that requires the pet to be quarantined until the pet qualifies for release under the Five-Day-or-Less program, with the owners paying a per diem rate of $14.30 per day plus program fees.  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 120-day quarantine programs remains at $1,080.

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.


Media contact:

Janelle Saneishi
Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Phone: (808) 973-9560
To E-mail, click here