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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 11:54 a.m., Thursday, July 25, 2002

State weighing animal quarantine proposals

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

State agriculture officials today were to hear two separate proposals to change Hawai'i's quarantine laws but as of midday had made no decision on whether to hold public hearings on either.

The Board of Agriculture, meeting at the State Capitol, was scheduled to listen to a plan submitted by state veterinarian Dr. James Foppoli that would add a 5-day quarantine option to existing laws.

The board listened also to a proposal from a community coalition that seeks to eliminate quarantine for properly vaccinated pets.

Any changes would have to survive a lengthy public hearing and approval process that could last nine months.

The current rules, adopted in 1997 after lengthy debate, call for a 90-day waiting period before arrival in Hawai'i and 30 days of confinement once the animal is here. In addition, the animal must undergo two tests for rabies, at least two rabies vaccinations, with the second one given no sooner than three months after the first, and a microchip inserted for identification.

Dogs and cats that do not meet these requirements must stay in quarantine for 120 days.

Foppoli's proposal would not replace any of these but would instead offer an option for people who know in advance they are moving to Hawai'i. To qualify for the 5-day program, a pet must undergo a series of vaccinations and vet-supervised monitoring 180 days before arrival.

The community coalition's proposal would eliminate the 90-day waiting period and 30-day quarantine, but retain the use of a microchip. Pets would need a rabies shot and booster no less than three months apart and not more than one year apart. A blood test would be taken after the last rabies shot.