Illegal Ferret Captured in Hilo Over the Weekend
NR12-02 – January 25, 2012
HONOLULU – An illegal ferret was captured early Sunday morning (1/22/12) in the parking lot of Coqui’s Hideaway Restaurant & Sports Bar in Hilo. Around 1:00 a.m., a resident saw the ferret emerge from a parked moped and captured the animal. The animal was turned in to Hawaii Island Humane Society later that day and turned over to inspectors at the Hilo office of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) on Monday. The ferret was flown to Honolulu yesterday and is being safeguarded at HDOA’s Plant Quarantine Branch where it may be used for educational purposes until it can be shipped out of the state. Ferrets are strictly prohibited as pets under Hawaii law because they are potential carriers of the rabies virus. Although ferrets have been domesticated as pets outside of Hawaii, there have been numerous instances where these animals have reverted back to their feral state. As such, attacks on infants and young children have been reported and have resulted in some states restricting the importation and possession of these exotic animals.Anyone caught in Hawaii with a ferret or other illegal animals are subject to penalties including a maximum fine of $200,000 and up to three years in jail. Individuals with illegal pets are encouraged to turn them in to HDOA under the state’s Amnesty Program, which grants immunity to those who voluntarily come forward. Anyone with information or knowledge about other illegal animals is asked to call HDOA’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST(7378).