News Release: December 16, 2003

Posted on Dec 16, 2003 in 2003 News Releases, News-Releases

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2003 NR03-22

Travel Made Easier for Resident Pets

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Board of Agriculture today approved rule changes that would make it easier for pets residing in Hawaii to travel out of the state and return under the Five-Day-or-Less rabies quarantine program.  The following are the major rule changes approved by the Board:

·         Pets residing in Hawaii will not have to complete the 120-day waiting period from the date of the OIE-FAVN blood test which is required for pets arriving from rabies areas.  The test must be taken no less than 14 days prior to departure from Hawaii and a passing test result must be received prior to the pet’s re-entry into the state. (Due to the variable time taken for testing laboratories to complete the tests, it is strongly recommended that pet owners complete the test well in advance and verify a passing test result prior to departure.  Pets without a passing test will be quarantined for up to 120 days upon return.) Two rabies vaccinations are still required, but the most recent vaccination must be at administered at least 14 days prior to the pet’s departure from Hawaii (rather than a 90-day waiting period required for pets arriving from rabies areas).


·         Hawaii pets that travel frequently will be charged a reduced fee of $78 for the second time the pet re-enters the state and for subsequent entries during the period that the OIE-FAVN blood test remains valid (18 months). The lower fee was established to reflect reduced processing of paperwork and validation for subsequent entries.


·         Inspections for guide dogs for the blind and service dogs for the disable will be conducted at plane-side rather than at the Airport office. Also, exemptions for guide and service dogs will be extended to the disabled from foreign countries.  Previously, the exemption applied only to citizens of the U.S.

Public hearings regarding the proposed rule changes were held across the state in November.  The Board today approved the rule changes, which will now go to the executive branch for review and approval.  It is too early to tell when the rules will actually go into effect.

“The new rules reflect the Department’s position to make reasonable and scientifically based modifications to Hawaii’s rabies exclusion programs,” said 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.”

A Five-Day-or-Less quarantine program went into effect on June 30, 2003.  Statistics released today by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), show that since the new program began, about 3,000 dogs and cats have entered the State, an increase of about 25 percent over arrivals from the year before.  Furthermore, in the month of November, about 83 percent of arriving pets qualified for direct release at Honolulu International Airport.


Rabies Quarantine Statistics for First Five Months of 5-Day-or-Less Quarantine



5-Day-or-Less Program



Total by Month


Direct Release (Airport)

Pets held 1 – 5 days




July 2003






August 2003






September 2003






October 2003






November 2004












TOTAL by program






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 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.); and,

·         Pet owners must also submit required paperwork more than 10 days prior to the pet’s arrival.

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: /hdoa/ai/aqs/info  An informational brochure, checklists, forms and “Frequently Asked Questions” are available on that webpage.


For more information on rabies quarantine programs and requirements, contact:
Rabies Quarantine Branch
(808) 483-7151 or (808) 483-7154
e-mail:  [email protected]
website:  /hdoa/ai/aqs/info


Media contact:

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