News Release: February 11, 2004

Posted on Feb 11, 2004 in 2004 News Releases, News-Releases

For Immediate Release: February 11, 2004 NR04-02


Travel Made Easier for Resident Pets

 HONOLULU – Beginning tomorrow, it will be easier for Hawaii pets to travel out of state and return under the Five-Day-or-Less quarantine program.  In addition, pets arriving from other areas will be allowed to stay in quarantine until they complete the requirements of the Five-Day-or-Less quarantine program for up to 120 days rather than automatically being assigned to 120 days quarantine only. The rule changes were approved by the Hawaii Board of Agriculture in December 2003 and were signed by Governor Linda Lingle on February 2.

“These new modifications to Hawaii’s rabies exclusion program fine-tune the Five-Day-or-Less quarantine program that was established in June,” said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.  “Because of Hawaii’s rabies-free status, resident pet owners who wish to travel with their pet will be able to qualify their pets sooner for re-entry without quarantine.”

The following are the major rule changes that become effective tomorrow, February 12:

·         Pets residing in Hawaii will not have to complete the full 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 result will be quarantined for up to 120 days upon return.) Two rabies vaccinations are still required, but the most recent vaccination must be administered no less than 14 days before the pet’s departure from Hawaii (rather than a 90-day waiting period which is still required for pets arriving from rabies areas).

·         Pets that travel frequently will be charged a reduced fee of $78 for direct airport release or $110 for five-day-or-less quarantine, for the second time the pet re-enters the state within the 18-month period that the most recent OIE-FAVN blood test and rabies vaccination used for the previous entry are still valid.  The lower fee was established to reflect reduced processing of paperwork and validation for subsequent entries.

·         Pets that are not able to complete the required waiting periods prior to entry, but meet all other requirements for the Five-Day-or-Less and 30-day programs, will be allowed to enter the state and stay in quarantine until the required waiting period has elapsed and be released from quarantine on the scheduled release date.  A fee of $14.30 for each day the pet arrives before its required waiting period is completed will be charged in addition to regular program fees.  Under the previous rules, if a pet did not complete the required waiting period prior to entry, it would be required to complete the full 30-day or 120-day quarantine.


·         Users of guide dogs for the blind and qualified service dogs will be able to request inspection in the terminal at Honolulu International Airport rather than having to travel to the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility by notifying the Rabies Quarantine Branch no less than seven days before arrival. 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.

The 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, 4,143 dogs and cats have entered the State, with more than 82 percent of arriving pets qualifying for direct release at Honolulu International Airport in the month of January.


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



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 2003






December 2003






January 2004












TOTAL by program






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 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/organization/animal-ind/ai_aqs/info  An informational brochure, checklists, forms and “Frequently Asked Questions” are available on that webpage.


For Information on the various quarantine options and requirements, contact:
Rabies Quarantine Branch
ph:  (808) 483-7151 or (808) 483-7154
e-mail:  [email protected]

website:  /hdoa/organization/animal-ind/ai_aqs/info

Media contact:

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