NR00-21 October 30, 2000 For Immediate Release
Illegal Ferret Found in Kailua
Honolulu – An illegal ferret was found in the Kalaheo Hillside area in Windward Oahu last night and turned in to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA.)
A visitor to a Kalaheo home near the corner of Iliaina and Ililani Streets was returning to his truck at about 6:30 p.m. last night when the ferret crawled onto his foot. He captured it, notified authorities and held it until inspectors from the HDOA arrived to pick up the animal, which measured about two feet from head to tail. It is unknown at this time how long the animal had been in the area.
Ferrets are strictly prohibited as pets under Hawaii law because they are potential carriers of the rabies virus. The animal will be submitted to the department’s Animal Veterinary Laboratory for follow-up testing.
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 other states restricting the importation and possession of these exotic animals.
Any one caught in Hawaii with a ferret or other illegal animals are subject to stiff penalties with a minimum fine of $5,000 and 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 PEST HOTLINE at 586-PEST(7378).