Hawaii is a rabies FREE state, in fact it is the ONLY US state that is rabies free, and we strive very hard to keep it that way. In order to protect our island from falling prey to the rabies virus our states Department of Agriculture has developed a very strict policy for bringing our fury friends with us to PARADISE. This is known best as the Animal Quarantine Program. This import law was designed to protect residents, visitors and pets from the potentially serious health problems associated with the introduction and spread of the rabies virus. ALL dogs and cats, regardless of age or purpose MUST comply with the import requirements set forth by the state.
To highlight, there are two quarantine programs available for dogs and cats entering Hawaii.
1. THE 5 DAY OR LESS PROGRAM: -Includes airport release.
This program was put into effect in 2003 and has proven to be a less stressful program for our transitioning pets. If done properly, there is no need to kennel your pet once it arrives on the island and upon the completion of a successful health examination at the quarantine station, your pet should be free to go home. With this 5 day or less program, pet owners MUST comply with all of the following pre-arrival requirements:
1. Rabies Vaccinations
3. OIE_FAVN Rabies blood test
4. Waiting period
6. Submission of Documents
7. Other: check your pet’s blood test results for the 5 day or less program at the Hawaii Department of Agriculture web site.
**It is very important that ALL of the pre-arrival requirements are completed as per the law requirements in order for a successful examination and release to occur.
2. THE 120 DAY QUARANTINE:
In this, your pet must stay confined at an approved quarantine station while going through all of the above mentioned steps. The pet will be monitored and cared for by the staff. The rules are strict and enforced. The fees associated with this option can be significant as you will need to consider the cost of kenneling your pet for the 120-day waiting period.
If you are contemplating bringing a cat or a dog to the island, it is imperative tha tyou familiarize yourself with the requirements of each program and ensure that you can complete all pre-arrival tasks in order for a smooth transition. The Honolulu International Airport on Oahu is the ONLY port of entry for ALL dogs and cats entering Hawaii UNLESS a valid neighbor island inspection permit has been issued by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
Guam, New Zealand, Australia and the British Isles are rabies free countries so IF you are importing a dog or cat from a DIRET flight from any of these locations your pet is exempt from quarantine as long as SPECIFIC requirements are met.
** Puppies and kittens less than 9 months of age CANNOT be imported to the island. This is due to the minimum amount of time needed to prepare the puppy or kitten to meet the requirements of the 5 day or less program. Puppies and kittens not able to meet all of the requirements for the 5 day or less program will be forced to go through the 120 day quarantine procedure.
Prohibited animals: Non-domesticated dogs and cats such as requirements of each program and ensure that you can complete all pre-arrival tasks in order for a smooth hybrid wolf, wolf cross, Dingo, Bengal, Savannah, etc are prohibited under the Plant Quarantine law.
Pets located in Hawaii: Owners wanting to leave Hwaii with their pets, and return without going through an extended quarantine must met all requirements listed on the “checklist only for Dogs and Cats located in Hawaii that are Departing and Returning for the 5 day or less Program”. The length of the waiting period after a successful rabies blood test is modified and the test must be completed before leaving Hawaii.
Guide and Service animals: May be exempt from the quarantine provided they follow the steps outlined by the Department of Agriculture.
Livestock: The importation of livestock such as horses and cattle is possible. However, much like with the dog and cat quarantine there is a pre-arrival to-do check list.
For more information, and a thorough look at the Animal Quarantine rules and guidelines, please take a look at the Department of Agricultures website.